Thursday, December 24, 2009


Please spread this all over the nation. The FBA were not followed, the IEP was not followed. They cornered him and tried to take him down, he fought back. Very very minor injuries to principal and teacher, minor to child. Taken away in handcuffs and booked with juvenile criminals.

Please report to the paper, TV, radios every where. We need this to get out what they are doing to our families and kids.

Name of school is Beard Elementary in Ft. Smith, Ar.



On August 18th my 11 year old grandson started the school year, and we requested an evaluation be done as he was returning from another district that recommended he have an aide with him at all times. We tried to get an IEP together before school started in July and were refused and told to wait until school started.

We have made requests to receive a copy of his evaluation/assessment results before the October 15th temporary placement IEP meeting and were refused because it was not allowed by state law.

On October 15th a temporary placement IEP was held to start services because we feel they are not considering his previous tests or recommendations of Habberton House. We repeatedly asked for a Functional Behavior Assessment and Positive Behavior Plan with Positive Behavior Strategies and Supports, and the school to stop calling the police on my grandson. At the Oct 15th meeting, suggestions and guidelines were agreed upon but no formal positive behavior support plan. These suggestions were not put in place and Zakh had a meltdown two weeks later.

On Oct 30th, my grandson exhibited behaviors manifested by his Autism, which led to restraints. The police were called. In the process of attempting to restrain him, two staff members were injured and filed felony charges against my 11 year old grandson.

We do not believe he is being given a "full and complete" evaluation. The school denied him Physical Therapy stating he could get around the school just fine and ignored suggestions made by Habberton House to provide an aide to be with him at all times.

The felony hearing is scheduled to occur on Jan. 12, and we fear he may be sent to an alternative school or facility.

We have asked repeatedly for a copy of his discipline file of this incident, and any other the school district may have but have been denied.

I have been sent only his records for 9 suspensions. He has been suspended for a total of 112 days and no manifestation hearing conducted, although we have asked for one twice. The police were called numerous times, even though his IEP of 15 Oct states they will not call the police.

Due to the fear that he would be taken away from us, as was done 3 years ago under extremely similar circumstances, we requested he be placed on home bound schooling.

As IDEA states he should be in the LRE with accommodations as needed. Homebound School is one of the most restricted environments. The parents are so intimidated by the school district, they felt it was the only place he would be safe

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jeff Grisamore States District Will Only Work With Autism Group If They Go Through Him

As for a committee on autism and special needs in R-7, I have spoken to the Superintendent and Board, which relates to why he spoke to you. If that committee is formed, you will have one voice, although I would like to see D on it too, along with others, such as J. That will be up to R-7. Given your antagonism toward me and them, you are most fortunate you are being considered to be on such a committee. I would encourage you to consider changing your approach for the sake of LSASG's credibility and influence with R-7 and beyond. Your current approach is only isolating and alienating yourself from me and others who are doing much to help children with autism and their families.

This is in response to my email where I asked the Superintendent if Jeff Grisamore was setting up these meetings and if the district will only work through him.

"Rep grisamore is getting ahead of himself. There have been no follow up discussions about any ideas that may have been mentioned in some setting. Honestly, I do not recall discussing this committee but I may have forgotten. It happens. My invitation to discuss the issues is for you only at this time. You and I can discuss together where all of this goes from there. I hope this clarifies my intention. I do not go into this knowing where we will end up but do feel our dialogue has the potential to make us a better district and help you better understand our challenges. I am really looking forward to our meetings."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Missouri Decides To Lower Standards So That All Districts Meet State Requirements

Stimulus Brings Spec. Ed. Funding Challenge
By Christina A. Samuels

The increase in special education funding driven by the economic stimulus is bringing new attention to a unique provision in federal special education law: Districts that get more special education funds from the federal government are allowed to cut back on the local funds that they use to pay for special education programs.

The intent of the provision in the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act was to allow districts to gradually scale back their own spending while using federal money to fill the gap. But the law did not anticipate a near-doubling of special education funding from the federal government in a short amount of time. States are receiving $12.2 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to spend on special education over two years, so most districts are likely to see dramatic increases in federal funds.

The prospect of being able to shift some local money from special education programs to other education needs at a time of severe budget pressure has also prompted at least two states¬—Illinois and Missouri—to change the way they assess their districts’ performance with special education students. Under stimulus-funding rules, districts that are meeting requirements under each state’s federally-mandated “state performance plan” get the spending flexibility, while districts that need more help do not.

That’s an incentive to move more districts into the “meets requirement” category, and Missouri plans to do that for one year, said Heidi Atkins Lieberman, the assistant commissioner for special education for the state.

“When we developed the criteria [for evaluating districts], we didn’t realize there would be a fiscal impact,” Ms. Lieberman said.

Shifting Criteria

Missouri evaluates districts on certain compliance issues, such as the percentage of children who receive special education evaluations in 60 days, as the federal government requires. But the state also added additional criteria for districts to meet, including specific graduation rates and dropout rates for students with disabilities. The federal government does not require that states use those measures to make final determinations for their districts.

Criteria like graduation and dropout rates, which are called “performance” indicators, are the ones that Missouri is suspending or a year. The change will allow every district in Missouri to meet state requirements, and thus allow those districts to shift a percentage of the local money that they spend for special education to other education programs. Without the change, nine districts would have had lower ratings.

The local money that would have been spent on special education can be used to avoid cuts to other programs, pay for teachers, and fund systemic changes to can improve schools for all students, Ms Lieberman said.

However, Ms. Lieberman said she had mixed feelings about the one-year change. “I am worried that people will get the wrong message. We have shifted from a compliance-oriented focus to a performance one, so it’s sort of going backwards.” But the state could not pass up the prospect of increased spending flexibility, she said.

‘A Feeding Frenzy’

Illinois is another state that is using different calculations to bring more districts up to standards. Under a new state formula for calculating compliance, the number of districts that need assistance has dropped from 321 to 159, according to a weekly message distributed to districts in June by Superintendent Christopher A. Koch.

The blog IDEA Money Watch, a project of The Advocacy Institute, a nonprofit organization in Marshall, Va., has been tracking special education spending, including gathering the documents on the changes to the policies in Missouri and Illinois.

The spending flexibility is a concern to some special education directors, who don’t want to see local special education funding diverted to other uses as new federal money flows to districts.
Mary Watson, the president of the National Association of State Directors of Education, said state education directors in a tough position. They recognize the financial bind many districts are in, but the officials also feel pressure to show that stimulus funding can help provide a better education for children with disabilities, as was intended.

“It’s been such a feeding frenzy,” said Ms. Watson, the director of the exceptional children division of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The message that districts are getting is that “we’re doing well now, so our system can now take money away. It’s been really hard,” she said.

In North Carolina, 53 out of 115 districts now can reduce the amount of local money that they spend on special education programs, Ms. Watson said.

It’s unclear if all of those districts will choose to do that. The state has several successful initiatives under way, including programs to improve literacy and “tiered intervention” programs for academics and behavior at school. Those are all problems that could be continued, or expanded, using stimulus dollars.

But Ms. Watson is primarily getting questions from districts on how to retain teachers. “That leads me to believe that’s going to be the priority,” she said.

Local Funds Cut

The spending flexibility provision is part of the 2004 reauthorization of the IDEA. The law states that if districts receive an increase in federal funds for special education, they can reduce the amount they contribute to special education by 50 percent of that increase. So, if federal money to a district increases by $1 million over the previous year, that district can reduce its local contribution to special education programs by $500,000.

There’s a second condition on the money that is linked to evaluations that states must make of each district on a yearly basis, under the IDEA. Districts are evaluated on various indicators, and their performance determines whether they “meet requirements” or receive one of three lower ranks: “needs assistance,” “needs intervention,” or “needs substantial intervention.”

If a district receives one of those three lower ranks, it has to maintain its current level of local funding and loses the flexibility to shift local dollars to other education needs.

Mabrey Whetstone, the director of special education services for the Alabama department of education, said the stimulus has heightened the importance of those evaluations for state and local education officials.

In Alabama, 76 districts are allowed to reduce their local funding for special education because of the stimulus, though budgets are not final and so it is not clear how many will do so. Fifty-six districts do not have the flexibility, including the state’s largest school systems, Mr. Whetstone said.

The leaders in those districts have visited his offices to find out if they can get their determinations changed. Mr. Whetstone said he has carefully explained to them why it is necessary to hold the line.

“We’re being very clear: There were reasons the stimulus money was given to us,” he said. “This is an opportunity to improve the programming that is provided to students with disabilities.”

Vol. 28, Issue 37

Monday, July 27, 2009

Governor Not Happy That Republicans Held Up Autism Insurance Bill In The House

JEFFERSON CITY — Make no mistake: There will be a battle over an autism insurance mandate bill again next legislative session.

Gov. Jay Nixon made that clear this morning (see live Twitter feed here) at an otherwise uneventful bill signing ceremony in the governor’s office in the state Capitol.

“Next year I’d like to invite everybody back when I sign an autism insurance mandate bill,” Nixon said while signing HB525 and SB 157.

The bills that passed codify into law existing support for parents with autism through five regional centers. But what lawmakers really wanted was a bill to mandate insurance coverage for kids with autism. The bill was blocked by House Speaker Ron Richard, and Nixon made it clear he’ll use the “full force and power” of the governor’s office (and his “stunning personality”) to make sure it doesn’t happen again next session. “The bill should have had a vote on the floor of the House and it didn’t,” Nixon said. “The people deserve to see the green and reds,” he continued, referring to the color of lights on the representatives voting buttons, green for yes, red for no. There are no excuses for the House of Representatives to not take a public vote. … They don’t have any arguments against it. The only argument is that the insurance industry didn’t want it.”

House Communications - News

7/17 - Speaker Appoints Interim Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorders
Jefferson City Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin, announced the creation of an Interim Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorders. This committee is charged with the responsibility of reviewing and making recommendations on issues pertaining to the regulation of insurance and other matters impacting the lives of those diagnosed with Autism.

"We have spent months gathering facts and researching what answers are most effective in aiding Missourians with Autism," said Speaker Richard. "I am tasking the members of the Interim Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorders with finding a responsible, effective solution that all sides can agree on," he finished.

Richard named Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst, R-St. Louis, to chair the committee. As Chairman, Scharnhorst is given the responsibility of directing committee meetings and ensuring that all members work together to find a meaningful legislative solution to the growing Autism epidemic.

"Representative Scharnhorst has been an advocate for Autism in the past and I am confident that he will continue to be a strong leader on the issue moving forward," said Speaker Richard.

"I thank Speaker Richard for his dedication to this matter and for asking me to chair the Interim Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Our members will work together to review the facts and produce progressive measures that will improve the lives of Missouri families who deal with Autism. I am confident that through this interim committee, we will be able to move closer to a definitive solution." said Representative Scharnhorst.

The interim committee will hold hearings in the coming weeks.

In addition to Rep. Scharnhorst, the committee is made up of the following members:

Representative Dwight Scharnhorst, R-St. Louis, Chairman
Representative Wayne Cooper, Vice Chairman, Republican, Camden County
Representative Sue Allen, Republican, St. Louis
Representative Ron Casey, Democrat, Jefferson County
Representative Mike Colona, Democrat, St. Louis
Representative Sally Faith, Republican, St. Charles
Representative Jeff Grisamore, Republican, Lee's Summit
Representative Denny Hoskins, Republican, Warrensburg
Representative Tishaura Jones, Democrat, St. Louis
Representative Shelley Keeney, Republican, Marble Hill
Representative Michele Kratky, Democrat, St. Louis
Representative Chris Molendorp, Republican, Belton
Representative Gina Walsh, Democrat, St. Louis
Representative Terry Witte, Democrat, Vandalia

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Interim Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorders

I was deeply saddened to read that Jeff Grisamore was appointed to the Interim Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorders. In my dealings with Representative Grisamore, I have found him to be less than honest. He has met with my group and then taken information back to our school district. He has given false information to the school district about my group. He has even told me that the only way for me to meet with the Superintendent was through him. The Superintendent quickly informed me that Representative Grisamore was overstepping his authority.

Representative Grisamore has used our autistic children as a stepping stone in his career. I would have liked to see someone with more integrity on the committee. It also would have been nice if the Kansas City metro area were represented better. Our children needs are many and education is probably the biggest obstacle. Representative Grisamore will never address that because he is endorsed by the school district, NEA, and many, many more principal, teacher, and school administration organizations.

I would be glad to share more details, if you would like to see them. I don’t say these things without merit or proof. It is sad that our children are being used in this manner and that the only outcome will be Jeff Grisamore earning more accolades.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Autism Coverage: Too Scary For A Vote

Autism coverage: Too scary for a vote

Submitted by Sherman Potter on May 21, 2009 - 11:15am

Conspicuously absent from Friday's final batch of legislating was a widely-supported bill to require insurers to cover treatment for autism. Under the bill, insurance companies would have to cover up to $55,000 annually for "applied behavioral analysis" for children younger than 15.

In their end-of-session wrap, the Star wrote, "The Senate liked a measure to require insurance companies to cover children with autism, but it couldn't get traction in the House." Actually, the bill had considerable traction in the House -- just not with Speaker Ron Richard and Majority Floor Leader Steve Tilley. The bill enjoyed broad bipartisan support (it passed 29-2 in the Senate), and almost certainly would have passed the House -- so Richard and Tilley refused to let it come up for a vote.

Richard promised to block the bill in early April, and delivered on his promise to put insurance companies ahead of families and children with autism.

Of course, there's no way their financial support from insurance companies had anything to do with the decision.

Family values!

Mother Finds Autistic Child Naked In Classroom

Mother Finds Autistic Child Naked in Classroom

Reported by: Ryan Kath Email: Last Update: 6/09 12:29 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The mother of an autistic student is speaking out after discovering her daughter naked in a North Kansas City School District classroom.

Kim Elliott and 10-year-old Alyssa will spend the summer flipping through flash cards and learning new words. As Alyssa prepares to enter the sixth grade, Elliott can’t stop thinking about a May 19 incident at Linden West Elementary.

The school held its Field Day events, which included several water activities. Elliott had volunteered at Linden Elementary during the event. Before she left the building, she stopped to drop something off at her daughter’s classroom.

“When I went to the classroom, I opened up the door and I was just completely shocked beyond belief,” Elliott said. “I can't even express the words because my daughter was standing there just maybe six feet from the door and she was completely naked.”

Alyssa was one of seven students with special needs in the classroom. They were accompanied by an instructor with 20 years of special education experience and three teaching aides.

The students were changing out of clothes that had become wet during water activities. The staff members had placed a divider in the classroom to keep the boys and girls separated. However, staff members said Alyssa disrobed before they were prepared.

Elliott said her daughter should not have been undressing in the same room as boys and was discriminated against based on her disability.

“My daughter was on full display. There was a boy who was looking at her when I walked in the classroom. There were also uncovered windows and an unlocked door,” she said.

When Elliott questioned why the students were not changing in a bathroom, she said the teacher told her there was “urine on the bathroom floor.”

On Monday, the North Kansas City School District said it had investigated the situation and determined “there could have been a better plan in place to help each child get the privacy she deserved and will get in the future.”

“First and foremost, I would like to share our apologies to the family. We never intended for this to happen,” said Julie Badders, an assistant principal at Linden West Elementary.

According to district officials, the school is also reconsidering the use of water activities during future Field Day events.

Elliott wants to know if the teacher will be disciplined for the incident involving her daughter. However, any actions taken are confidential because it is considered a private personnel matter, according to district spokeswoman Mary Jo Burton.

“If there is not some type of consequence more severe than just going over policies and procedures or things like that then it's never going to change,” said Elliott.

While hoping to get the word out to other parents who may have had special needs students in Alyssa’s classroom, the mother also wonders what else her daughter has been unable to tell her.

“It’s terrifying to stop and think what has happened when we weren’t there,” she said.

Elliott plans to tell her story during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s North Kansas City School Board meeting.

Burton said it was an unfortunate isolated incident and said the district provides a quality education for about 1,930 special needs students. Approximately 100 of those students are diagnosed with autism.

A Night At Maxwells

Lee’s Summit Autism Support Group Presents
A Night at Maxwell’s

Proceeds to benefit the families of children with special needs and the Heaven’s Gate Llama Ministry

Hartley Plaza on the corner of 3rd and Douglas streets in Downtown Lee’s Summit
June 18, 2009
6 PM to close

There will be celebrity guests, llamas and alpacas, Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies, clowns, face painting, Silent Auction of sports memorabilia, and so much more.

Come join us for the fun. There is no cost for this event. Families are encouraged to come and have dinner and a portion of the cost of your meal will be donated to the Lee’s Summit Autism Support Group and the Heaven’s Gate Llama Ministry.

The Lee’s Summit Autism Support Group supports families that have children with all disabilities. They educate families on their rights to a free and appropriate education, the services that are provided for children with disabilities and how to access them, advocate for children with disabilities, and support families that have children with disabilities.

Sherri R. Tucker
President, Lee's Summit Autism Support Group

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Who Really Filed This Bill?

From: Jeff Grisamore
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 11:57 PM
To: _Republican Representatives; _Republican LAs & Staff; _Democrat Representatives; _Democrat LAs & Staff

Subject: Insurance Coverage for Autism--Invitation for Co-Sponsors by 12 Noon on Thursday, January 15th

On January 15th, I plan to file legislation which requires insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. While I filed similar legislation last year (HB 2265) that was heard and passed out of the Health Care Policy Committee nearly unanimously—and was covered by the NBC Today Show—this year’s bill is enhanced by the collaboration of various autism groups, including the Thompson Center, Judevine, Autism Speaks and many other member groups of the Missouri Autism Coalition. Representative Scharnhorst and I had the privilege to address that coalition in November at their Summit in Jefferson City. There has also been dialogue with insurance companies toward the development of this bill.

Senator Scott Rupp, the Chair of the Missouri Autism Commission, has filed a Senate version of this bill and the House version I am filing is identical. Senator Rupp has encouraged me to file a House version of the bill. To review this bill in its Senate version, go to:

Last year I sponsored a House bill to establish the Missouri Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Senator Rupp’s version of a similar bill became law to establish the Commission that first convened last fall. Fighting and advocating for individuals with disabilities—especially autism—is among my highest legislative priorities.

With autism having reached pandemic proportions, increasing in incidence from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 150, nearly 10 states have passed similar legislation into law and dozens more have it in the pipeline. Autism is one of 12 neurological disorders and it is the only one of the 12 that is excluded from insurance coverage.

I believe this is gross discrimination and is an emerging civil rights issue of our day. Research from other states and actuaries shows that such legislation would only raise premiums by an average of less than one half of one percent. While I normally oppose mandates, we already have more than 50 health care related mandates in Missouri law. This is one more we must pass.

This proposed law was a recommendation of the Missouri Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism. My passion is driven by my deceased daughter, Rebekah, whose organ and tissue donation has benefited Prader-Willi Syndrome and autism research. Freshman Senator Eric Schmitt also has a son with autism and Representative Scharnhorst lost a grandson who had autism.

As the Speaker, Pro Tem and Governor are all calling for bi-partisan cooperation, this bill to give families of children with autism access to insurance coverage is a great opportunity to pursue bi-partisanship.

If you would like to co-sponsor this bill, please reply by noon on Thursday, January 15th. Thank you!


Jeff Grisamore, District 47

P.S. If you would like to view a video of our press conference on last year’s autism insurance bill, please go to:

He must have ran out of time because he didn't file this bill. Someone else did.


House Home Page.

House Bill List.

HB 79. Requires health benefit plans to include coverage for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
Sponsor:. Lampe, Sara (138).
Proposed Effective Date:. 08/28/2009.

Last Action:. 01/08/2009 - Read Second Time (H). HB79.
Next Hearing:. Hearing not scheduled.
Calendar:. Bill currently not on a calendar.

Bill Text for HB79. -
Last Modified: 1/20/2009 8:52:12 PM

I thought that I had already seen this bill. Sara Lampe filed it. Not Jeff Grisamore.

HB 79 -- Health Insurance Coverage for Autism Spectrum DisorderSponsor: Lampe

This bill requires all health insurance carriers to providecoverage to their members for autism spectrum disorder treatmentsby January 1, 2010. Insurers are prohibited from denying coverage to individuals who are diagnosed with the disorder.Deductibles, co-insurance, and benefit limits for the disorder cannot exceed those assessed for a general physical illness under the health insurance plan.

Coverage for the disorder:

(1) Can be subject to exclusions and limitations such as coordination of benefits, provider requirements, restrictions for services provided by family members, and reviews of necessity for services being utilized;

(2) Will be limited to the treatment plan prescribed by thetreating physician, and insurers can request a copy of the treatment plan every six months;

(3) Will be provided for individuals who are diagnosed with the disorder prior to turning nine years of age, and eligible individuals can receive plan benefits and coverage until they reach 16 years of age; and

(4) Will include behavioral therapies with a $50,000 per year maximum benefit.Certain supplemental insurance policies are exempt from the provisions of the bill including life care contracts and accident-only, specified disease, hospital with a fixed daily benefit, Medicare supplement, long-term care, short-term major medical of six months or less, or any other supplemental policies.