Back to School for an 8th Grader with Autism - Part 2

Back to School for an 8th Grader with Autism – Part 2 In my previous blog, I discussed my son returning to school—this time not as a newbie 7th grader but as a returning 8th grader. The transition is a bit easier and less stressful. Of course, there was a bump in the road—Our son was assigned the one teacher that a friend had advised us to try to avoid. We had to jump through a hoop (not too many hoops, though) in order to get that teacher changed before the start of school. Our son got his new schedule, and I continued to prepare him for … [Read more...]

Back to School for an 8th Grader with Autism

Back to School for an 8th Grader with Autism – Part 1 My son starts 8th grade tomorrow. Last year at this time I was worried about the transition from a comfy elementary environment to a potentially overwhelming middle school experience. However, my son felt confident and 7th grade went well. He had no negative experiences (that I know of) and his grades were excellent. What about 8th grade? Well, my son already has experience at this school, he knows the campus, and feels comfortable there. He really doesn’t need the prep that we did … [Read more...]

The Arts and Children with Autism

The Arts and Children with Autism My son interest in music has been hit or miss. He liked listening to songs a few years ago, but then it went away. It's came back last summer as we were on a driving trip. He has never really been drawn to musical instruments. Why are musical instruments sometimes hard for our kids? In the book, “Ido in Autismland,“ written by a non-verbal teenager with autism, the author believes many autistic children have a difficult time communicating from their brains to their hands or limbs. He says there is "a … [Read more...]

Middle School Transition for a Child with Autism - Part Two

Middle School Transition for a Child with Autism - Part Three Approaching the first day of middle school for my son with autism, I was hoping that I had done everything I could think of to help prepare him BEFORE the first day of school. He was pretty comfortable on the new campus, he got assigned the English teacher from his summer class, and he was looking forward to a couple of his classes. How was the beginning of school? I met my son at the end of the first school day in order to walk him over the Teen Scene after school program. He … [Read more...]

Middle School Transition for a Child with Autism - Part 1

Middle School Transition for a Child with Autism - Part One In May of this year, my son was asked about how he felt leaving elementary school and entering middle school for the 2015-16 school year. He said he felt good about it, and he said his mom is "overly worried." Why was I worried? Well, my son had been at the same school for seven years. K through sixth grade. Both my son and his parents were comfortable at this school. Most importantly, many of kids new my son. They "got" him and accepted his "uniqueness." He could run and flap his … [Read more...]

Autism and Public Restrooms

Autism and Public Restrooms At what age is it appropriate for a child to use a public bathroom by themselves? This question is steered toward a child with special needs. I only have one child and that child has autism. I've never raised a typical child, so I'll stick with what I know. I'm also directing this question toward an encounter I had with my autistic son. An incident happened one time regarding the mens locker room at my gym. Since my son was about eight, he had been taking himself into the menʼs locker room to use the … [Read more...]

Middle School ESY for Autistic Students

Middle school ESY for Autistic Students   ESY stands for Extended School Year, which you can think of as "summer school." For our kids, especially my OT-needy son, it's not the summer school that I remember when I was young. The ESY that my son attends is OT-focused and not for academics. (Our school district does offer a summer program for academically-challenged students.) It's a program that helps special needs kids bridge from one school year to another. Why does my son get ESY? The idea behind an ESY program for kids who have … [Read more...]