Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Graduating From The Clutches Of Autism

Graduating From The Clutches Of Autism

Today is a very special day for me. A day worthy of celebration, a day I have waited on for a very long time.

My son, Chad, had his annual IEP meeting at school today. We were to determine whether he still meets criteria for special education, and if so, update his annual IEP.

Before I tell you the good news, I suppose I should share some of the background to make this more understood. Chad has autism. He was diagnosed at 15 months and was nonverbal until between 4-5 years old. Chad was pretty severe in his earlier days, but made significant progress with much biomedical, therapeutic, dietary and educational intervention.

Chad got to a place where he became indistinguishable from his peers, and somehow in the last 2 years, we started moving backwards, or maybe just standing still. Academics became more of a problem and he started falling behind. His ADHD/hyperactivity was ramping up a good bit and focus & attention were a struggle.

I had to change my bio, which once had said my son was recovered, to correctly reflect his current situation. Now, having said that, he would NEVER in a million years meet any criteria for an autism diagnosis at this juncture, but definitely an ADHD diagnosis. His gut related autism problems were gone, his language issues were gone, his social/emotional was very slightly behind, but he was in regular classes and was no longer pulled out for special education services.

I started getting worried, as to be honest with you all, I just flat shut down over the last 5 months and kind of let things fall through the cracks. I wasn't doing homework like I needed to with Chad. I was depressed, overwhelmed, and just going to bed when I came home from work. Not acceptable, I know, but it happens. Well, finally started addressing some of my health issues, am beginning to feel much better, and am starting to get back on the right track again.

I help Chad back in the 2nd grade because of emotional/social issues, thinking he needed that extra year to catch up, which I still maintain was the best decision I ever made. He's a year older than his peers in the 4th grade now, but it's still a good fit. So, with all of this in the back of my mind, I was STUNNED to hear what the IEP team shared with me today.

They looked at qualifications, and other than the fact he had an autism diagnosis on paper, he would not have qualified for ANY special education services. When looking at his testing scores academically, hew as at or above grade level in all areas other than math, and just a slight bit behind. Not even enough to qualify him for services, outside his diagnosis still being autism.

The next sentence STUNNED me. The team said that Chad has done so well socially, emotionally and academically, they think he needs to go to 6th grade next year, instead of 5th! WHAT? HOLY COW! I was expecting to get railed for him being behind because of my lack of involvement so far this school year, and to my surprise, he blew me away!

They said what made this all the more incredible, was that since I had not been helping him at home, he has done all of this on his own, without mom prodding and constantly poking to move forward. They also told me that Chad is reading at every opportunity he gets. That is work sometimes gets sloppy because he knows if he finishes early, he can go read and he can't wait to get his hands on the chapter books at school. Chad has never liked to read and this just astonished me!

All I can tell you is that today, I am one happy mommy! As a parent of 2 children with ASD's, we long to hear these things about our children from others besides ourselves and those in our immediate environment. We crave hearing good reports, in hopes of confirming what we wish for our children. Not everyone has that luxury and I am all too aware of that, which makes me that much more thankful for the news I received today.

I doubt I will allow him to go to 6th grade next year, as the whole public middle school thing is very hard on our kids and I still don't think he's read for that socially. However, just knowing that others do has me beaming from ear to ear right now!

Come celebrate with me! My Chad is graduating from the clutches of autism!

Now, let's help everyone else's kids do the same!

Laura :)

2 comments:

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  2. Hello Pamella!

    Thank you for your comment and I'm glad you found the post helpful! We hope to be able to continue providing great material that will benefit anyone struggling with issues involving Autism Spectrum Disorders. Feel free to subscribe and check back often!

    Best wishes to you and yours in 2011!

    Laura :)

    ReplyDelete