Posted By Janet Miller on September 2, 2013Although I had hoped to write a weekly blog I find that things just seem to always be busy. So looks to be an every other week blog. I did have a great day at a corporate event last week. I found out that Will Clarke’s son was autistic and so when he tossed me the ball at the end of batting practice I yelled out can you sign this ball for my son who has autism. He immediately came over and talked to me for about 10 minutes. Connor now has a personalized ball. Just makes you realize that there are a lot of folks out there supporting autism. Will Clark attends the annual Giants event in support of Autism. I have never attended but think I will next year.
I also was able to have Connor continue to work at Autistry Studios two days a week and incorporate this as part of his transitional program at IVC. I was very grateful that the district was flexible about transport and willing to work with me. This also gives a lot of credibility to the employment program at Autistry with Marin County Office of Education. I hope that this allows future partnerships between the schools and Autistry. This week I want to write about Golden Gate Regional Center services. My son’s IPP (Individual Program Plan) was just last week. Although I ended up conducting this over the phone I decided that future meetings will be with Connor and I will fade to the background. GGRC will be most critical for my son when he is living on his own and he needs to understand the process and that he has another layer of support.
Connor was denied GGRC three times. The first time was when he was 3, then again when he was 8 and then just before his 18th birthday. The last time I did appeal and requested an informal meeting. I had to then be strategic as I prepared for this meeting as I was worried about the financial cost of hiring an attorney if we had to go to a hearing. I got a new neuropsyche report and I also met with an attorney from Disability Rights of California. This attorney at no cost took me through the Lanterman Act and also met with Connor. She fully supported that Connor should qualify for GGRC and we made sure that we had the paperwork in order and could address all the reasons why he was entitled to GGRC.
At the informal meeting the doctor who had actually previously denied Connor services when he was younger did explain his reasoning although truthfully I was not interested in retrospect but moving forward. Needless to say after an hour meeting the group from GGRC only took 10 minutes to agree that Connor was eligible for services. Some of the reports that I had submitted with my last request did discuss inaccurately some prior employment that Connor had secured. My advice therefore is to be sure that the reports you submit are entirely accurate and to ensure that they address abilities/disability within the Lanterman Act. Also if you believe that your adolescent will likely need support into adulthood push for these services. Find the right neuropsyche who understands the requirements and is willing to participate in informal hearings.
I do not know where an agency like GGRC will be in the next 10 years but right now it is a huge comfort to know that after Connor is finished with MCOE he will be monitored by another agency.