Saturday, September 17, 2011

When the experts are wrong!

When my son was in Pre school we went to an ARD with all of his school therapists, psychologists and teachers and the principal.  The results of his IQ test were above average which we had always felt would be the case but it was good to hear again.

We set about discussing speech therapy, no big changes from what I had expected.  He was receiving ST and OT full time at home as well.

Then the OT spoke...  she said he would not be receiving services because he did not need help with anything.  Given that I was fully active in his full time OT at home, I knew this was wrong and asked "What about writing?  He has poor proprioception and can't make a mark on paper?"

The OT's reply was that he did not need to know how to write.  Because he has autism, he would likely be given a type pad to use instead when he got older.

I went nuclear.  Of course he needs to write!  He is fully capable of writing (not every child with autism is able to, but many are and he is one of those many).  Is it laziness or money that would be the motive for not wanting to help a child with autism learn to write?

Her next comment did it for me....  "Because of his problems he will never  have a chance to be an A student, the best we can expect are C's and D's-  that would require a lot of work for the type of results we would see."

Needless to say, we filed complaints and wrote nasty grams to the school board and he did end up getting OT through the school with a different therapist.

I was still livid when we took him to see his developmentalist soon after.  I mentioned it to him.  THE DOCTOR concurred that we would never see any type of academic achievements and that he would not be held to the same standards.

Here we are three years later.  My son is in second grade in a much better school where they DO hold him to the same academic standards.  He is in an advanced reading group, there is nothing he can't spell!  He is really good at math and science as well!

He once again brought home a report card with straight A's.

So yes, I wanted to brag a little bit, but also want people to think ... how many kids with autism may not be doing well in school because of their challenges, and how many of the kids with autism are not doing well in school because the experts have lowered the bar so far and given up on them?

We push him hard to do his best, we use every thing we can to help him succeed.  I expect more from him because of his autism and he will prove to the world that no expert gets to dictate his future.

So yes, there is still the possibility that in the future his grades will decline, but clearly teaching him to write was NOT a waste of time and if his progress halted here, he would still have enough academic skills to work somewhere and fill out forms.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Preparing for Halloween

I have started writing lots of Halloween Articles some are regular Halloween articles (cool costumes for pets, costumes for kids, decorating, recipes, scaring people etc).

SOME of them are special Halloween Articles for families of little kids with autism.  The first one I wrote I have been particularly proud of because I liked how it came out.

Tips for Trick or Treating With A Child Who Has Autism

I liked the article, but it got pretty much NO traffic and I was not really surprised- it is a very niche topic and most of the other writers there do not have a child with autism- I wasn't upset by it by any means, I hadn't expected much traffic because it is such a niche topic and I am just learning how to use keywords.

So today when I woke up I saw that it had been awarded the coveted "Lens of the Day"!!!  I was shocked and delighted!  About an hour later.... it had 180 visits, just today!  Now as I am typing this it is up to 275 visits today!  I can't believe it!

Anyway, the reason I am so excited is that I am pretty sure that it will help some families of kids with autism prepare their child for Halloween.  Kids with autism usually take things so literally that seeing all of the creepy decorations and costumes can really be terrifying as the child has difficulty understanding that this is fun.

More and more parents of little kids with autism are finding themselves so overwhelmed with fears about the rude comments from strangers, their child's difficult behavior and concern over sensory needs that they wind up keeping the child away from anything that might trigger an issue.  While this does prevent a meltdown, it not only deprives them of any type of fun but it prevents them from facing their challenges and growing beyond their current capabilities.

It can be terrifying, thinking of taking an extremely sensory or behavioral child trick or treating for the first time, but usually there is not as much to worry about as you had thought and careful preparation is good for both you and the child- you will have a better idea of what may or may not be difficult for them to cope with!

Hopefully, anyone who is giving out candy and sees a child having difficulty coping will remember the article and help by temporarily turning off strobes or animated monsters etc and help to make it a Happy and Fun night for everyone!

Social Stories and lots of practice being around costumes and props (trips to the store to explore these things in the daylight) can really help a child with autism cope and have FUN!

If you are having any doubts about trying this tradition with your child, why not practice a bit, get a special education teacher or therapist involved and see how you feel after some practice?

Trick or Treat Autism Button button
Trick or Treat Autism Button by Sidther
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I am trying to write a total of fifteen Halloween Articles because I do love it so much, so far I have 11!

My son and I had a great time making the Halloween cookies and hopefully we will have time to make a full sized Papier Mache Fluffy (the three Headed dog from Harry Potter) before Halloween although it might be a close call for this year- either way we can make it, write about it and store it for next year.

Animated Halloween Decorations
There are a few special animated Halloween decorations that can really create the best centerpiece for your haunted house or yard!

Batman Costumes for Boys
With so many Batman Dark Knight, DC Classic and Brave and the Bold costumes to choose from, it can be hard to find the perfect one for your boy at a reasonable price.

Cool Halloween Party Supplies
Make sure that your Halloween party is memorable and exciting! Learn what subtle and cheap (even free) details can really give your party that extra little something special.

How to Create a Scary Halloween Display
Get scary! Whether you use every decoration you can find or just want to use tricks to enhance the ones you have everything you need to know is here

Cool Halloween Pet Costumes
Don't forget Fluffy! Whether you have a cat or a 150 lb dog, there are lots of great pet halloween costumes to choose from!

Affordable Super Hero Costumes
Looking for a superhero costume like the Green Lantern, Captain America, Superman, Batman or Spiderman? Here are some great ones with great deals from Amazon!

Free Printable Halloween Coloring Pages
Coloring pages are good- free ones are better! Come check out some free printable coloring pages to get your little ghost or ghoul in the spirit!

Princess Halloween Costumes for Girls
Which Princess does your little girl want to be this year? Many, many choices of Princess costumes are available

Star Wars Halloween Costumes for the Whole Family
Star Wars fans, this Halloween costume (or, just for fun) page is for you! Vote on the best characters and share your Star Wars Knowledge!

Have a Harry Halloween
Harry Potter, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore, Mc Gonagall, Dementors, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Death Eaters, Bellatrix Costumes for die hard Harry Potter Fans!