Comments for Autism In School

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regarding post by Elaine Hayes
by: JR, Illinois

Elaine,

As a newcomer to this site, I just read your post about your seven-year-old. I don't know for sure when you posted it or if you will read this, but I thought I'd pass on a bit of my story that yours is so similar to.

My son went through the some thing at age 7. We went through hell and back again it seemed. Doctor after doctor, trial and error, medicine, you name it. No luck. We spent our life savings trying to get help to help him.

When my sanity was about to run out, I read online about a book that sparked a possibility. "Is this your child" by Dr. Doris M. Rapp, turned out to be a lifesaver literally! After one doctor's prescription medicine almost killed my son, I was astonished to find out that Dr. Rapp's book not only described my son's situation so well, but also gave excellent step-by-step instructions on how to pin-point possible allergens that were helping to cause the outbursts and behaviors that he was having.

With the help of the book, we found 35 things our son was allergic or hypersensitive to that he had been encountering every day between home, school, and even church. When we eliminated all the allergens that we had control over and got him an over-the-counter allergy medicine that worked well for him, he was like a different kid.

Within a week we went from 7 outbursts/meltdowns a day (average) to 7 a week. By the end of a month he was having less than one every couple of weeks. At that point we pinpointed the environmental factors that were causing a problem at school.

His teachers and principal said he was like a completely different kid. All because allergies and hypersensitivities (that an allergist had not detected) had been causing his body such extreme distress. When his body was hitting overload from these things he reacted in the only way he could: frustration, anxiety, tension, stress, and eventual meltdown.

I can't tell you how much this one book changed our lives forever. Nine years later my son can hardly remember his meltdown days (thank God), but he remembers how lousy he feels when too many allergens attack his body. Since he knows his allergens, he can lead a much better/happier life knowing what to avoid.

I pray that your son can find similar results and enjoy a happier/calmer life. Best of luck. JR

Not The Right Place For Our Kids
by: Shelia

My youngest child will be 9 next month. He is Autistic and has epilepsy. He was in public school in the regular education program with help as laid out on his IEP. He was fortunate enough to have been diagnosed at an early age and recieved early intervention services. He did great in Kindergarten but struggled in first grade. He had a wonderful teacher who really fought to get him the help he needed. Unfortunately when he was 7 years old and in second grade everything fell apart. He was disruptive in class. Spent much time under his desk and hiding behind trees on the playground. when he did interact with peers it was generally agressive. I arrived at school to pick him up every afternoon to hear a laundry list of things my son had done that day. He was so far behind academically I didn't think he could possibly catch up.

I decided that something had to change! I looked into home schooling and settled on the public K-12 program. It is amazing. I am thrilled with the curriculm and he still gets all of his therapies. It is a public school so it is all free. He has an IEP and is offered the FAPE he is entitled to.
We did also opt for medication to help him focus, and though I was very anti-medication before, it has been so helpful that I have changed my mind.

A year and a half later my son is doing GREAT! He is cought up academically and has almost no seizures. The night terrors he used to have, have also all but disappeared. He is less anxious and for the most part happy to learn. Don't get me wrong it is a difficult road and it is often very slow going, but the improvement in my son's ability to cope and learn and even socialize is worth every sacrifice I have had to make.

I believe that regular public education is not the right choice for many of our kids. Consider the possibilities. If I can do it anyone can.

Your Son
by: MDP

I've worked exclusively with public school children with autism for the last 17 years.
1. Even though we have a good idea of the essential characteristics of autism and how these can play out in the larger community, every single child that I worked with (over 250) was distinct. As such, it's important to remember that when discussing different programs and options for intervention
2. Communication (social and otherwise)as well as emotional regulation seem to be areas of difficulty shared all the way across the spectrum.
3. Given that these above difficulties often preclude ASD kids from effectively gathering, winnowing, storing and retrieving information the way the rest of us neurotypicals do, your son's communication and emotional environment are going to have to be modified to better fit HIS needs prior to attempting to modify HIM.
4. This is quite possible in the schools, as I've seen it and made it happen. The toughest step in the process is getting all the adults (often including parents) to be adults and make some of the initial changes:
Communication: making sure you have attention; speaking slower; not using slang/idiomatic expressions/sarcasm; accompany with visuals; etc..
Emotional: dial back the adult's feelings of being the victim in heated tantrum exchanges; reinforcement of small, reachable, defined steps on child's part to self-regulation; monitoring for teasing and bullying; etc.

General, I know but I hope it helps.

Public school's are not capable of dealing with Autism...
by: Anonymous

Dear friend
Your child is suffering and communicating in the only way he knows, it is important to address this or it could lead to more problems along the line.
My son is ten. He was exactly like this too when 7 yrs old.

He now self-harms and sufferes acute stress and low self-esteem. I am not suggesting your boy will get this each child has their own particular
coping mechanism.

If you are able to afford a public school I would suggest a specialist private school there are many in the UK, not sure where you are writing from.

Perhaps, if you contact the National Autistic Society parent helpline, use Google.They are the most knowledgable on the subject of Autism.

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