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  #1  
Old 09-12-17, 10:37 AM
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I feel like there is no school for my child

Hi, I am new to the board and at a lost on what to do. My son is entering 1st grade and was diagnosed with ASD when he was 2 and has been receiving services since. He is high functioning and cognitively pretty advanced (taught himself to read at 3). He started K last year in public and received services in a gen ed class, as well as a 1:1 aide. However thru the course of the year he started developing a lot of aggression. The teachers told us it was because the work was too hard for him. However in all his exams he scored well above average. So he didn't have any issues learning. We were told he was very impulsive. Towards the end of the year he expressed how he hated taking forced breaks, hated his sticker reward system and hated that he had an aide on his side the whole time. He knew he was different than the other children (he was the only child with an aide in K). He can be socially awkward around new friends or a big group of people which makes him stim. He babbles and may start talking about things that do not make sense. But once he is comfortable, he is on board.

We went to 2 bday parties from his classmates towards the end of the year and saw how every child in the class excluded him. There were children that wanted to be with him but there was one boy in particular that made sure none of the kids went to go play with him. We can see how much anxiety that caused him and the stimming would begin again.

So after K was over we gathered that perhaps he was not being academically challenged (he is reading chapter books and the teacher is teaching sight words), the aide crowded him by constantly being by his side, and the kids isolated him. And thought maybe it is not the right environment.

During the summer he was in camp, went on field trips etc and was the happy son we knew again. There were no aggression issues. The camp counselors would come tell me how much they loved him. He was respectful to everyone and such a pleasure to have. We had playdates and he did great. Engaged, socialized and played.

Now back to school. We decided to enroll him in Montessori. We thought that the environment would be a better fit since it is all individual learning. He may not get bored because he can be given more. He is around older kids, which he seems to enjoy. And its a new environment.

Well after 3 days of school his teacher called and they are ready to kick him out. He walked in telling the teacher this is boring. He is being disruptive to the other students doing their work by touching their things. The teacher will tell him to start on a project and he says no. He is not being respectful. When she gives a lesson he's fidgeting, not focusing. The teacher is just beyond frustrated... already.

I am just heartbroken on what else I can do for my son. We have an appt today to discuss with his regular pediatrician if we need to start medication. Her initial thoughts was that he was just not being challenged with the school work. And I keep trying to piece things together but can't understand why once it comes to school, it's a whole new person. At home he can sit thru for a long period of time drawing... building legos. I have seen him sit nicely thru library programs listening and learning.

I guess I just wanted to try and avoid medication for as long as possible to see if he can grow out of this. I figured... he's learning, he was his happy normal self come summer, he is usually great at home. But once school is in, he's different. And honestly I am just scared about how he will react to medication.

Sorry for the long rant. Hoping I can just get some insight from people familiar with this and been there.
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Old 09-12-17, 12:25 PM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

We asked every year for five years that the school provide an aide/para for my
ASD granddaughter. They would not. It was a nightmare for her, the teachers,
for us (mom and gramma). Seems so strange to read about a child who didn't
need one so much being given one and resenting it.

So much depends on getting the right teacher and unfortunately we don't get
to try a new one each month until we find the right match. Thankfully after six
years my granddaughter got the best teacher for her and she is committed to
teaching this class as long as possible. This is my granddaughter's fourth year
with this wonderful lady. She's a sophomore now and is able to attend some
inclusion classes without a para. WooHoo!
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Old 09-12-17, 02:01 PM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

My son loved the aide at first. We were also so thankful to know he had an aide and thought it would be the best thing ever. But as the year progressed he resented it because he knew it made him different than everyone else. No one had anyone following him around but him. It could be maybe the aide was not trained correctly? Maybe she was constantly on top of him and just crowded him too much?

But I think you are also right in the sense that a lot of it is dependent on having the right teacher. I can't completely blame the teachers as I am sure it is a hard job teaching a full class and you have a child that is a lot tougher. It can make it very stressful.

In the 4 years that my son has been going to school, we have only experienced one truly great teacher that cared so much for all her children, and that was because her brother was special needs.

I am just not sure now where to bring my son to school next. School has only been in session for 1 week! And we do not want to take him back to his school from last year because of all the anxiety it gave him being excluded.
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Old 09-12-17, 03:30 PM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

This must be a rough time for you. Sorry for that

The behavior followed him, so unfortunately it's likely not going to change based on the school. So I know it's hard but medication with or without some other type of therapy (social skills or something) may be the way to go

Good luck at the doc!
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Old 09-13-17, 08:58 AM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

I know this sounds counter intuitive but from the outside looking in...well maybe he's more developed than his peers in math and reading and that is frustrating him? We don't fully understand ASD, but if my theory is true, imagine being 15 and having to sit in a Kindergarten class for 8 hours a day with a helper because people think you can't get this basic stuff. I'd be ticked and frustrated over time too. I have an 8 year old who is still not very good at reading...you had a 4 year old understanding it.

Can you ask the Montessori school to test him for grade level? He may need to be in 5th grade or something higher. Have you tried offering him "You sit and do well and behave in your classroom and when you get home I'll give you a book to read that 8th graders are reading"...Or extra math sheets or something.

I know it's unlikely but sometimes ASD kids really are above the general population in what they need. They have a whole show coming out on TV this fall called the Good Doctor based on that premise.
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Old 09-13-17, 12:01 PM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

We saw the doc and she wants to give it a few more days to see if he will get adjusted to the new school since it is a transition for him (he just started 1 week ago). Her thoughts were similar to what Caco3girl mentioned. That he is not being challenged when he was in K academically. But yet he has this aide crowding him constantly. In addition he may have anxiety with a new environment and expectations of him.

I spoke with his resource teacher that goes in daily for 40 minutes to work with him and she said he has no issues learning the work. They showed him how to do some addition stuff and he was able to pick it up after 1 or 2 tries. Where the problem occurs is that maybe a Montessori setting is too distracting for him. Big open room with everything out. Everything is new, he wants to touch everything. When she was there she sat with him and completed his lesson but she kept him on task. I guess for now she is going to try and implement a plan to give to the teacher to see if it will help her.

I think at the end of the day, they will most likely kick him out because it is going to be too much work for the teacher.

I don't know where to find a school that can give him what he needs academically (he wants to learn and loves to learn), but a place that will also be able to tolerate his special needs. I'm guessing there is no school really.
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Old 09-15-17, 11:38 AM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

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Originally Posted by rainingblue View Post
We saw the doc and she wants to give it a few more days to see if he will get adjusted to the new school since it is a transition for him (he just started 1 week ago). Her thoughts were similar to what Caco3girl mentioned. That he is not being challenged when he was in K academically. But yet he has this aide crowding him constantly. In addition he may have anxiety with a new environment and expectations of him.

I spoke with his resource teacher that goes in daily for 40 minutes to work with him and she said he has no issues learning the work. They showed him how to do some addition stuff and he was able to pick it up after 1 or 2 tries. Where the problem occurs is that maybe a Montessori setting is too distracting for him. Big open room with everything out. Everything is new, he wants to touch everything. When she was there she sat with him and completed his lesson but she kept him on task. I guess for now she is going to try and implement a plan to give to the teacher to see if it will help her.

I think at the end of the day, they will most likely kick him out because it is going to be too much work for the teacher.

I don't know where to find a school that can give him what he needs academically (he wants to learn and loves to learn), but a place that will also be able to tolerate his special needs. I'm guessing there is no school really.
Have you heard of the Eden institute?

Quote:
Eden is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to improve the lives of children and adults with autism. The organization has over 40 years of clinical experience and success in educating individuals with autism, and training family members, educators, and other professionals in these best practices.

Founded in 1975, Eden began as a small, family-oriented school for individuals with autism. Today, Eden offers an extensive range of services to meet the needs of individuals with autism, and its highly regarded programs have been implemented in schools and other settings across the country. Eden is recognized nationally for providing education and training in autism.

Edenís services include early intervention, individualized education, employment training and placement, and group residences, as well as a comprehensive outreach program that offers expertise and assistance to parents and professionals in the greater autism community.

Eden has been delivering services to children and adults with autism and their families, educators, and other professionals since 1975.
Quote:
Three decades ago, autism was a relatively unknown disorder with an incidence rate of just 1 in 10,000 individuals. Frustrated by the limited amount of input afforded to parents at an existing school and determined to find appropriate services for their children with autism, a group of parents, who would become Edenís founding families, began working with special educator David L. Holmes. In 1975, Eden Institute opened as a day school. As Eden developed, the vision of lifespan services grew and soon Eden established its unique mission Ė to improve the lives of children and adults with autism and their families by providing a range of community-based services to meet specific needs throughout the lifespan. Located in a small rented church basement in Princeton, NJ, Dr. Holmes and the founding families worked hard to ensure that children who attended Eden were provided with the highest quality services available.

Today, one is hard pressed to find anyone who has not heard of autism. The incidence of autism is reported to affect 1 in 68 children and the numbers keep growing. As the rate of autism continues to increase, so do the programs and services provided by Eden.

In 1980, Eden opened its first residential group home and in 1983, Eden established its adult employment program. Edenís early intervention program, Wawa House, named in honor of Wawa, Inc. for its major start-up support of the program, began in 1992.

Itís been many years since Edenís days in the church basement. In 2011, Eden opened its brand new model education and outreach center in the Princeton Forrestal Village, Princeton, NJ. Though much has changed over the years, Edenís goal remains the same Ė to provide a comprehensive spectrum of services designed to enable individuals with autism to lead fulfilling, productive and independent lives in their communities, to the full extent of their abilities.
My sister is on the spectrum. She was diagnosed asbergers by the actual person who discovered it. She benefited from Eden's services. I know they offer things that are not just for the Princeton NJ area. My Dad design and directed their Eden Dreams gala until he died..they raise close to a million dollars each year. I cant link to them as they ask for donations but its Eden institute dot org.
I think the "problem" isnt your son or the teachers..I think its the wrong school. Even if a school is equipped to handle special needs kids I can tell you from experience...ASD kids have their own set of unique needs that usually are overlooked or downplayed or not understood by conventional educators.
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Old 09-15-17, 12:36 PM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

Sarah, I was interested in learning about Eden Institute, even though my
granddaughter is in a better school and class with a wonderful teacher now.

It's actually a dot com, not a dot org. I couldn't find any information on where
their classes are located or which schools are using their program.
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Old 09-15-17, 01:05 PM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

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Sarah, I was interested in learning about Eden Institute, even though my
granddaughter is in a better school and class with a wonderful teacher now.

It's actually a dot com, not a dot org. I couldn't find any information on where
their classes are located or which schools are using their program.
are you sure?
When I google eden institute the very first hit looks like this:
I copied and pasted right from the search results.
Eden Autism Services a resource for information training & support
edenautism.org/
Eden Autism Services expertise includes early intervention, pre-K through 21 education, adult residential & employment programs, support & training.
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Old 09-13-17, 12:56 PM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

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I guess I just wanted to try and avoid medication for as long as possible to see if he can grow out of this. I figured... he's learning, he was his happy normal self come summer, he is usually great at home. But once school is in, he's different. And honestly I am just scared about how he will react to medication.

Sorry for the long rant. Hoping I can just get some insight from people familiar with this and been there.
No parent wants their child to be on medication. But medication for adhd has been thoroughly studied and its effectiveness is spot on in most cases. Its still a hard thing to decide. I am wondering if he is having some sensory issues. Many people assume sensory issues are limited to loud unexpected noises, too many lights, crowds, etc. But some kids have sensory issues where small noises can be irritating or people in their personal space can be almost suffocating. Sometimes feeling "smothered" physically or even emotionally can be hard to bear. Combine all those little annoying things and add to that classroom noise and it can be torture for someone on the spectrum. Plus, routine can be so helpful and the montissorie(sp) environment may be too unstructured for him.
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Old 09-14-17, 09:52 AM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

I have been thinking a bit about that as well... if the Montessori environment is too unstructured, but I don't know where we can find a good fit for him.

Why we considered Montessori was that at home, if he can pick his projects to work on he can sit there for a good half hour or more working on it... whether it is building legos, drawing, reading. But I guess they key thing is that it has to capture his interest. So we thought at Montessori since he has the capability to pick what he wants to work on and they allow more movement, it would help. In kindergarten last year, we felt he was too suffocated. He was reading beyond sight words, was able to do math, but he was forced to sit down and listen to the teacher. My guess is that the aide was probably watching every move and he felt handcuffed and then the aggression started mid year.

I feel like Montessori can feed him what he needs academically, because they can keep giving him what he can learn to whatever he is capable of. But they are not able to tolerate the need to redirect him constantly. If we put him back in public school, he will get the aide to help redirect him, but now he will not be challenged academically and I would like to have him learn as much as he wants and can and not be limited because the class curriculum can't go further.

So we are just at a lost of where we can send him. We don't want to put him back in his school last year (he was so isolated and excluded for being different with the boys). But looks like this school may also not be an option since the teacher doesn't seem to be too familiar with special needs.

It makes me sad when I see teachers approach him that he is the bad child, rather than nurture the special needs he may have.

He have a prescription of Concerta ready and just still deciding when we should pull the trigger and start.
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Old 09-14-17, 01:41 PM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

To me it doesn't sound ADHD, it sounds like he's being a kid. I'm not a doctor, but I do have 2 ADHD kids one of which is in 3rd grade but can hold conversations with adults where she sounds about 25 and yet she can't read.

Oddly enough she went to a Montessori school before Kindergarten so I am familiar with their methods as well. I would guess your son would find the freedom too confusing. They say freedom to do what they want but they don't really mean that, there is still a structure and still specific things they are teaching. If he doesn't want to be taught the way they are trying to teach him AND he's being disruptive I would get him out of there. Montesorri schools are not usually federally funded so they aren't required OR TRAINED to handle special needs kids.

If this were my kid I would have the public school test him for grade level, then get him an IEP that they have to follow since they are federally funded. My 10th grader is in co-taught classes, meaning two teachers. One teaches the other keeps the kids focused on the teacher that is teaching. It's not an aid just for him but it is effective and the material is taught in a more literal way rather than exploring what so and so might have been thinking when they wrote this, or charged that battle field. It has worked VERY well for him
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Old 09-14-17, 02:08 PM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

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To me it doesn't sound ADHD, it sounds like he's being a kid. I'm not a doctor, but I do have 2 ADHD kids one of which is in 3rd grade but can hold conversations with adults where she sounds about 25 and yet she can't read.

Oddly enough she went to a Montessori school before Kindergarten so I am familiar with their methods as well. I would guess your son would find the freedom too confusing. They say freedom to do what they want but they don't really mean that, there is still a structure and still specific things they are teaching. If he doesn't want to be taught the way they are trying to teach him AND he's being disruptive I would get him out of there. Montesorri schools are not usually federally funded so they aren't required OR TRAINED to handle special needs kids.

If this were my kid I would have the public school test him for grade level, then get him an IEP that they have to follow since they are federally funded. My 10th grader is in co-taught classes, meaning two teachers. One teaches the other keeps the kids focused on the teacher that is teaching. It's not an aid just for him but it is effective and the material is taught in a more literal way rather than exploring what so and so might have been thinking when they wrote this, or charged that battle field. It has worked VERY well for him
The OP wrote that her son is diagnosed with ASD ... autism spectrum disorder.

The rest of your post is spot on.
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Old 09-15-17, 08:33 AM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

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The OP wrote that her son is diagnosed with ASD ... autism spectrum disorder.

The rest of your post is spot on.
I assumed it was both ADHD and ASD because of the comment that they were thinking about medicating him with Concerta. Is concerta used for ASD?
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Old 09-15-17, 01:43 PM
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Re: I feel like there is no school for my child

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I assumed it was both ADHD and ASD because of the comment that they were thinking about medicating him with Concerta. Is concerta used for ASD?
Yes, stimulants can reduce hyperactive behaviors in some kids with ASD.
I don't think it's usually the first treatment that doctors recommend, that is
usually something to help mitigate the anxiety.
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