California Regional Centers and Your Child with Autism This may come off as a rant, but really it's a warning to new parents out there. What is a California Regional Center? From the website: "Regional centers are nonprofit private corporations that contract with the Department of Developmental Services to provide or coordinate services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. They have offices throughout California to provide a local resource to help find and access the many services available to individuals and … [Read more...]

Ageing Out of Autism Services   My son has been in a social skills group since he was three years old. When he turns thirteen this year, he will "officially" age out of this group. What is social skills group? Social skills group is a structured play group with four to six children who are relatively near each other on the autism spectrum. They have two facilitators who strive to encourage the group to communicate, play, and interact with each other. My son was young when he started at age three. However, the facility (at that time) … [Read more...]

More Schools and Outside Agencies In my last blog, I discussed how I took my son to an outside agency (by “outside“ I mean one that is not directly funded by the school district) to be tested for reading comprehension. He had scored low. Then, at his first fifth grade testing, he again scored low. Right before his December IEP, however, he was retested and the numbers were significantly better. He had improved greatly. At the IEP, we decided to not push the school district to fund a program for reading comprehension with this outside … [Read more...]

Schools and Outside Agencies Should you get testing done from an outside agency? Before my son began fifth grade, his reading comprehension was tested through an independent agency (not affiliated with the school district). Why did I have my son tested? One area that some children with autism tend to struggle with is reading comprehension. Our kids tend to be literal thinkers and have trouble with abstract thinking. When my son is reading a book, I will sometimes stop him and ask what he thinks the author is trying to say or if he can … [Read more...]

The VIP autistic swim meet My son is a member of a VIP swim team. The team is not restricted to children with autism only, nor is it restricted to only children. There are adults on the older team. One adult, for example, is blind. On my son’s team, which is a team designed for less experienced swimmers, there are kids with Downs Syndrome and other afflictions. Some kids have to swim with an instructor, but others are fully independent. There are all ages and abilities in this VIP league. Is there a difference between an individual sport … [Read more...]

What about volunteering for autism organizations? How many do I volunteer with? I didnʼt volunteer at all when my son was first diagnosed. For two years, I focused on him, learning about autism and what he needs were in terms of services. I wanted him “fixed“ and relatively quickly. Instead, I had to learn about this term, “autism,“ why it applied to my son, and what I was really supposed to do. I had to slow down, help him, and learn. After two years, I finally began to feel comfortable enough to go out into the world and talk about my son … [Read more...]

Talking about social skills for an autistic child. My son's social skills service changed all within a two month period. And, not for the better. Here I'm talking about social skills for an autistic child. Social skills are more or less something that is universally lacking in children with autism. They need to be learned; social cues, communication, listening, responding to other appropriately. Social skills are something that every autistic child struggles to learn. Over a two month period, there was a change at my son's social skills … [Read more...]