Father: Autistic boy denied summer therapy


MONTICELLO, Ark. (KARK) — The family of a non-verbal autistic Monticello boy feels the school district is giving up on him.

Drake Collins is 9-years-old but functions like an infant.

His parents say he has severe meltdowns and can hurt himself.

He goes to the Consortium in the Monticello School District on the Drew County campus and received specialized occupational and speech therapy.

But this summer, his parents were told the therapists who were contracted by the district, would no longer be serving him since he hadn’t made any progress in 2 years and had no threat of regression.

“It’s just a very very sad situation to be so severe that it’s difficult. And we’re in such a limited resource area that it’s easier to give up on him than it is to help him,” Robert Collins, Drake’s dad said.

The Free Appropriate Public Education for Students with Disabilities Act requires students who need specialized therapies like physical, speech or occupational to receive that care.

Even when the school year starts back up, Collins says his son’s occupational therapy, that helps with his severe meltdowns, are discontinued.

In documents Collins provided, the therapist cited poor motivation, lack of participation and minimal progress as reasons for not continuing the therapy.

“This is the law you have to get my child services that he needs and no one will dispute that he needs these services,” Collins said.

According to the State Board of Education, if Drake needs them, he should get them.

“Ultimately, if the school does not have the therapists or the training that they need or the resources they need, it is a state issue that they are supposed to be making sure the school has this,” Collins said.

As Collins patiently waits for a break through with his son, he’s the voice for his son, fighting so that one day his son may have a voice too.

We reached out to multiple people with the Monticello School District including those in the Special Education Department.

The offices are closed on Fridays and will remain closed until July 8th.

Collins has hired a Little Rock attorney to ensure his son receives the therapy he needs, to advocate for other parents of children with disabilities and to try to make changes to the Monticello program, like adding windows or cameras to the therapy rooms at school.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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