Sunday, September 25, 2011

eSpecially Parents September Edition: Paula's Story

School has been nothing but a bad experience for us.  You have teachers that have no idea how to work with a child with autism, (although it's supposed to be an autism class).  Most aides that are in the class don't have much of a clue either and most have very minimal training in how to address the behaviors and teach. 

We've experienced school for Tye in 3 different states, FL, NY and NC.  It's been awful in all those states.  In NY, they did offer more services, which I had to fight to get with a Special Ed lawyer's help.  He did get really good after school services, like ABA and a behavioral consultant plus additional ST and OT. 

Other children in the same school district didn't receive the same level of services because school districts don't give anything without a fight.  The public school system in NY was very poor.  If there were openings in the private school setting the district would have sent him there, but of course there were no openings.  At least he got the after school services where he was able to learn because the people were actually qualified and new what they were doing.

I've found that in order to get your child the education they should have and deserve you can't get it without constantly being on top of things and learning how to work with your child yourself. When Tye was first diagnosed with autism when he was 2, we spent $35,000 in one year, to have him do ABA therapy with staff that were extremely knowledgeable.  I was also trained in how to teach him myself to try to keep costs down and to help Tye.

He's 15 years old now.  It gets so tiring and frustrating to always have to be on top of school and trying to be sure he is well taken care of.  He's learned nothing at all in the public school setting.  So sad, but true.  He's only been able to learn when he was home schooled when he was younger and the after school services in NY. 

My husband and I despise the school he goes to.  We always hope for staff that know what they are doing and are capable of teaching him.  In NC they have to teach according to grade level regardless of the child's level of understanding.  He's in 10th grade learning about 10th grade material.  He can't read, write, do math and has major issues with communication.  I don't know why they can't teach him things that are relevant to him, functional skills, independent skills, leisure skills, social skills, etc, etc. 

If we could afford to home school him we would in a heartbeat.  He has so much more potential than what they are pushing him towards.  IEP goals are only worked on for a very short time in the day since they have to teach the grade level academics first. 

If only we had enough money to get him the level of qualified people working with him teaching him things he really needs to know in life.  Not about the layers of the earth or about paramecium's or other irrelevant material. 

First time reader for Especially Parents Series? Catch up here.

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