Get Support When You Need It
Life with a young child with autism can be overwhelming. So it’s important to take breaks and ask for help when you need it. This may be hard to do at first, but it will allow you to devote more time and energy to your family.
So, ask a family member for help with things like laundry or meal planning. Trade off with your partner watching your child so that each of you can get much-needed “me time.” Hire a sitter who feels comfortable caring for your child or consider respite care so that you can go out for a night.
Taking time for yourself can help you recharge. You’ll come back to your child ready for fun, love, and all that parenthood has to offer.
What Is Least Restrictive Environment
As specified in the IDEA, your child is also entitled to experience the least restrictive environment. This means that your child should be placed in the environment in which he or she has the greatest possible opportunity to interact with children who do not have a disability and to participate in the general education curriculum. This is commonly referred to as mainstreaming or inclusion.
In the general education setting, providing the least restrictive environment can sometimes be accomplished with accommodations, such as using a one-on-one aide who is trained to work with children with autism.
While it may be true that seeking the least restrictive environment is beneficial for children with autism, it’s important to consider whether or not an option such as inclusion is right for your child. It may or may not be more appropriate for your child to be placed in a special education program, in a school for children with special needs, or in a home instruction program.
Staff Experience And Understanding
When visiting the school, try to meet with teachers and support staff to discuss your childs needs. Through this you can gauge:;;
- the depth of the school staffs knowledge of autism together with what resources and strategies they will use to help your child;
- what access there will be to other professionals, such as therapists;
- how they will meet any health and care needs of your child;;;
- whether;staff would be able to support any routines, special interests, anxieties, sensory or;dietary needs;your child may have.;
Its important to ask about communication between staff and how they work with parents.; What is their approach to home-school communication and collaboration?;
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Pros And Cons Of A Home Setting
Pros:A home setting can be ideal for autistic preschoolers. It provides a safe and secure setting that is personalized to your child’s needs, and it can be a convenient setting for the intensive therapy that’s so often recommended. Sensory input can be controlled, and expectations remain consistent throughout the day. Some therapists feel that the familiarity of home is conducive to learning;and that parents are the best therapists. Still, others feel that there are no better options.
Developmental and play therapies, such as RDI, Floortime, and Sonrise;are generally given by parents in a natural setting. Specialized preschools and clinics may not even offer these programs. If you are providing a developmental therapy, then the home may be your best or only option.
In most communities the stay-at-home parent need not go it alone; school districts and/or regional autism agencies offer a good deal of support as well as itinerant therapists, and autism support groups are great sources for playdates and other community opportunities. A great way to start accessing these options is to contact your local autism agency for early intervention services;and to connect with local support groups to meet other parents or caregivers like you.
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
ASD is most often a life-long condition. Both children and adults with autism benefit from behavioral interventions or therapies that can teach new skills to address the core deficits of autism and to reduce the core symptoms. Every child and adult with autism is unique. For this reason, the treatment plan is individualized to meet specific needs. It is best to begin interventions as soon as possible, so the benefits of therapy can continue on throughout the course of life.
Many people with ASD often have additional medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal and feeding issues, seizures and sleep disturbances. Treatment can involve behavioral therapy, medications or both.
Early intensive behavioral treatments involves the entire family and possibly a team of professionals. As your child ages and develops, treatment may be modified to cater to their specific needs.
During adolescence, children benefit from transition services that promote skills of independence essential in adulthood. The focus at that point is on employment opportunities and job skill training.
Look For Support At School
Many kids with autism spectrum disorder are diagnosed by age 3 and receive early intervention services. When they turn 3, they’re eligible for additional services at their local school district with the help of an individualized education program .
The IEP may include therapy for speech/language, behavior, or sensory concerns. In school, kids might get extra support through a classroom aide or during a “lunch bunch” or social skills group.
Parents meet with an IEP team to determine a child’s needs. While you can’t insist on certain services, you can appeal the IEP if you feel that the plan doesn’t meet your child’s needs. The IEP is reviewed and updated each year, but you can ask for updates before that to make sure your child is meeting goals.
Not all kids with autism need an IEP. Those who do not qualify for an IEP can get educational assistance through a 504 education plan, which provides for accommodations in a regular classroom that improve a child’s learning experience.
Questions To Help You Decide On Primary Schools For Autistic Children
Here are some questions that can help you work out whether schools are likely to meet your childs needs. These questions can also help you get a sense of whether you and your child will feel accepted and supported at the school.
- How does the school develop individual learning plans for children with additional needs? Can we see some examples?
- How is childrens progress evaluated? How do school programs adapt to childrens changing needs?
- Are school staff trained to support the learning and development of autistic children, or are they willing to have training?
- How does the school encourage and support social interaction generally? How does it encourage typically developing children and children with additional needs to interact?
- How will my child be included in school camps, excursions and extracurricular activities like music or sports?
- Does the school organise structured activities for children at lunch and other breaks?
- Where can children go if they need quiet time?
Wellbeing and development
- What evidence-based practices does the school use to support autistic childrens learning, behaviour, communication, social interactions and so on?
- Will my child have the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths? How?
- Will my child have a targeted resilience program to support their emotional health and wellbeing?
- Does the school have access to specialist services like psychology, speech therapy and occupational therapy?
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How Does Autism Affect Learning In School
Around 70% of children with autism spectrum disorders in the UK attend mainstream primary schools. The problem is that many mainstream schools are unequipped to provide the support that autistic children need. In fact, according to the National Autism Society and Ambitious About Autism, 60% of teachers in England do not feel that theyve received adequate training to teach children with autism.
A poor classroom environment for autism can hugely disadvantage children with the condition. Most notably, it can cause them difficulty with engaging in learning activities and coping with daily life. Whats more is that these issues can have a lasting impact on them.
This is why, as a teacher, its crucial for you to be aware of the educational implications of autism and how to adopt effective autism teaching methods. By integrating suitable autism learning styles and alleviating any discomfort in the classroom, you will enable autistic children to take part in learning more comfortably and become better prepared for their future.
Establish A Routine With Them
The world is often a confusing and anxiety-inducing place for autistic children. This is why they find great comfort in a predictable and stable routine. Fortunately, the structured nature of school is perfect for this, but you need to find a way to make their daily routine clear to them.
Creating a visual timetable is an effective and widely-used method for doing so. This involves placing images and simple words on a timetable, in chronological order, to describe the activities and transitions in the childs day. Having this visual aid gives the child a sense of security, while also acting as a reminder for those who support them.
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How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosed
There are no laboratory tests to determine ASD. However, certain healthcare providers receive specific training and can do screenings and evaluations if needed and who might ask parents or teachers to record observations. These providers might include specialized physicians, psychologists and speech-language pathologists.
How To Identify Children With Autism
Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in early childhood. Autism is the most common condition in a related constellation of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders, also called ASDs. Other autism spectrum disorders include Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder, or PDD. Autism and other autism spectrum disorders can be difficult to diagnose, because the symptoms and degree of impairment — ranging from mild to severe — are different for every child.
Some features of autism include:
- Social withdrawal
- Verbal or nonverbal communication problems
- Rigid and repetitive behavior
In severe cases, an autistic child may never learn to speak or make eye contact. But many children with autism and other autism spectrum disorders are able to live relatively normal lives.
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How Is Autism Treated
There is no cure for ASD. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can substantially improve those symptoms. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of the individual. Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
Educational/behavioral interventions: Early behavioral/educational interventions have been very successful in many children with ASD. In these interventions therapists use highly structured and intensive skill-oriented training sessions to help children develop social and language skills, such as applied behavioral analysis, which encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative ones. In addition, family counseling for the parents and siblings of children with ASD often helps families cope with the particular challenges of living with a child with ASD.
Find Out About Health Coverage
Therapy to help with the symptoms of autism can help kids thrive, but not all are covered by insurance. Coverage depends on your state; and it’s not always easy to figure out.
Here are ways to learn what is covered:
- Talk to a social worker on your care team to learn about special programs available to your child.
- Search online for tools that take the guesswork out of health coverage. Some national autism organizations provide helpful quizzes and other tools to learn what’s covered in your state or health care plan.
If you don’t have insurance, your state’s CHIP or Medicaid programs may offer coverage to your child. Medicaid also may be able to offer extra coverage if your health insurance doesn’t cover all expenses. Coverage is based on your child’s disability and need, not on your family’s income.
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Do Autistic Kids Fare Better In Integrated Or Specialized Schools
The federal law that governs special education lays out the goals pretty clearly: Students are entitled to an appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
But some parents of children with autism feel their local public schools aren’t meeting their kids’ needs. And with autism diagnoses rising, new schools are emerging specifically for autistic children.
Some parents see these specialized schools as a godsend. For others, they raise a new set of questions.
Carson Ellis’ son, Hank, is autistic. He spent kindergarten in a special education classroom at his local public school in Portland, Ore. But Ellis says that while school administrators said it was inclusive, she found the special education classroom was quite segregated.
“We went on a field trip, and there were name tags for all the kids, but no name tags for the special ed kids,” Ellis remembers. “And another time we went to some kind of art studio, and they had art supply packets, but they had forgotten to get enough for the special ed kids. So it was stuff like that.”
Ellis says the teacher herself was very kind and caring, but that given the school’s overall attitude and resources, Hank wasn’t really a part of things. And when it came to an appropriate curriculum? Ellis says that at the age of 5, her son was reading at an eighth-grade level.
Autism Programs In Public Schools
Can children with autism attend regular school? Of course they can, but it is important to have accommodations in place that support the special learning needs of a child on the spectrum. While education is obviously the chief goal of any school, a childs social, behavioral, and health needs must be taken into account as well.
Even accommodations that prove helpful for one child, though, may not be appropriate for another. Thats where Individualized Education Plans come in. The IEP is a written document outlining how to tailor an educational program to a child with special needs. It is usually created as a cooperative effort between parents, teachers, and educational specialists. By law, schools must create individualized educational programs for every child with autism.
Depending on where the student with autism is on the spectrum, the amount of mainstream classroom time he/she receives may vary. Some may be assigned part-time to a traditional classroom and part-time to a special needs classroom. Some may be assigned full time to a traditional classroom with a support, or a shadow . Others may be assigned full time to a special needs setting.
Pros of Public School for Children with Autism
Cons of Public School for Children with Autism
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Grooming And Personal Hygiene
Some teens may need reminders to shower and shave. They may not understand the importance of grooming to social acceptance, or they may have less social motivation to smell and look clean. “They may be rejected because of poor personal hygiene but may not connect one to the other, or they may not have the skills to address the issue,” Dr. Keefer said.
Ms. Sicile-Kira recommends doing detective work to determine why your teen is shower-averse. Does he understand the importance and mechanics of good hygiene? Is the problem sensory? Suppose he hates the sensation of water pounding on his body from a shower head. If that’s the case, she said, “Give him a plastic cup to pour water on his head, so he has control over the flow of water.”
Even with good hygiene, adolescence can be a time of frustration or uncertainty for almost anyone. The social world with its cliques and pecking order becomes decidedly more complex during high school. Factor in dating, with its own set of unwritten rules, and students with ASD may feel adrift.
Problems with social and communication skills can leave them particularly vulnerable to bullying. IAN research shows that children with ASD are bullied at a much higher rate than their unaffected siblings, and that bullying spikes from fifth to eighth grades for them.13
Accommodations For Aspergers At School
Schools are getting better at providing services for children diagnosed with autism. Many schools offer pragmatic language therapy, which helps a child learn the basics of social interaction. Look for friendship groups or a lunch bunch. Parents should make sure that social skills accommodations are part of their childs individualized education program .
Many autistic children can lead independent lives; parents and professionals can help parents and professionals can work together to help children advocate for themselves as they approach adulthood.
Eileen Costello, M. D., is a member of the ADDitude;ADHD Medical Review Panel.
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What Is The Difference Between Autism And Autism Spectrum Disorder
The term autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association. ASD is now an umbrella term that covers the following conditions:
- Autistic disorder.
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .
- Asperger syndrome.
People with ASD have trouble with social interactions and with interpreting and using non-verbal and verbal communication in social contexts. Individuals with ASD may also have the following difficulties:
- Inflexible interests.
- Insistence on sameness in environment or routine.
- Repetitive motor and sensory behaviors, like flapping arms or rocking.
- Increased or decreased reactions to sensory stimuli.
How well someone with ASD can function in day-to-day life depends on the severity of their symptoms. Given that autism varies widely in severity and everyday impairment, the symptoms of some people arent always easily recognized.
How To Get Extra Support
The whole process can take a few months. Ask the school what support they can offer while it’s happening.
If you do not agree with the council’s decision
The council may decide your child does not need an EHC assessment or plan. If this happens, they should tell you why.
If you do not agree with their decision, you have the right to appeal.
You’ll be told how to do this when you hear from the council.
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