Friday, September 21, 2012
Could it be Denial?
I pride myself on facing this Autism life head on. We are involved in almost everything in the Autism world, we make teams for the runs and walks, we attend the fundraising dinners, I go to the support groups, I find that we take this life and we embrace it.
So who knew I would feel like I am in a state of denial? That I would attend Owen's IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting and realize that maybe what I think is a great choice for Owen isn't actually the best choice for Owen? When did I, warrior mom, Autism ass kicker start to feel a sense of denial?
The IEP meeting went well, Owen is blessed with a wonderful support team, and the IEP itself was everything I expected. Owen is lacking in Communication skills, BUT they are emerging, he has a lot of Sensory Integration, BUT he is not visual stimming as much as he did last year and it is not effecting his life as school as it once did. He has a hard time focusing and paying attention to the task at hand, and has a difficult time being social with his peers, but that also is emerging way more than last year, by far. I also had to let them know what other agencies Owen is involved in: and right now, just Bethesda, as he was recently discharged from NPCC as he is too old to have a therapy team
:( We will miss that place.
Areas that Owen does exceptionally well in are: Computer/i-Pad (obviously) and his fine motor skills. He is able to use a pencil to write, he writes his name, etc.
As far as Language:
Owen is able to recognize and spell his own name, and is able to recognize all the letters in the ABC's. His communication stills are weak, he uses gestures and one to 3 word responses. He is not beginning to communicate using sentences, 3-4 words, and he still engages in Echolaic speech.
He enjoys doing puzzles, and playing with blocks. He can sort by colours and matching, and rote counts to 30 and recognizes numbers 1-10. He is now beginning to trace numbers and lines all by himself, and is getting much better at gripping a pencil for tasks.
-He responds well to the use of pics: first and then charts and his visual schedule.
-parallel plays (yay!)
-when Owen is anxious, he visual stims and hums, he doesn't like loud noises
-more comfortable with materials like play doh and rice
-uses objects from his transition box to move from one activity to another
-transitioning is sometimes difficult for him; he requires time to calm himself in a quiet area
-good eye contact
-responds well to the use of music to calm
-responds to deep and soft pressure
-requires significant support to follow classroom routine
-is sitting for longer periods of time with his peers
Current Interventions: Classroom Accommodations, LRT/SERT Support, Educational Assistants, In School Team
Not too bad eh? Very accurate. Now let's talk about the future.
Owen is currently in SK, not too many demands are placed on the children at this age, they learn by the curriculum being play based, Owen is doing well in this environment. But what happens next year? Owen is going to be entering Grade 1, more expectations are going to be placed on him, and this wont be a play based curriculum anymore.
So, the Principal, teacher and LRT wanted to discuss the future for Owen at Cherrywood. So, they discussed with me about maybe using their new class for Owen (Autism Class).. the class is only at certain schools, it is a new type of class, not a communications class or behaviour class, it is a class specifically for children wit Autism. The class will only have 8 children, but this is the part that put me in a state of denial.
I didn't think we were there yet. I didn't think that this was in our future, I know Owen has ASD, but I really didn't think, (yet anyway) that Owen was going to be a candidate so early, and it has been eating at me as soon as the words came from their mouthes. I asked if there were other options, I really don't want Owen to be in that class so young for all day, I don't see the benefit as of yet. Yes, he will have more support, but I would like to see how he does this year in SK, I would like to see how he does after IBI therapy next year: I guess I am scared that he would start regressing, he is still so young, am I right?
Other options (which seemed better in my mind) were:
- Owen go to the Autism class for half day/grade 1 half day
- Owen go back to SK for alf day / grade 1 half day
- Owen goes to ASD class *parts* of the day/grade 1 for *parts* of the day (like math, art etc)
Is my definition or assumption of what is the "best" choice for Owen, maybe not the best choice for Owen? I am having a hard time thinking that a segregated class at the age of 6 is the best option right now, but again: I have been wrong before. We meet again in the Spring of next year, to see how far Owen has come, if he needs all the EA Support like he does now, if transitions get easier.. options are in our future, and I am a bit in denial.