Mother seeks DOE assistance for son with autism

A local mother is desperate for assistance from the city’s Department of Education as her teenage son with autism has been struggling with outbursts. 
Christie Santiago-Holmes says last year, she got 19 calls from her son’s school asking to pick him up. Aumari Holmes, 13, has severe autism, and according to his individualized education plan, or IEP, it can lead to self-injurious behavior. 
Santiago-Holmes received a call last Tuesday that her son’s most recent outburst sent him to the psychiatric emergency room at Jacobi Hospital, causing her to question the District 75 special needs school’s ability to handle her son.  
“If you don’t know how to handle him in that school, then help me get him into a non-public school,” said Santiago-Holmes. “Stop fighting me.” 
The concerned mother is pushing to have her high school-bound son transferred to a state-approved non-public school, but these are more restrictive and do not allow special needs students to learn alongside peers without disabilities, like Aumari is able to do at his current school.  
A spokesperson from the DOE told News 12 the following statement: 
“Our goal is to place every student in the most supportive and least-restrictive environment possible. Parents and guardians know their children best, and they are with us every step of the way." 
The mother is set to meet with the school next week to re-evaluate Aumari’s needs.