Tuesday, August 31, 2010

General Updates

We started working with a behavioral therapist who has provided us with picture schedules that we've been using, and this has been very helpful with transitions. My son likes to know what's going on during the day. My daughter likes them too. We have a strip on the wall by his bed where I put the pictures, and I also have flip cards so that I can bring the pictures along wherever we go so that I can prepare him for transitions while we're out too.

The therapist has also been working on getting my son to sit through a meal, and he's doing very well. He still gets up, but the length of time that he's sitting is getting longer and longer.

We're also working on getting my son to keep his seatbelt on, and he's been doing well with this too.

The head banging continues, despite all efforts to curtail it. Sigh.
Our new neighbors moved in, and they seem nice. They're also a family of four with a son and daughter who are 14 and 11...same age difference as mine. The mother is an aid in the local school system, and she works with an autistic boy. My husband's coworker calls this a "God-incidence". I like that term.

Kindergarten starts on September 8th. I like the program my son is in, and we've been to visit the outside of the school. There's a big playset that looks like a fire engine on the playground, and this was a big hit with my son. The school is a regular public school in a nearby school district, but my son will be in a self-contained class with other autistic children. There will be seven students, a teacher, two assistant teachers, and a speech therapist in the room. The program is very similar to the preschool program he just finished, and I think he will do well.
He still has diarrhea, and the doctors still can't seem to figure out why.

My daughter is talking up a storm, and her pronunciation is getting clearer. She's just too darned cute.

I'm sure I'll have more time to write when my son goes back to school. He takes up a lot of time...but it's a blessing that I have so much time to spend with my kids.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When My Son Doesn't Get His Way...

When my son doesn't get his way, he bangs his head. Unlike normal kids, autistic kids will bang their heads until they hurt themselves. Despite this, he still doesn't get his way. I'm hoping that he'll eventually learn that banging his head does not serve any purpose. Unfortunately, we're on hole number two in the wall from the head banging.

We have been very blessed to have very understanding downstairs neighbors, and very kind maintenance workers who are willing to come and fix the holes and who understand that autistic children do these things and are not surprised or judgemental.

Thank you God.

Kindergarten Placement Update

Well, after much prayer and being a pain in the neck, we finally have my son placed in a kindergarten class for September that I'm happy with!
The coordinator of special education is filing a variance to open up a 7th spot JUST FOR MY SON in one of the classes for autistic children in a district school So, the ratio will be seven students, one teacher, two teacher's aides, and a speech therapist. That's a smaller ratio than he has now, as he's in a similar situation but with 8 children. I visited the class, and the children are similar to my son in level of functioning. The class is similar to the class he is in now, but with academics that closely follow the regular academics of the school. The class is in a local grammar school, so there will be plenty of interaction with "typically developing" (that's the PC term) children. There will also be lots of opportunities for mainstreaming. AND he will be eligible for any after school activities offered including instrument lessons, chorus, sports, or whatever he may be interested in. He will also have the opportunity to be mainstreamed into academic classes as well, should he excel in a particular area. So, I'm very happy. Also, the school is only 20 minutes away, which I'm more comfortable with. It's in a nice, quiet little area, and the playground has a big monster truck for the kids to climb on. My son is very excited about this.
Today was his last day of school, and I was happy to be able to let his teacher know where he'll be going.
We still have to work on potty training, which has been difficult because he's had diarrhea for six weeks now, and none of the doctors or specialists seem to be able to figure out why. This is bad for toilet training because he doesn't make a lot of urine because most of his fluids come out in the bowel movements. This means there aren't a lot of opportunities for him to succeed in making pee pee on the potty, and this means he doesn't have success to motivate him. This is not a good thing, but I explained the situation to the special ed coordinator, and this is not going to break the deal for my son being in a district class. So, we'll just keep trying. He has a medical condition, and he can't help it, so I'm glad they wont' hold it against him. If they did, I would have insisted they get an aide for him. I guess I've been enough of a pain in the neck for them. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kindergarten Placement

Well, we're in the midst of looking for the best placement for my son in kindergarten. He was initially placed in a program within an institution that treats the most severe cases, with many violent children with a ratio of 6:3. I didn't feel it was appropriate for him.
Then we looked into a district school with a class specifically for autistic children also with a ratio of 6:3, but there were no spaces.
I told the district that they'd have to find some other options for my son, and if they don't have any openings, then I want him to be placed into a higher ratio class with an aide.
Then we looked into another institution that is for multiply handicapped children with a ratio of 12:5. He fit in a bit better here, I wouldn't have to worry about him being injured, but the school is 45 minutes away. Also, the children are much more severely handicapped than my son. So, I'm not completely thrilled with this placement.
Then today, I got a phone call saying that they were willing to create an opening for my son in a district school in one of the classes for autistic children. I THINK that this would be ideal, as he would be in a regular school, close to home, with more opportunities to integrate with normal, ah, er, typically developing children. It would then be easier to move on to mainstreaming and inclusion.
So, we'll see.