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Old 11-16-2013, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
18,824 posts, read 19,758,746 times
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I just want to point out to parents please don't panic. Although it varies from place to place many public school programs are actually quite good. Private autism programs provide additional alternatives but please don't think that your child will just be left sitting at home staring at the walls (or spinning things or lining up objects) if they can't get into a private program right away.

I am not here to start an argument. In fact, if posters start arguing, I probably won't return to this thread. I just wanted to give an example of what type of services are available in my area, and I suspect many other areas.

For my example I'm thinking of a former student of mine. He was four years old when he moved to my city. The services that we provide to most autistic four year old children is five days per week for 2 3/4 hours a day (obviously specifics depend on their individual needs). The same amount of school that we provide for four year old children in regular education. This child also qualified for 1 to 1 speech therapy four days per week (30 minutes each) plus group speech therapy (30 minutes) one day per week. He was verbal but other children used PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), some used a wide variety of different AT devices (Assistive Technology) and some we were trying out what worked best.

My student also qualified for 1 to 1 physical therapy twice per week and 1 to 1 occupational therapy twice per week (each 30 minutes in length). He was in a special education classroom with a teacher and an aide plus four other children, plus some inclusion each day in Junior Kindergarten. Sounds like a pretty nice program doesn't it? Almost every parent in my classroom over the years was very, very happy with the services that their Early Childhood level special education child received.

Well, his parents were irate! They were furious that our public school did not provide intensive in home autism therapy seven days per week. They went to the school board to demand 6 to 8 hours per day, seven days per week, of 1 to 1 autism therapy/education in their home and were denied.

So they went on a waiting list for private services paid by the state. Depending on a wide variety of circumstances, age of child, where you live, degree of autism, your insurance, special grants, etc. the wait is usually 2 or 3 years. So after, a wait of 2 1/2 years this student started to receive up to 60 hours per week of in home autism therapy. The parents were very happy. Now sometimes the child was too tired to wake up to go to 1st /2nd/3rd grade but they just kept him home because "school wasn't important" they felt that the private autism therapy was what was really helping him.

This child made amazing improvement. Why? No one will ever know. Was it because of his wonderful EC teacher? His other great special education teachers? The OT, PT & speech therapy in the public school? Three years of intensive in home therapy? The parenting classes that his parents went to for several years? His supportive extended family? The numerous medications he is now taking? The possibility that he was originally misdiagnosed and wasn't really autistic but had severe behavior problems? Most likely his dramatic improvement was due to a combination of several, or all, of those factors.

If you are a parent of a recently diagnosed child or if you suspect that your child may have special needs please remember that the federal law provides for a Free Appropriate Public Education for children with special needs. States may differ on exact ages, many states are three to 21, but some start at birth.

Parents please don't think that the only way that your child can learn and grow are with those special private or state funded programs that often have a waiting list of 2 to 5 years. Give your public schools a fair chance to prove that they work as well.

Thank you for reading my comments/vent.

Last edited by germaine2626; 11-16-2013 at 02:51 PM..
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Old 11-16-2013, 05:10 PM
 
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The wait list i worry about is not for private services. In Texas we have a 13 year waiting list for anything like respite or any kind of public services for cognitively disabled kids and adults. My sons go toTexas public schools. Probably okay for moderately autistic kids, but no great shakes for severe to profound autism and MR. But I assume you are talking about people who can afford private school?
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Old 11-16-2013, 05:12 PM
 
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Wisconsin sounds as if it has amazing services!
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
18,824 posts, read 19,758,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbgmom View Post
The wait list i worry about is not for private services. In Texas we have a 13 year waiting list for anything like respite or any kind of public services for cognitively disabled kids and adults. My sons go toTexas public schools. Probably okay for moderately autistic kids, but no great shakes for severe to profound autism and MR. But I assume you are talking about people who can afford private school?
No, I was referring to a typical Early Childhood Special Education Classroom in a typical public school. Sometimes, the class sizes are larger and sometimes there are more aides, but that varies from year to year and the needs of the individual students.

Actually, the public school services for students with severe to profound autism and MR are equally good in my area. However, I am not very familiar with non-school services like respite care or services for adults over school age (past the school year that they turn 21).

Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
I just want to point out to parents please don't panic. Although it varies from place to place many public school programs are actually quite good. ...

For my example I'm thinking of a former student of mine. He was four years old when he moved to my city. The services that we provide to most autistic four year old children is five days per week for 2 3/4 hours a day (obviously specifics depend on their individual needs). The same amount of school that we provide for four year old children in regular education. This child also qualified for 1 to 1 speech therapy four days per week (30 minutes each) plus group speech therapy (30 minutes) one day per week. He was verbal but other children used PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), some used a wide variety of different AT devices (Assistive Technology) and some we were trying out what worked best.

My student also qualified for 1 to 1 physical therapy twice per week and 1 to 1 occupational therapy twice per week (each 30 minutes in length). He was in a special education classroom with a teacher and an aide plus four other children, plus some inclusion each day in Junior Kindergarten. Sounds like a pretty nice program doesn't it? Almost every parent in my classroom over the years was very, very happy with the services that their Early Childhood level special education child received.

... Give your public schools a fair chance to prove that they work as well.

Thank you for reading my comments/vent.
The classroom that I was talking about was in a public school. So, of course, the classroom education, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy was free to the parent. If he had needed and received assistive technology/AT devices that would have been free as well.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:05 PM
 
3,072 posts, read 4,562,170 times
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Yeah it's just the whole critical period thing that we fear, which is why so many are upset
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:50 PM
 
16,703 posts, read 19,300,881 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aliss2 View Post
Yeah it's just the whole critical period thing that we fear, which is why so many are upset
Please do not believe that children who are older will not improve. My grandson was non-verbal when dxed and pre-verbal when he was 5. He is currently 9 and has improved tremendously and we have real conversations with him though his articulation is still problematic. Adding that his public school teachers have been absolutely fantastic.

Many autistic children improve dramatically (even when they are non-verbal) if they are given a way to communicate. This can be PECS, sign language, a computer device or iPad, etc. Jeremy Sicile-Kira was given his device at 18. He graduated from high school and even gave a speech using power point and a voice computer. His mom tried all sorts of things with him when he was younger.

MTV is usually not my cup of tea, but this episode of true life featured three autistic teens and Jeremy was one of them.
I Have Autism | True Life | Full Episode Video | MTV

This was Jeremy's commencement speech.


Autism: Transition to Adulthood: Jeremy Sicile-Kira's High School Commencement Speech - YouTube
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