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.

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