Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What's New on the Aspie Front?

It's been a long and often frustrating two months learning to navigate the educational system and fulfill the proverbial red tape in order to speed along the ARD process for John. I have had days where I felt overwhelmed and lost in the shuffle and other days where I felt like I had it in control, but most days, I just felt a little bit helpless while waiting for other people to complete their various requirements.

Early on in the process, based on John's outside testing results and the fact that he is extremely high functioning, it seemed that the District was leaning toward placing him on a 504 (medical) plan rather than label him "Special Ed" and assign him an IEP (individualized education plan). I reached out to friends and experts for advice, but ultimately my gut has been telling me that John really has a need for an IEP rather than a 504 plan, but it would be up to the recommendation of the District Psychologist after she evaluated him in the classroom.

After my initial talks with her, it was clear that she did not feel he qualified for SpEd and would most likely recommend him for 504. For MANY reasons, this is not what I felt was best for him, so I have been praying that God would work it out because it was totally out of my hands. I got a call from her yesterday and she informed me that after evaluating John in a the class setting, it was  1.) very apparent that the did have Aspergers and 2.) evident that there WAS a need for specialized education (IEP plan). Praise God!!!! It will ultimately be up to the ARD committee to decide which option the District will endorse for John, but they will weigh heavily on the psychologist's findings and recommendation, so this is a huge victory for John in the process of getting him the right help.

She also mentioned that John clearly needs therapy in several areas, specifically in outside organizational skills (Aspies are typically extraordinarily disorganized) as well as working in groups. Aspies are notoriously bad at figuring out the minutiae involved in group activities ie. figuring out their role, coordinating efforts, and communicating with others in the group. Compromise and interaction with a group of others is counter-intuitive to how an Aspie's brain is wired. It causes panic and great stress when they have to coexist in a group setting and be expected to participate. However, working with others is a life skill that John must develop if he hopes to be a fully-functioning adult. It's hard to force your child into situations that make them overwhelmingly uncomfortable and nervous, but as a parent, I have to remind myself that he must struggle in the short term to survive the long term. It's still hard.

So now, the next step is to schedule the ARD, hopefully in the next couple weeks and then we can finally start getting John some of the intervention he needs to be successful academically and individually. I'll keep you posted!!

Here is a recent pic of John visiting my Grandmother at her nursing home and another of John and me on our summer vacation this year.

No comments: