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Rebecca Singer was 16 and she needed more

When Rebecca was 16, after years and years of a heroic effort by the staff and teachers at REED Academy, the school her parents helped start nearly ten years before, they realized she needed much more.

Rebecca was not making meaningful progress

After attending a presentation by the director of REED Academy on the skills needed to succeed in both adult day and residential programs, they realized Rebecca had significant deficits in all activities of daily living. 

Rebecca had no independent skills for showering, toileting, feeding, dressing, and she had made little or no progress in these critical areas. 

There were also safety issues because if left unsupervised she would wander and walk into the street with no sense of danger.

Rebecca didn’t look down and was at risk of tripping and falling, and she put inappropriate items in her mouth and could easily choke.

The REED Academy day ended at 2:45 and her parents knew she needed to be in a program that extended through the rest of the day and on weekends for there to be any chance of her making meaningful progress by the time she turned 21.

Rebecca’s parents make the heartbreaking decision

While Rebecca’s parents didn’t have a particular age in mind when they envisioned her leaving home, they never imagined and were not prepared for the fact that she might leave so soon and were devastated.

The Singers were told however it might take six months to find a place they were comfortable with that was appropriate, and that it could take another year or more to come to an agreement with the school district, and then it might take some time for there to be an opening in a program.

So they had some breathing room.

Parents notify Tenafly and they Deny, Deny & Deny

The Singers told the Tenafly School district that they were exploring residential programs and the first response was an outright denial that Rebecca was in need of a more intensive program.

The Singers responded with a detailed note about her lack of meaningful progress over the years and copied the superintendent. 

The school district called Rebecca’s parents liars

Despite having 16 years of records about Rebecca with clear evidence to the contrary, the school district sent a second denial, with a detailed yet fictional narrative that they literally created out of thin air. 

The letter from the school district had absolutely no basis in facts - facts that could have easily been obtained from her records and correspondence with her parents.  Instead they suggested other day programs.

The school district didn’t believe them nor did they seem to open their files.  The Singers learned that this may be one of many common strategies employed by school districts and their CrIEPY attorneys - just like the insurance companies in Scott Turow’s bestselling novel The Rainmaker.  Deny, deny and deny and hope that parents will give up the fight.

Rebecca’s parents visit residential programs  

The Singers were very upset to learn that the options in New Jersey were quite limited and that a traditional group home would not work for Rebecca.

After expanding their search to New York and Pennsylvania, they found two programs with highly skilled and caring staff members where they knew she could make meaningful progress and be loved.  One was only 10 months a year with many breaks and the other was 365 days a years, 24 hours a day - but with a price tag of early $350,000 a year! 

Read more - Jon is a Liar and other tales

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       The Drive for Rebecca, Inc.

       Tenafly, NJ 07670



Drive4Rebecca helps increase awareness of autism and asperger’s syndrome, raises funds for research and education, and helps parents become stronger advocates for their children with special needs.  Advocacy For All,  The Angel Certificate, Callous Rude & Incredibly Evil People, Heroes & CrIEPs, Your Child Handbook, Your Family Achievement Diary, Don’t Stare at Autism, Don’t Stare at Special Needs, Your Gratitude Diary, Building Better Lives for Children with Autism, Building Better Lives for Children with Special Needs, The Make Me Feel Good Planner and The Special Needs Parent Zone are trademarks of The Drive For Rebecca, Inc.  (c) 2012 Jonathan Singer and Drive For Rebecca, Inc.  All rights reserved.

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