Are Children with Autism Singled Out? – Part Two This is a follow-up to an incident that occurred at my child’s school a week ago. What was the incident? In a nutshell… My son attempted to charge his phone during a non-designed time in a math testing room. He was about to take a math test, and the co-teacher told him he could not plug in his phone. My son protested and got surly. But, then he complied. He put away his phone and began to take his math test.   In the middle of taking his test, the co-teacher interrupted him by handing him … [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...]

A Child with Autism Attends the IEP   We had our first IEP meeting last week. It wasn’t a “full” IEP meeting since we had requested to meet with our child’s Spanish teacher to discuss strategies for helping our son in that class. Our son’s annual IEP takes place during the winter, so we were okay to only have a “partial.” Luckily, besides our son’s case manager and the Spanish teacher, the school psychologist, his counselor, and another member of the special needs staff were also able to attend. I considered this valuable because we … [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...]

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...]

An Autistic Child Loses a Teacher Mid-Term My child with autism is mainstreamed into a "regular" classroom. Always has been. During his entire school career, he's had an aide. However, he's used to having a general education teacher and being around typical kids. For the most part, his peers are also used to him (and his aide). This year, however, has been quite the challenge. What happened? For 6th grade, my son was assigned to an incoming (new) teacher. This teacher was transferring into the elementary school from a charter school. She … [Read more...]