Parents say kids with autism aren't getting support in Volusia classrooms



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A group of parents of children with autism say their children's civil rights are being violated by Volusia County schools.

The parents argue the district is not giving their children the educational support system they are entitled to.

WFTV's Lori Brown found that it may be putting other students in danger.

Shannon Flo said her 5-year-old boy is just like any other child in the right environment, but she said in his classroom of 17 students with only one teacher, his autism can cause him to be overwhelmed.

"He will find a safe place where he can be secluded; he'll go under a table," said Flo. "If he gets to the point where he is so overly stimulated to the point he has no self-control, he can be aggressive and lash out."

Flo said in order for her son to get an education and to protect other students, he needs the support of a behavior specialist in the classroom.

"Disabled advocates say not accommodating the needs of autistic children is the same as not providing a wheelchair ramp for a child who can't walk," said Jamison Jessup, director of "When he has received one-on-one support, he's been able to get an education and doesn't interfere."

Disabled advocate Jessup filed a request for a due-process hearing on behalf of Flo and another family with an autistic child.

He said if the children do not get intervention now, it could pose a bigger problem for the district later.

"We could have a young man who is still having the same difficulties he had in kindergarten in middle school. And there it would be a lot more dangerous, because he'd be taller and bigger," said Jessup.

"I know my son has potential if he gets the interventions he needs," said Flo.

Volusia County school leaders said they are still reviewing the children's needs. Later, a team will decide if behavior specialists are necessary for the children.