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Schools in Florida for autism child

Schools in Florida for autism child

Old Feb 18th 2018, 6:39 pm
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Default Schools in Florida for autism child

Hi all,

I’m doing some research about moving to Florida, possibly Fort Myers. Alongside looking at buying an established business to get a visa, homes and medical insurance quotes I obviously need to get some recommendations for schools, esp for my 10yr old who has autism. He is currently in a special needs school and tbh this is the 1 and only reason to keep me in the UK as it is so amazing and he is doing so well. I need to find a similar school out there so we can look at property and businesses around the best school for him. Thanks for reading and hopefully a response. Charlotte :-)
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Old Feb 18th 2018, 10:02 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

I'll describe our experiences with an autistic 10 year old in California. Florida/Ft Myers may be very different.

His first school was 9/10 at GreatSchools.net. He started in Kindergarten and within 2 weeks had a full time 1:1 aide in the classroom at all times. They were great, with a "go" team in case he had a meltdown more severe than what the aide could handle alone (radios for key staff members seems common here). Amusingly the janitor - not qualified for autistic kids at all - was one of the best staff members to calm him down.

Unfortunately we had to move away from that area due to cost and moved to school 2. This started as an 8/10 but dropped to 6/10 just 2 years later. The principle ran the school into the ground before she "retired" (I have doubts). The new principle started off with good intentions but quickly fell into the "send him home" trap which is exactly what he wanted. He was in a special ed class full time by the time he left - in this case two classrooms, one for the lower elementary grades, one for the higher grades.

Because of the lack of medical support, and the fact he was due to attend the higher grade classroom with a terrible teacher the following year, and the now-terrible school generally, we moved again. He is now in a 9/10 school again where their policy is not to send kids home unless something is really bad. He is in a special ed class of 13 kids, 1 teacher, 1 full time teaching assistant, and 3 aides including his own - a great ratio. The grade range in this class is K to 6 (the entire range for elementary here). The teacher is tough but fair. He does mainstream an hour or two a day, albeit with his aide close by.

With this current school he doesn't go to the one within walking distance to our house. Our assigned school doesn't have a special ed program beyond 3rd grade so the school district supply bus transport for him to one a couple of miles away, which, being special ed, is door to door service - fantastic really.

So we've had good, and we've had great. Bear in mind that many school districts are horrendous, especially for special ed. I also read something the other day that Trump (et al) want to dilute the rights of disabled people somewhat so it might get worse.

I don't know if your son is on medication but if he is, and has to see a doctor regularly, it will eat into your time and money quickly. We're in a reasonably large city with 3 big hospitals, yet child psychologists are as rare as hen's teeth. Up until recently we had to travel an hour each way to see him, as the one and only psychologist here was over subscribed and not taking new patients. Depending on what insurance you end up with, you may even find it harder still as some insurance dictate which doctors are covered. Some psychologists insist on appointments every 1-2 months otherwise they refuse to write the prescription, especially the nastier meds (controlled).

Does he have an IEP? Make sure you bring it if you do. A UK one won't have legal status like a US/state one but at least will help give an idea of what he needs. My mum (retired UK teacher) says although they look different, the California and UK ones broadly similar in terms of getting the needs across.

Be prepared to fight - with insurance, doctors, insurance, principles, insurance, teachers, insurance, aides, and insurance. You don't get anything without asking for it, and even if you are entitled to it, some (especially insurance) will do their utmost to pretend it doesn't exist, or you're not eligible - until you read them your rights. But there are some great advocacy groups: here we have Inland Regional Center ("Inland" being the name of our Regional Center) who have gotten us stuff we didn't know existed like some free respite hours every month, or who have leaned on insurance to suddenly decide we were eligible for whatever.

The above might sound like hard work. Without sugar coating it, it is. Just be prepared! Good luck.
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 10:56 am
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to read and write such a great response.

My so does have an IEP so will definitely bring that, he is also statmented. Etc.
I have read Schools in the US are not great at all. Why is that? Crazy!

He doesn’t take medication and never sees a doctor anymore, thank god. He is only mildly autistic, some people don’t even notice as he makes eye contact, he’s tactile, sociable etc.
He is currently in quite possibly the best school here and they assess him and advise if I need to do anything or they have any worries. That’s why finding the right school for him is paramount, If I’m unsuccessful then we just won’t go!
My son also gets DLA (disability living allowance) here in the UK do they do anything like that in the US? Thanks again for your help :-)
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 11:08 am
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Regarding DLA, as visa holders you won’t be eligible for any SSI payments. Permanent residents can accesss payments after 40 qualifying quarters (10 years) of work. However there is no direct path to residency on an E-2 visa.

The idea of an E-2 visa is that you are running a business that is generating more than a subsistence income. So low-incone benefits wouldn’t apply even if you were eligible through your immigration status.
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 11:25 am
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

With an E2 visa - You have to also think about what happens when your children reach 21
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 11:29 am
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Originally Posted by Twinkle0927 View Post
Regarding DLA, as visa holders you won’t be eligible for any SSI payments. Permanent residents can accesss payments after 40 qualifying quarters (10 years) of work. However there is no direct path to residency on an E-2 visa.

The idea of an E-2 visa is that you are running a business that is generating more than a subsistence income. So low-incone benefits wouldn’t apply even if you were eligible through your immigration status.
Ok that’s not a massive issue, just wanted to see what he would be entitled to. :-)
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 11:30 am
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Originally Posted by karenkaren1 View Post
With an E2 visa - You have to also think about what happens when your children reach 21
Isn’t that where they would need to get their own visa? :-)
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 11:33 am
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Originally Posted by Cjcrash32 View Post
Isn’t that where they would need to get their own visa? :-)
exactly!
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 11:41 am
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Originally Posted by Cjcrash32 View Post
Isn’t that where they would need to get their own visa? :-)
If they qualify for one, yes.

If not, they have to leave the country.
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 11:49 am
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Originally Posted by Twinkle0927 View Post
If they qualify for one, yes.

If not, they have to leave the country.
.... To live in a country that is rather alien to them, and with school qualifications that mean nothing in the local job market, and quite likely facing paying international student rates for university.
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 1:10 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Originally Posted by Cjcrash32 View Post
Isn’t that where they would need to get their own visa? :-)
We came over on an E2 visa and after a few years we all applied for and got Green Cards including the children who were then aged 12 and 10. I believe once they had their Green Cards they were not dependant on mine or my wife's visas. As it happens my wife and I applied for and attained US citizenship while they were still under 18 which made them citizens as well and were able to apply for their US passports.
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 1:19 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
We came over on an E2 visa and after a few years we all applied for and got Green Cards .....
On what basis did you, as E-2 visa holders, qualify to apply for green cards?
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 1:41 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Originally Posted by durham_lad View Post
We came over on an E2 visa and after a few years we all applied for and got Green Cards including the children who were then aged 12 and 10. I believe once they had their Green Cards they were not dependant on mine or my wife's visas. As it happens my wife and I applied for and attained US citizenship while they were still under 18 which made them citizens as well and were able to apply for their US passports.

Were you on the E-2 as an employee of a UK-owned company, as opposed to the investor's visa?
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 2:23 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
Were you on the E-2 as an employee of a UK-owned company, as opposed to the investor's visa?
Yes, and when the project that I came over for finished the company offered me a move to a different State to work on a new project which I accepted. Before that project ended they offered me a permanent job and sponsored me and the family for Green Cards.

In the OP's situation with his E-2, would that still be the same visa he was on in 11 years when his child becomes 21 and has to leave the country? No path to Green Card on an investor's E-2 visa?
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Old Feb 19th 2018, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: Schools in Florida for autism child

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
On what basis did you, as E-2 visa holders, qualify to apply for green cards?
This was back in 1993 and the argument that the company put forward in their supporting documentation was that I was in a highly specialized field, they had not been able to hire a US citizen of similar expertise and experience, and my new job remit was to build and train a new team of experts in this field. I would also be transferring from the UK company to a US company once the green card was obtained. There were only 5 companies in the world that made the products in question, 2 American, 1 British, 1 German and 1 Swiss so I guess I was in a very good situation for going straight from E-2 to Green Card. The company also hired a specialist immigration lawyer, and she was great to work with (the company was in Louisiana and she worked out of Philadelphia).
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