Monthly Archives: May 2018

Comments Off on Federal Settings for Children with Autism and other Disabilities – what the heck are they?

Alright – so, There are several settings for students with autism and other disabilities. And, each setting has specific requirements that the school district must follow. I actually never knew about this. I just assumed – the child’s IEP team including the parent who are equal and full partners write the goals of the child and that is what is implemented. This is not the case most of the time. Many school districts including my least-favorite district in Minnesota – Bloomington Schools District write the child’s goals and placement setting without parental input or even knowledge. The good thing about this part is that the parents must agree to it and sign it. Often parents including me just sign the IEP which has the setting and how many minutes your child will get in a special classroom and in the general education classroom. I have never really paid attention to this before and always assumed the school must know what is best for my child and just signed it. Big mistake – never assume that. Always read the IEP, understand what your rights are under the IDEIA law and ask questions. If the school can not answer your questions – let that be a red flag for you. Some of the questions my son’s school could not answer were – how do you collect progress monitoring data, can I get that data, does the data make sense, has my child learned what was in his previous IEP and can I observe my child while you are teaching.

If the school can not answer such simple answers – worry. If they get defensive – worry more. If they get their lawyer involved – be happy because then you know you hit a nerve and they most likely broke some part of the federal IDEIA law. Now – be happy but get organized and learn more about the IDEIA law, find out what they violated, file a complaint with the state department education, with the state human rights department, and/or with the state teaching board. Think about this – if you don’t fight for your child – who will? I assure you the school ain’t. More importantly look at it as a marathon not a sprint. As I said before – don’t let them overwhelm you with technical language. Take your time and educate yourself which will empower you, and fight for your kid at your own pace.

First – the school district must as the law states provide and do an appropriate evaluation of your child. So, what does this mean?

A. The evaluation must be done by a team of knowledgeable and trained evaluators, must utilize sound evaluation materials and procedures, and must be administered on a non-discriminatory basis. Often, this does not happen. I have asked my son’s school evaluators – what tools and assessments they used and they could not answer that or simply did not use any. I have asked how they measured progress and they had no idea. If you don’t know what the child learned – how the heck can you possibly write any new IEP goals. Stupid, right?

B. The laws has parent participation in the IEP team and in the placement decision. Again, I have seen where school districts simply don’t follow this. They decide what to teach and where to teach it and just give you the IEP to sign. – Please don’t sign and tell them to take a flying leap – ok maybe not in those words – fine use Minnesota nice words or passive aggressive. I personally don’t like to sugar-coat.

C. The IDEIA law emphasizes strongly on children learning in the least-restrictive learning environment – meaning with their typical peers and mimicking real life. Separate but equal did not work before and will not work now for any child especially one with autism where generalization is crucial.

So what are the settings and how do they work?

  1. Federal setting one states 0-21% in special education class, the rest of the time the child is learning with their typical peers or in general education.
  2. Federal setting two states 21-60% in special education class, the rest of the time the child is learning with their typical peers or in general education.
  3. Federal setting three states 60% or more in special education. In this setting, the child is taken to general classes as he can tolerate and as possible which is often written into the IEP. Note, if you don’t write the specifics into the IEP, the school will always use the excuse – we did not take him/her because today he/she was too hyper, too tired, too sleepy, it was snowing, the sky was green, yada and more stupid excuses.
  4. Federal setting four, this is a completely separate building where the child goes to special education class all of his/her time and does not see any typical kids. This is what we call the pipeline to prison especially for black boys. This is Harrison Education Center in Mpls where the district is more interested in getting money rather than teaching the child. This is where the buildings mimic a prison because there are so many locked doors, children learn from each-others bad behaviors. This is where children fail. This is where no parent should take their child to unless hell froze and pigs started flying. This is where they have the worst least caring teachers and staff. This is where no one cares about the child or the family. THESE ARE THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN WHO ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY MINORITIES ESPECIALLY BLACK BOYS. In real life such as grocery stories, parks, malls, etc. there is no separate section, so if the child is segregated and locked up all day – how exactly is he/she supposed to know appropriate behaviors when he/she leaves this segregated and separated hell hole setting. Think about it – when you go to Target – do you shop in a segregated section? So why would we teach any child in a segregated setting. Separate but equal did not work decades ago and it will not work now.
  5. Federal setting five is public hospital, day treatment, correctional facility, etc. These children are already in the criminal system and are disproportionately minorities. By the way level four is the gateway to level five for children.

If you are a parent whose child has autism, please speak for your child from every valley, river and mountain – no one else can do it better than you. Educated parents are empowered parents.

Read this as though it was fifty shades of grey.

Above words do not reflect any candidate, agency or committee.

Idil – Autism Mom

Comments Off on Public Schools Physically Abusing Students with Autism rate goes up – r u kidding me? blog four

Alright – so, Age of Autism recently wrote a blog about this and this needs to stop. Public schools are paid with public funds to help and educate children with autism – not abuse, lie and cover up. This is happening in Minnesota schools such as Bloomington public school district. Children with autism who are nonverbal can not tell their parents what happened and schools are abusing many of these children. This is heart-breaking and sad. How can the very people who we trust to care and teach our children neglect and abuse them. Often these schools don’t have cameras and if they do the school covers their actions. Many schools also refuse to have other professionals go with the child because they would rather hide what they are doing  than be transparent and honest.

Here is the link to the age of autism blog post.

Many schools including Bloomington use calming rooms which is a code for seclusion rooms where they lock the child. Iowa legislators are investigating this. Maybe it is time for Minnesota legislatures to do the same. Autism family sues the school district for assaulting their child. Another family sues the school district after the teacher abused their child. How can we trust these teachers and school administrators now if they are going to abuse our kids then lie and cover up?

I really think Minnesota state legislators need to look into how many of similar cases are happening in Minnesota and what can be done about it. Additionally, parents sadly have to sue these school districts who often have high powered attorneys.

Above words do not reflect any committee, agency or candidate.

Idil – Autism Mom

Comments Off on Why Do Non-Minority Advocacy Agencies Hog State/Federal Funding?

Alright – so, why do non-minority agencies such as Pacer, Family Voices, Arc and Autism Society of Minnesota take all of the state and federal advocacy funding? Just because they hire one person from each minority community does not mean communities of color are served well. One person can not serve all of us.

For example, PACER which is supposed to be parent advocate agency takes all of the educational advocacy funding from both the state and the federal government. Yes, it has one Somali advocate – Hassan who is simply fantastic but given the sheer number of Somali families whose children have autism, he can’t serve all of us. Not to mention other Somali families whose children have other disabilities.

Arc, Family Voices and Autism Soc of Minn take all of the funding from both state and federal government and is supposed to help all parents in Minnesota who may have complaints or concerns with almost every agency including the counties, the Medicaid agency, etc. While Arc has one Somali – Family Voices and Autism Soc of Minn do not. Even then it would not be enough to serve our community and all of the other communities of color. The question then is why do they need to take all of the funding? Why aren’t there minority advocacy agencies that can help their own communities? I think this needs to stop and communities of color must advocate for their own communities. Give me a fish and you fed me for one day vs teach me how to fish and you fed me for life.

Furthermore, if you follow these mainstream advocacy agencies – they are mostly controlled by the same small group of Minnesotans. For example, the current chair of Autism Soc of Minn used to be an Arc board member. The same goes for all of the leaders within these small self-serving advocacy agencies. They also often don’t have adequate diversity in their leadership which adds to the problem. The new executive director of Autism Soc of Minn before she got the job had zero, zilch – nada experience running a non-profit or an autism agency. Yet, she was nurtured, sent to trainings and conferences. If a person of color applied for that job – they would’ve said, wait for it…. drum roll please…..”we would love to hire you but you don’t have the qualifications the job requires”.

I say it is time for us to speak for ourselves, to advocate for ourselves, to stand up for ourselves and to stop allowing others do for us what we are clearly capable of. So how do we do this. Well – let’s explore where this funding comes from.

Clearly, I can’t be the Jackie of all trades but few years ago – I advocated at Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). This is the federal agency that gives a chunk of the federal funding to state disability advocacy agencies. They also fund dozens of university LEND programs and state health department’s child and maternal health divisions, which include children with special health care needs. I had one simple question, why are these mainstream agencies taking all of the federal funding for advocacy and how are they reaching out to minority communities particularly parents with children on the autism spectrum disorder. After many months of negotiating and advocating – I made a small dent but not enough to move the needle towards equality. For example, the Univ of Minn created a diverse website in their LEND program, had to take more students of color into their LEND program, and hired one Somali in their ICI dept. The health dept or the do nothing state agency hired one Somali person to help Somali autism families, and had to share the autism grant they got with actual minority owned agencies. Sadly that was it. Nothing really changed regarding Pacer, Arc, Family Voices and Autism Soc of Minn.

I think it is time to go back to HRSA and to the state education department and say we want to be at the table and advocate for our own community. There are great Somali owned agencies that have the capacity to do this such as the Somali American Parent Association (SAPA). So why should Pacer say they will help us when we can easily go to SAPA and be treated fairly, with respect and dignity.

Below are some of my simple questions and what HRSA response was:

From Idil:  “Why can’t Pacer do similar workshops for communities of color including Somalis and give the same information they seem to give to Caucasian families via webinar?” 

PACER’s Family to Family Health Information Center (F2F HIC) have initiated many projects to address underserved populations.  PACER’s F2F HIC have 4 multicultural staff that are parents of CYSHCN.  Hassan Samantar (PACER staff person) has presented at many workshops for Somali families in the following communities in the past 12 months:  St. Paul, Minneapolis, Apple Valley, Burnsville Savage, St. Cloud and Bloomington.  In addition PACER has utilized many different media outlets that cater to diverse communities including radio, television and newspaper.  And PACER advocates who serve multicultural families collaborate as partners with other multi-cultural organizations.  The PACER advocates conduct home visits with underserved populations and incorporate health information as needed by the family visited.  PACER advocates provide families during their home visits information on enrollment in MA, accessing waivers or support grants, understanding how to work with county case managers, and finding and navigating community based services.  The home visits may also include accompanying families to appointments with health care providers.    

Best regards,


Leticia Manning, MPH

Lieutenant, United States Public Health Service

Maternal and Child Health Bureau

Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs

5600 Fishers Lane

Rockville, Maryland 20857

Dear Idil,

I am the new project officer for the Pacer Center, Inc. (a Family to Family Health Information Center grantee) and I will try to address your concerns to the best of my ability.

HRSA is committed to ensuring that underserved populations have access to health care services. This includes ensuring that minority populations have access to appropriate services. While we understand there are needs in a variety of populations, we also recognize that our grantees have limited resources to address huge needs and therefore must target their limited resources. As part of the grant application process and annual reporting, HRSA requires that our grantees conduct a community assessment to identify populations in that community that  are most in need of services and the grantee target those populations with their work. To further their reach in the community, grantees are also required to partner with state, local agencies, and community organizations. Idil, as a community partner we appreciate that you are sharing any additional resources or partners that PACER could benefit from working with.

Then was the below response from Laura Kavanagh, MPP Deputy Associate Administrator, Maternal and Child Health Bureau at HRSA regarding the Minn Dept of Health:

Minnesota (MN) Department of Health

Grant Number: H6MMC27440

Improving Awareness of the Signs and Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disabilities (DDs) in culturally diverse communities

The grantee has translated, customized, and distributed a number of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Learn the Signs, Act Early materials into different languages. Thus far, they have translated into both the Hmong language for their large Southeast Asian Hmong community and the Somali language for their East African Somali community. Along with their community partners, they have printed 6,000 Milestone Moments Brochures and 3,000 First Tooth Fliers in Hmong, which are ready for distribution to local communities. They also have continued a focused outreach to the Somali community. To date, the milestone booklet (Somali version) has been downloaded 8,756 times and 3,000 translated developmental brochures were distributed to individual Somali parents and families. They recently printed another 7,000 Somali Milestone Moments brochures and 250 Community reports and have been taking orders for these materials. Additionally, regarding Latino outreach, they have ordered (over 300) Act Early materials and Amazing Me books. These materials will be distributed at upcoming community events. 

Act Early Cultural Liasions and Delegates: Improving Awareness Among Culturally Diverse Communities

The project has identified key cultural liaisons/community leaders within culturally and linguistically diverse communities who will serve as community leaders and trainers of Act Early Delegates. The Act Early Delegates will then conduct outreach within their cultural communities on developmental monitoring, early signs of ASD, the importance of early screening, and the “Learn the Signs. Act Early” message. Additionally, they also plan to conduct on site Act Early trainings, phone meetings, and webinars to build ongoing capacity and skills within the Act Early Delegate network. To date, the grantee has successfully recruited and trained five cultural liaisons/community leaders from diverse communities (Hmong, Somali, and Latino) who are recruiting Act Early Delegates within their cultural communities.

Training Providers: Working with Culturally Diverse Communities:

The grantee completed a series of training activities focused on services for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. The trainings are highlighted below:            

  • MN’s Health Care Home Certification 
  • In November 2014, approximately 50 primary care providers, care coordinators and related service providers received training around ASD/DD screening, identification and connection to resources. The trainings also included a section on working with families from diverse cultures and was part of a larger training related to MN’s Health Care Home Certification.
  • MN Act Early Training Webinar Series
  1. Webinar: “Building connections with Somali families: Culturally competent approaches to child development, early signs of ASD, and early screening.”
  2. Webinar: (for outreach to professionals) “Culturally Competent Approaches to Working with Somali Families around Child Development, Early Signs of ASD, and Early Screening”.
  3. Webinar (for outreach to professionals) “Culturally Competent Approaches to Working with Hmong Families around development”. The event was well received and has been viewed by approximately 300 individuals and groups. Interest continues in the webinar.
  4. Ongoing Promotion of Archived Webinar: “Building Connections with Hmong Families: Culturally Competent Approaches to Child Development Improving early identification, diagnosis, and entry into services in underserved communities
  5. The grantee is starting to implement activities that focus on decreasing the average age of identification, diagnosis and entry into service for children with ASD/DD with two metro area community health boards and five rural community health boards. The project activities for coordination of screening and follow-up will include:
  1. At a minimum, provide enrolled families two Ages & Stages Questionnaires, Third Edition (ASQ-3) intervals per year and one Ages & Stages Questionnaires: Social Emotional (ASQ: SE) interval per year until the child reaches 36 months of age;
  2. Implement and offer families access to the ASQ-3 and ASQ: SE on-line screening system. Families not able to use the on-line system will continue to receive screening instruments via U.S. Mail;
  3. Implement consistent follow-up protocols for all developmental and social-emotional screens (ASQ-3 and ASQ:SE) where a beyond-the-cutoff score or concern is identified for children ages birth to 36 months. Periodic follow up will continue until medical evaluation/assessment is complete and families are connected to services including insurance, community-based waiver programs, Help Me Grow Infant and Toddler Services (Part C) early intervention services, specialty care, and parent to parent support;
  4. Collect data to indicate the age of screening, referral and connection to services, and diagnosis of ASD or other developmental disability;
  5. Collaborate with education, human services, health care, community organizations, families, and children on a routine basis in their local communities;
  6. Connect to primary care providers, care coordinators and ASD specialty providers in their jurisdictions to discuss screening practices to maximize resources;
  7. Share lessons learned throughout the grant period; and
  8. Use data collected to provide guidance on system barriers around referrals and communication between primary care, public health, education and specialty care. The grantee plans to track timeliness of entry into diagnostics and early intervention services in several areas of the state. Local public health will be able to document the realities in the system so that improvements can be made in policy.


I am not sure if any of these folks are still at HRSA – I know that Diana D retired (how lovely she was), but irrespective of who is there now, change must come once and for all. This is the time for action for our community to stand up for our kiddos with autism and be part of the solution. We CAN speak and advocate for ourselves and do not need Pacer and others to do it. SAPA, Isuroon, etc. CAN do it.

Above words do not reflect any agency, candidate or committee.

Idil – Autism Mom

Comments Off on Bloomington School District in Minnesota Disproportionately Discriminates against Students of Color including Children with Autism – Blog three

Alright – so, Minnesota Department of Human Rights recently warned 43 Minnesota school districts for explicit discipline disparities. First, let’s explain what disparity is.

Disparity is such an ugly word that allows the privileged to discriminate against those they consider inferior or less. This is a country were equality should prevail and should be the model, right? This is a country of immigrants where everyone came from somewhere, except native Americans and sadly African Americans who had no choice. Nevertheless, many school districts still practice discriminatory practices in how they discipline students of color which adds to the huge education gap between white students and students of color.

Minnesota has some of the worst disparities in education, health and employment. As a person of color – quite frankly, I am soooo tired of being told by the privileged, “we know, we understand, we are working on it, we can’t find someone of color to hire, we are trying, blah blah and yada, yada. Oh and my favorite, “no one with the right qualifications applied”. Gee – I wonder where I heard that before. People who are doing and contributing to these disparities are not going to change their behaviors if there are no consequences or incentives. In other words, if a school such as Bloomington school district suspends children of color more than they do white children, but they don’t lose any funding, suspend the teacher whose record shows the disparity, etc. then why would they change their behavior. Think about it. By the same token, districts who are equal and fair to all of their students, but there is no incentive or recognition then why should they do good? what is in it for them. Think about that. For example, when a white student does something that is suspension worthy, the school is most likely to get a behavior analyst to help the child by finding out the function of the behavior and developing a behavior plan.  Another example, if a white student does something that is suspension worthy, the school is most likely to contact his/her parents and collaborate with them in finding a solution.

By the same token, if a minority student especially black or brown does something that is suspension worthy, the school will just suspend that child then cite the law/policy that allows them to do it. If a black or brown student does something that is suspension worthy, the school will most likely not contact the parents because they know minority parents are less likely to sue or complain about the school district. Can you see the differences that can contribute to disparities in the education system.  I do, and it pisses me to my core. We can not accept bias and discriminatory treatment for our children. I know it is tiring, exhausting and frustrating but try to take those feelings and change them into energy, tenacity and persistence.

Minnesota Department of Human Rights made a deal with Bloomington School District about their bias and discriminatory treatment towards students of color and students with disabilities that was signed by the chair of the school district board, the commissioner of the human rights department and the superintendent of the school district, who is a person of color but has not addressed disparity thoughtfully thus far – in my humble little opinion. Did Bloomington learn anything over this, heck to the no. In fact, they have suspended more students with autism who clearly did not understand nor comprehend what suspension is. My advice to this district would be to fire the special education director Ms. McIntyre and the principal of Jefferson high school. Suspending a child is extremely subjective and depends on who is doing it and how they see that child.

Remember when the previous superintendent of the Minneapolis school district was outraged by the high rate of suspension for black children specially boys and created this policy, well we need every district to create their own suspension/expulsion prevention committee who would oversee what the school is doing and how fair they are. And, if that committee which must be diverse enough to reflect that district finds subliminal bias behaviors then firing must be next. Hence, why I highly recommend firing and/or at least suspending without pay the Bloomington school district special education director and Jefferson high school principal as well as any others who blatantly violate students of color and students with disabilities’ right to get free and appropriate public education.

Above words do not represent any committee, agency or candidate.

Idil – Autism Mom who is determined to fight inequality from every river, valley and mountain.

Comments Off on Autism Rate Rises to 1 in 59 from 1 in 68 in the ADDM 2018 Report

Alright – so, the autism & developmental disabilities monitoring (ADDM) report came out last week stating that nationwide autism is now at 1 in 59. This means every 59 children in the US – one has autism. The current sites of the ADDM are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. The 11 communities surveyed in this report represent about 8 percent of 8-year-old children in the United States. It looked at about 300,000 children who were eight years old in those states within specific areas.

As you can see Minnesota is now among the states who count autism data for the first time in history mainly due to autism in the Somali community issues that we have raised for years now. Plus, the U of MN was kind enough to apply for this grant whereas MDH or the do nothing state health agency refused.

Well – so what does this data mean for autism in Minnesota and in nationwide? Nothing new here – we all knew the numbers would be higher. What was interesting was the number of minority children who were not Somalis being diagnosed increased. Some said it is due to awareness, maybe. Some said it is due to autism is hitting more minority kids now – maybe. Even though, this data specifically does not mention Somalis in Minnesota – some in the community have said it is now 1 in 26 for American children born to Somali parents in Mpls and St. Paul. Some in our community got angry and wanted what the state was going to do about this. Some even have called me asking what I was going to do about it. My response – nothing.

My goal and those that I advocated with have been to raise awareness of autism in our children. I think we did that fairly well. The next step is not ask what the state is going to do which is nothing especially the state health dept. Instead what new autism parents need to do is the following in my humble little opinion.

Gather specific data and numbers from U of MN especially Dr. Headache – sorry I meant Dr. Amy Hewitt who I saw mentioned Kristin and Jennifer from the U but not the one Somali person that also worked on the ADDM numbers – how lovely and how normal.

Then find an autism researcher who will research into why it is high in us and why it is silencing our kids.

Find where autism grants come from at the federal level – NIH, NIMH, NIEH, CDC, HRSA, etc. and see if they can allocate funding for Somali autism and causation research.

Contact your local legislators particularly Abdi Warsame and Ilhan Omar and see if they can allocate some kind of research funding for this.

Finally, make sure whatever you do there is language that says Somalis will be involved in it as the saying goes nothing about us without us.

Good luck! and always asking media coverage is helpful.

My favorite blog about the new ADDM numbers was this. Matt who was a fellow IACC member and an autism parent always writes about autism from a thoughtful perspective.

Above words do not reflect any agency, candidate or committee.

Idil – Autism Mom

Comments Off on How Minnesota Public Schools use a tunnel gateway to segregate children with autism and force them into a segregated life – sad but true (blog two)

Alright – so, I am new in advocating or even understanding special education laws and policies. I saw a story few weeks ago by the Mpls Star Tribune segregation and inequality limit Minnesotans with disabilities and I started thinking how can this be. Didn’t we move from segregation to inclusion of people with disabilities which includes autism. Sadly, we have not and may even be going backwards. Then I started looking into how school districts start this disturbing chain and gateway tunnel early.

Children with autism and other behavioral disorders are often sent to a segregated education setting where the child sees no one but those with other disabilities all day long. School districts are sending children to these secluded and segregated educational settings as young as elementary and middle school. Think about that for a minute. The child is locked for hours every day and sees no one with typical behaviors then where and how can this child possibly learn how to act normally. There is no segregation section in grocery stores, parks, malls, etc. which then causes the parent to not take their child anywhere because they don’t know how to behave. This leads to this child becoming a young adult who now lives in a segregated group home and works in a segregated employment setting. How is this different the days of institution and seclusion for individuals with disabilities decades ago? It is not.

So what now? what do we do, how do we stop this, who has the authority and what can parents whose children have autism and/or other disabilities do?

So many good questions and I don’t have all of the answers yet. My first suggestions for any family who is struggling with this are:

  1. Don’t sign anything that takes your child to a segregated educational setting.
  2. Learn about Individuals with Disabilities Education Empowerment Act (IDEIA) and learn about what least restrictive environment (LRE) is. Most likely the school district is violating this.
  3.  Learn and educate yourself about the process of filing a complaint with Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and due process which means you may have to go in-front of a judge or go through due process which can take long and is complex. But you can do it – stay strong and focus on the needs of your child.
  4. Call Minnesota Disability Law Center as they have been working on this issue and can support you.
  5. Don’t get intimidated or bullied by the school district because they will try but you can beat them if you are persistent and informed – stay calm, focused and be strategic with your child’s needs.
  6. Contact your local and congressional representative and senators and ask what they can do legislatively which can include holding funding from districts who violate IDEIA. Currently, there are no incentives or consequences for districts who violate IDEIA or send our kids to segregated educational settings and there is nothing that says did you try to educate the child in the LRE.
  7. Blog if you can, tell other parents about your experience, contact the school board and scream from every mountain, river and valley because you are your child’s best advocate.

Stay tuned as I learn more about this and figure out how to stop this big and well funded school districts from segregating our children which can only lead into a segregated and institution like life which we don’t want. We want our children to live in an inclusive and welcoming world where people understand and have compassion.

Above words do not reflect any candidate, agency or committee.

Idil – Autism Mom

Comments Off on Kathryn Marshall is no longer with Minnesota Autism Center – wait really!

Alright – so, Minnesota Autism Center (MAC) is arguably the largest autism therapy provider in Minnesota. MAC serves hundreds of children with autism and their families. Kathryn Marshall who has a child with autism has been their face since inception. MAC was families for effective autism treatment (FEAT) before it became MAC. Then there was that falling out with what later become Lovaas. Well you know the story if you are in the autism community. I have blogged and blogged about MAC for many years and had a love/hate relationship with them. I loved what they did for many autism children and families yet hated how many autism families including me were treated by them.

I remember the last time MAC discharged my child without reason or even notice, I told Ms. Marshall and Ron Carey to consider me a permanent hemorrhoids and that I would advocate against their bullying tactics against autism families until it was no more. In fact, after they discharged my kid suddenly and for no good reason, Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) issued a corrective action against them and told them they were in violation of Minnesota statutes that protects children with disabilities under children’s therapeutic support services (CTSS). DHS also told MAC that they could no longer just discharge children from their medically necessary treatments, and that MAC had to involve the parent and report how many children they discharged to DHS. According to DHS records MAC has discharged 20 children in 2016 and 40 children in 2017.

Say what you want about Ms. Marshall and I clearly was not a big fan, but no one can argue that she shaped the landscape of autism therapy in Minnesota. MAC is the only agency that served children from Minneapolis to Rochester to Mankato to Duluth. She built state of the art facilities for kids on the spectrum that would put a Hilton hotel at the bottom. Yes, I know she bullied families and even some staff but in the interest of giving credit where credit is due – Ms. Marshall was unique and tough.

There is a lot of rumors going around in how she departed from MAC, some stating she was fired, some stating there was fraud with DHS and some stating MAC’s board finally just had it. Whatever the case, I thank her for what she did that was good for our kiddos with autism.

Above words do not reflect any agency, committee or candidate.

Idil – Autism Mom