Autism and the New School Year   I waited a bit before reporting on my child’s new school year. What happened last year? Last year was my son’s freshman year. It was the first time he had gone to school without an aide. He was fourteen when he began school (he turned fifteen in February). Within two months, he changed his “look.” (He suddenly went from a shorts-wearing kid to a pants-wearing kid, he grew out his hair, and his attitude, well, teenagers can be surly, can’t they?) The summer before freshman year, he took a health … [Read more...]

A Community Autism Experience I was at the gym the other day. I was about to get into the swimming pool when a lifeguard approached me and said, “There’s a young man who is going to share your lane with you. He has high functioning autism, but he knows how to share a pool lane.” What happened? Well, nothing really. I swam on my side and he swam on his side. I have some thoughts, however, on this pretty minor encounter with a young man on the spectrum. Was this a typical interaction? Yes. The pools often get full to the point where a … [Read more...]

A Student with Autism and a Behavior Chart My son is in ninth grade, which means high school. And, he’s had some bumps in the road during this all-important transition. What are some of the issues? *First of all, my son is going without an aide for the full school day. He has never been aide-less before in school. He wanted to go to high school without an aide, and we’re supporting his wishes. *He has been late to a few classes. *He has also been caught playing games on his phone. *He has forgotten to turn in homework. And, he has mixed … [Read more...]

A Student with Autism Transitions to No School Aide   Our son wanted to not have an aide in high school. And, here’s how it’s going… How did we begin the transition? My son had a full time aide in 7th grade. As the year ended, the aide would give him “breaks,” she wasn’t with him during snack and lunch. She would meet him at the classes that followed snack and lunch. He did well getting to those classes on time. By the time 8th grade started, my son wanted more independence. At his IEP, we talked to his teachers, and made a … [Read more...]

Autism and the Future of Education in the United States Rant alert. Last week, the new government confirmed, by a historic tie-breaking vice presidential vote, the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Educators, teachers unions, parents, and especially the special needs community were fearful of this woman’s confirmation. Now, it has happened. In my opinion, this is yet another low for a new government that has done nothing but go low in its attempt to undo eight years of progress. Mrs. DeVos was nominated by our new … [Read more...]

Autism and High School Well, here it is, I can’t believe this is happening, but today I helped my son apply for high school. What did we do? In our local area, our high school is very respectable. It carries high honors from academics to athletics, and is has a very good reputation. However, it is a very large school. This is one factor that makes us nervous. Our school already goes to a large middle school, and the high school has an extra thousand students or so. What is our choice? Our son is applying to a magnet school that … [Read more...]

The Shooting of the Autistic Man’s Aide I’d like to comment on an incident that took place this week. Here’s what happened: A severely autistic man got out from a facility in Florida. He was out on his own. He brought with him a preferred toy, a toy truck. Someone in the home noticed that he was missing, and an aide was sent out to get him. The aide is a black man. At some point, the police were called with a report that a man was threatening to commit suicide with a gun pointed at his head. The police arrived and began to try to talk to … [Read more...]