Thursday, July 7, 2016

Autism Awareness Month Post 3!

This post is about Atticus’s school years (so far!) Like most moms, the idea of finding the right school for my son was very stressful. My child has almost no fine motor skills and can not sit, things that don’t work well in a traditional classroom especially if the teacher is over stressed or not flexible. But God is always working! We attend a public charter school here in Dallas that is amazing. Each of Atticus’s 3 teachers have loved him and accepted him as who he is. And he really loves them! They have challenged him, but not pushed him to frustration (which is a skill!) They are more patient then I am most of the time! In kinder his teacher had a special seat for him to sit on in carpet time to help him focus. She would have her aid next to him if she knew a fire drill was going to go off to help him with the loud noise. All this and more with NO IEP (individual education plan, a document that gives children rights and things that the teachers have to do for that child to help them learn the best they can). In first grade when I met with his teacher I brought up getting an iep for his handwriting, which I knew was still almost impossible to read. She agreed and quickly mentioned she had been documenting his work. That got the ball started. A few months later at the end of 1st grade he was officially diagnosed as ADHD by his pediatrician. By the next fall he was officially diagnosed as ASD level 2. Now I should mentioned… I did not want him labeled hyperactive at first. I knew it was true, and anyone around him did, but I didn’t want that to be all they saw when they looked at him. But at a good school, a label is NOT a restriction but freedom! Now my child had it written down on paper that he would get extra time to finish stuff, a schedule on his desk to organize him, and eye contact to ensure that he understood what was being said. They also take him out most days for a 10 minute activity break! He also has speech for communication skills, OT for building up muscles for fine motor skills, and he can take brain breaks in the classroom. And his chair is a bean bag chair, which helps him build core and avoid the wiggles. We did try ADHD meds for a few months, but as with many Autistic children they caused more mental stress then help at the end of the day. And his school was completely supportive of us not doing meds. A wonderful supportive school has been one of the biggest blessings God has given us on this journey!

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