Friday, April 10, 2009

Autism Awareness - Part Three


The following is the final piece in the series in honor of Autism Awareness month written by AutumnMommy-Laura. Thank you, Laura, for sharing your story with us. If anyone would like more information on Autism and how you can help, visit Autism Speaks.


Now What Happens


We had a diagnosis of Asperger's but now what. We called area autism organizations and often they had many programs for autism but not much for Asperger's. When I found programs for Asperger's it was for older children. I sent the diagnosis to his school and felt like they also didn't know what to do.


He was having trouble in school. He didn't like any change in school or home for that matter. I tried walking a different way home a few times and he would get upset. I finally got a meeting with the school and was told "He is too smart for special ed." Okay I wanted him in a regular classroom anyway.


But still I knew he needed something more. I thought that a plan was put in place for him at school. It seemed to be helping. I should have paid more attention to what it was called, a handshake plan. Nothing was in writing. He was in kindergarten and it seemed to be working so I went with it.


This year we find out that he is overwhelmed with sensory issues. Too much noise or visual stimuli can make him act out. Gym, lunch, or any class he needs to leave the classroom for would be a trigger for his poor behavior. Our handshake plan wasn't working anymore. Then I find out that his school is closing. He starts acting out more and what I thought was a 504 isn't one. There is nothing in writing.


A 504 allows for special accommodations be made for him to be able to get his education. He was moving to a new school and would move at least one more time it seems before middle school. I fought for him to get accommodations in writing. Today I got a 504 for him, coincidently during Autism Awareness Month.


My son, my nephew, cousins and most children on the “spectrum of autism” look like any other child their age, some days they might act like most children their age. Other times people turn and stare and think, "That poor mother has such a misbehaved child.” or something similar. Each one has their own unique story to be told. It’s up to each one of us to pay attention to that story.


Our children “on the autism spectrum” need your understanding, acceptance and support like any other child. They need it this month and next month and so on. Autism Awareness Month should be every month and is for my family and other's like mine.