Does Ohio even care about Special Needs kids and their education?

I haven’t spoken much about this since I originally shared it but Ohio has a new school attendance policy. It’s aimed at reeling in the chronically truant, but ends up overreaching because it’s a blanket policy, regardless of circumstance.

We received a warning letter last week because according to the new policy, Emmett can only miss one more day of school for the rest of the year, excused or otherwise. That’s my understanding anyway.

Both boys missed 8 days while we were in Florida on Gavin’s Wish Trip and those counted against them. Emmett missed 4 or 5 days before that when he had a respiratory infection, giving him a total of 13 missed days.

The State of Ohio isn’t taking into account that kids with special needs are going to miss more school than their typical peers because there are often health issues associated with things like Autism. They’re called comorbid diagnoses.



In Emmett’s case, he has a fever disorder that is further complicated by the school’s own fever policy. We have some wiggle room with Emmett but that only takes us so far.

Elliott has Asthma and food allergies, on top of Autism, severe anxiety and depression. He’s always been very susceptible to problems with his lungs due to serious complications at birth. In other words, this time of year, he gets sick a lot.

Speaking of Elliott, he’s running a fever of 101.0°F this afternoon. It began yesterday and is carrying over today. I don’t know what he’s going to be dealing with in the morning but the school policy, as well as our pediatricians policy, is that you must be without a fever for 24 hours before returning to school.

Read This  All the appointments of Autism

This is really frustrating because like most other things dealing with special needs in the State of Ohio, everyone is held to the same standards, regardless of health or cognitive ability. Frankly, it’s bullshit and something that’s been on my radar for a long time. It hasn’t directly impacted us until now though.

I’m unsure of what to do at this point.

There’s a large part of me that just thinks, fuck the State of Ohio. I’m going to do what’s best for my kids period. The other part of me wants to try and advocate for change. I have a decent enough platform to do that.

At this point, I feel like we should just ride this out until it’s actually an issue and then deal with it. I hate putting things like this off but we already have enough in our plate.

I have the letters from the school. Once I redact some of the personal information, I’ll share it and show you what I mean.



  • Dotdash says:

    They can only miss 8 days of school – OR WHAT?

    In answer to your question? Just look at whether your congresspeople act to fund the Children’s Health Plan (CHIP) that expired at the end of Sept. Then you’ll know the answer to whether Ohio cares about children.

    • Rob Gorski says:

      Hey Dot. ☺ That’s a really good point. I just read an article that since Trump killed the subsidies to insurance companies, States will have to decide whether to keep or reduce funding to things like this.

      I will keep an eye on this.. Thanks Dot and I hope all is well on your end.. ☺

  • KimmyGebhardt says:

    “The State of Ohio isn’t taking into account that kids with special needs are going to miss more school than their typical peers because there are often health issues associated with things like Autism.”

    I agree with you that children with special needs or chronic health conditions should be given some leeway, but that is a hard point for you to argue when the boys just missed 8 days of school for a vacation. I know it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I certainly don’t fault you for taking advantage of it, but the fact remains that they missed over half of their allowed days for vacation. Ohio is far from the only state to have restrictions placed on what is an excused absence. Every year the school system here sends out a letter telling parents that vacations are not excused absences. I get where you’re coming from regarding the blanket policy, but I don’t think this is a fight you can win, and this is not the first time the boys absences from school have been questioned. Emmett missed almost a month of school last year and the year or two before that Elliott’s teacher put notes on his report card that he needed to attend school every day. And at the center of it all, they are trying to keep kids in school and that will never be a bad thing.