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...]

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...]

Autistic Kids and the Hearing Impaired How do our kids do with the hearing impaired? My son has been around other autistic kids for most of his life. He has also had contact with a few Down Syndrome kids. However, until recently, he has had very little contact with the hearing impaired. He now has a deaf swimming instructor. Unfortunately, he has struggled to communicate with her. How did I help him? The first thing I did was to make him aware that one of his instructors was deaf. I explained that one of his instructors cannot hear him. … [Read more...]

Transitioning to a new aide - Part Three In my last two blogs, I discussed my son's new aide and how we helped with the transition from his old, long-term aide to the new aide. What's next to discuss? The question… When do we get rid of the aide? Do we know when to get rid of the aide? Not really, but here's what we have so far. My son is now in 6th grade, but when he was in 5th grade, he began to show a desire for independence. The school and his teacher began to back the aide off at certain times to see how he did. He not only did … [Read more...]

Transitioning to a New Autism Aide - Part 2 In my last blog, I discussed my sonʼs longtime aide and how we dealt with her possibly leaving. Then, the aide got a new job and we had to deal with that transition. I talked to my son about why she was leaving and made sure he understood that it wasnʼt his fault. It's just the way things go sometimes. How did we transition from a long term aide to a new aide? The school district wanted to assign a new aide to my son. His IEP is mid-year, so they felt there was no reason to call an IEP and have … [Read more...]

Transitioning to a New Autism Aide - Part One   My son finished fifth grade with a new aide. The new aide began in March and was with my son until the end of the school year. During fifth grade, the teacher, RSP person, and the principal all agreed that he had made tremendous progress and that he was “ready" to go without an aide. How long was the original aide with my son? My sonʼs original school aide had been with him for almost six years. She got assigned to him at the end of kindergarten and the district just kept assigning her. … [Read more...]

Sixth Grade for an Autistic Student   My child just started sixth grade. Our elementary school is kindergarten through sixth, so heʼs technically still in elementary school and not middle school. However, Iʼm still amazed heʼs in his seventh and last year at our school. Where did the time go? How is sixth grade structured? First, Iʼm happy to report that in my childʼs school, sixth graders not only have instruction on every major subject (math, science, history, English) everyday but two of those classes are “switching“ classes. … [Read more...]