Why the diagnosis of autism stinks cont.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

First, I want to thank you all for your kind words and great suggestions that you posted in respond to my blog "My heart was broken today (again) or why autism stinks...." My daughter is having better days although all those snow days are making it hard for her. She loves children and the interaction with them..... even when she gets hurt over and over again.

The whole situation is complicated by the fact that she attends special education school. The school has a mixed population. There are students with all different issues from nonverbal to badly-behaving teens, from low-functioning to completely competent students. This is, partly, where the problem lays. Since each student already has some problems to deal with, they are much less willing to accept another child with problems such as my daughter. I don't know if things would be better for her if she was placed at regular school environment. Probably not. Many of the "regular" schools deal with students who tease or bully special needs students.

I believe that the best solution would be to find a school that strictly accepts only children on the autism spectrum and where the staff is fully aware of the social problems such children have to deal with. Unfortunately for us, there is not such a school, at least not in Connecticut. I do keep searching but so far my search came empty.

I know my daughter desires friendships. In many ways she is "typical" like any other child. However, her struggles stem from the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Her therapist is hoping to start a dyad sessions so my DD can spend some time with another "friend." My hope is to resolve this situation sooner than later. Teens are prone to depression, and having to deal with being different and being all alone can only contribute to depression.

Here is to hope!

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    One resource might be Autism Speaks. They have a website and would be a start to find groups that socially meet with "special needs" socially. I don't know about Connecticut, but here in Georgia there are bowling leagues, ice skating, other sports as well as just social situations. Do some research in that direction as well to help your daughter meet some new friends. I read your other blog and found that you do this. Contact people you have met there and set up some other meetings. And yes, you will have to fight for your daughter. If you don't feel her current situation is the best, find out what else is out there. You will have to be strong for her and with the right supports in place, she could go to your local high school. I wish you luck.
    3782 days ago
    I can tell you the most important thing is something you have most likely heard before. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and that you are the ONLY one that makes sure she will get the education she deserves. Students are protected under so many special education laws that you have a lot of power. Unfortunately there are SO many kids out there needing services that you will have to be the one making the waves and demanding things to be done. Go to your district and tell them what you would like to see for your daughter , then see what they say, go above them, ask about a mentor or advocate from the state in which you live. If you feel she is not getting what she needs don't let anyone stop you until you are getting answers. There are so many kids I see at our school that have parents that just let the school make the decisions thinking they know best, and maybe for some that they do, but you obviously are not comfortable with things. Start squeaking and be the voice she doesn't have. You can do it!
    3782 days ago
    hope the programn bring what.did you check up if there is an selfhelp group for peoplem or family memebers with autism in your area or your near?if not i would strongly recomend you do so not only for your daughter but also for you to interact and talk with other parents over the stress,problems etc that can come also need support not just your daughter.hoping all woill come alright in the know where zto find me if you need to talk.
    3782 days ago
    I will pray for a solution for you and DD! HUGS!
    3783 days ago
  • 45IN45
    It sounds as if your daughter is fairly high functioning. The fact that she has a desire for friends is wonderful. I think being integrated into a regular ed class with a 1:1 assistant/aide would be great for her. She'd have wonderful role models for social interaction. In my experience, though it is with elementary children, the "typical" kids are wonderful with the "special" ones. They really look out for them & are understanding & patient and want to involve them in their activities.. Anyway, I hope you can find a better situation for your daughter, or can somehow make the best of the one she's in.
    3783 days ago
    She has to ride 40 miles to school on a bus every day? My twelve year old granddaughter was mainstreamed into regular school with an educational assistant. It was the best thing that could have happened for her. She was lonely at first, but years of watching typically developing children interact has helped her find a circle of best friends. She is off her IEP now, and most of her friends have either ADHD or Asperger tendencies, but they are good kids and will be successful adults.

    I have a little different perspective on this because I am both a doting grandmother and a special ed teacher who taught in self contained classrooms the last 25 years.

    Have you checked out your local school to see what they can offer her? You have federally mandated rights. Maybe there is a way to get her closer to home and in an environment with a mix of typically developing/special needs students.

    Best of Luck. My heart was also breaking when I watched GD develop all the classic signs of autism as a two year old. Suggesting my daughter get her evaluated was one of the hardest things I had to do.
    3783 days ago
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