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Old 01-28-2012, 03:31 PM
 
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We may be relocating from central New York to the Williston area of Vermont. Our oldest son, age 13, has a diagnosis of Aspergers. Currently we are homeschooling him, as the school district in our hometown is not very supportive of his needs. He has indicated he would like to enter high school in the fall. Are there any particular public schools in the Williston area that are geared to supporting those on the spectrum? Or would you advise a private school? If so, any one private school that stands out over another? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:59 PM
 
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Sorry I can't help with your question, but may I ask you a few questions? I have a basic understanding of what Asperger's syndrome is. Do you have a theory as to why it warrants special education? I am not saying it doesn't, but why are assignments in schools often "dumbed down" for these kids? From what I have heard, IEP accommodations often don't do justice to the high IQ and intellect which Asperger's people are lucky to have.

Also, what are some problems unique to Asperger's people? I think I know most of the symptoms, but what are some social situations which are a big problem for them? For this question I have teens with Asperger's in mind.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:01 PM
 
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Magicoz, I don't know if I can fully do justice to your question, as my understanding is that each child on the spectrum is unique in their own way - and there is not a "one size fits all" approach to ensuring their success in the school system.

However, for my son the school day was difficult for a number of reasons. The cacophony of stimulus made it very difficult for him to focus. This presented itself in a number of ways: the overhead lights, the sound of pencil on paper, the bells ringing to change classes, the shuffle and talking of the students in the hallway - just to name a few- all came together where he was completely overstimulated. Overstimulation leads to a child needing to withdraw into oneself as a way of coping. Needless to say it wasn't an environment that was conducive to learning. As for your question of why assignments in schools are "dumbed down", I would posit that most public schools simply don't have the resources to deal with the variety of individual needs. Because you are correct, they are incredibly, beyond belief, intelligent.

Social situations, for my son, present their own types of difficulties. They typically stick to speaking about their favorite subject and are unaware of the subtle nuances of conversation. This type of behavior does not lend itself to making friends.

These are just the bare basics of some of the difficulties my son experiences on a daily basis. I will say my husband and I feel incredibly blessed to have our son, and to be able to lsee the world through his eyes. We have learned so much from him.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:20 PM
 
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I'd look at Bellwether School. It's a regular private school, not for special needs, but they have very low ratios and their teaching style is for the students to follow their interests. The teachers are very skilled at building curriculum around what motivates each individual. There is also a Waldorf school and a new charter type school in the area (can't remember the name). I think you'll probably find something hat works here. There is a big focus on education and services here compared to where I lived in NH.
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:46 PM
 
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I don't mean to be negative, but are you familiar with any of these traits of Asperger's? Friends of mine who are parents have told me about several of them.

1. fidgeting in school; not being able to sit still

2. trouble pronouncing the letter R

3. cursing at authority figures

4. missing a sense of humor

5. memorizing lines from movies and TV; talking to self and repeating them

6. uncommon hobbies/interests (I hear anime and train schedules are both common ones)

7. physical pain in response to certain loud sounds (such as fire alarms)

8. shyness and fear of talking to people

9. extreme trouble spelling OR a talent for writing

10. (physical) sexual feelings occurring at an early age, not necessarily understood though
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:42 PM
 
Location: Pluto's Home Town
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Although it does not seem to be the case with the OPs son, not all Asperger kids are immensely intelligent. Some are average or slightly above. The challenges with staying focused and performing with all the external stimuli, distractions, and to study something THEY have not decided is in their interest can all yield quite low academic performance in typical school settings. They seem to need special attention to conform to the rules that other kids figure out easily. Their superior intellect, where present, is not always relevant to all subjects, and they can get in their own way a lot.

I would worry that for a 13 year old boy coming from homeschooling, finding a place where he can learn, with encouragement, and a high probability of success will be very important. At that age kids can be extremely hard on themselves when they stand out, and even small "failures" can be magnified.

Best wishes!
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:05 PM
 
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momnh: thanks for the information on both the Bellweather and Waldorf school. Bellweather only takes children up to 12 years of age, but Waldorf does go through high school.

magicoz: the degree of which an individual is affected varies vastly. I would recommend using google to get a more all-around understanding to your questions.

Fiddlehead: you are exactly correct. Regardless of intelligence level, many of those on the spectrum encounter learning difficulties due to the inability to focus because of the issues with external stimuli. I appreciate your best wishes.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:04 PM
 
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I agree with most of the posts, and, based on the one person I know who has Asperger symptoms, I don't think it's necessarily a great challenge to parents. He had a hard time following instructions that didn't make sense to him, had little or no ability to empathize with others, was unable to write personal essays, was disturbed by loud noises, was completely inflexible about what he would eat, and was perfectly happy being alone most of the time. His mother had the school change teachers occasionally if there was a bad fit, and he was bullied a few times. He attended all public schools in Illinois in regular, non-gifted programs, then majored in computer science at Yale, and now works for Microsoft. I would guess that he's relatively high functioning for a person with this condition. If your child is high functioning, it may be less of an issue than you think. He may just need explanations, encouragement and occasional intervention when he is mishandled by others at school.

Sorry, I don't know anything about the schools in the Williston area but thought this might help.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
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Vermont Flower Farm Autism Resources

This link has a few potential links that may help you out. Vermont Family Network would be a good place to get some information.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:25 AM
 
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OllieB, I am PM'ing you.

One of our kids has Asperger's syndrome and is extremely gifted in some areas, with significant motor skills problem and no verbal delays. However, I know from my readings about Asperger's syndrome that not all people with Asperger's are extremely gifted. Not all extremely gifted people have Asperger's. A person can have normal to above normal IQ and have Asperger's. My child is twice exceptional, gifted and Aspie.

I see a fair amount of misunderstanding about Asperger's syndrome. If anyone is really curious about Asperger's syndrome, they can read all about it at OASIS @ MAAP - The Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support Center. Here is another article about children who are both gifted and aspie. Gifted children with Asperger's Syndrome

Last edited by treasuremapper; 04-12-2012 at 08:35 AM..
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