Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Our school district is making me happy
Before we moved here to this new town, my husband and I read as much as we could about it. I read about the school district and read comments from fellow parents of children with autism to get an idea of what we were getting into by moving to this town. I was getting worried at first because I read only negative comments about teachers not knowing how to teach their autistic child, or parents not getting a lot of help with their child. I then came to the conclusion that no matter what I read, or what the parents wrote, it was all about being active in the education of your child, autistic or not. I would never just drop any of my kids off at school and not have communication with the teachers on a constant basis. I can't imagine taking my child with autism to school and just letting the school do "whatever" without my input and direction. I have never just sat on my hands when it comes to Connor.
When school started, I had a lot of communication with his new team. We met for his initial "what are we going to do" meeting before Connor even started school. I needed to know EXACTLY what services they were going to provide and how they were going to do it. Connor needs a para, that is not up for debate. Thankfully, the team agreed without any arguments, but I would have fought for that if I had needed to. He also needs lots of structure and visual cues. He needs a reward system. He needs....
I did a lot of reading and went to a lot of conferences to know exactly what Connor needs and to know what to demand from the school. Parents should not expect anything from anyone when it comes to their children. They are your children! Do the work. Go to the school with your eggs in a basket and know what you need to advocate for your child. Don't ever expect anyone to ever give your child what they need.
My only complaint has been that Connor's para, although a very good personality for him and for autism in general, has no ABA training. At the last meeting, I brought this up again. In response, they suggested that while we were going to be out of town for a whole week, for Connor's para to go and have training done at one of their other schools. They sent her to this school for a whole week to do training and to shadow another para with more experience. Connor's para came back from the week focused and with so many great ABA techniques. I am more excited than I can express. She is now reading social stories to him, using a typical ABA reward chart, and using other techniques shown to work for high functioning children. YAY!
Connor came back from a week away from school and transitioned well back into the class. Good work team, and good job Connor's para!