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Getting Your Child's School To Take You Seriously

"My son with autism (high functioning) has really been floundering during his first year of school. He's in the 1st grade and having all kinds of run-ins with his teacher and is making mostly D's and F's so far. The teacher asserts that the problem is 'his behavior'. What can I do to control this damage before it's beyond control?"

Parents should start by speaking with their high-functioning autistic (HFA) or Aspergers youngster's teachers, school counselors, or the school's student support team to begin an evaluation. Each U.S. state has a Parent Training and Information Center and a Protection and Advocacy Agency that can help parents get an evaluation.

A team of professionals conducts the evaluation using a variety of tools and measures. The evaluation will look at all areas related to the youngster's abilities and needs.

Once the youngster has been evaluated, she has several options depending on the specific needs. If the youngster needs special education services and is eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the school district (or the government agency administering the program) must develop an individualized education plan (IEP) specifically for the youngster within 30 days. IDEA provides free screenings and early intervention services to kids from birth to age 3. IDEA also provides special education and related services from ages 3 to 21.

If the youngster is not eligible for special education services (and not all kids with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism are eligible), he can still get free public education suited to his needs, which is available to all public-school kids with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, regardless of the type or severity of the disability. The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights enforces Section 504 in programs and activities that receive Federal education funds.

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

Here is a list of techniques that moms and dads can use to create a successful partnership with their child’s school:

1. Bring in a portfolio of your youngster’s work from home to meetings with the school to demonstrate your youngster’s overall strengths and weakness.

2. Set up the best method to communicate with the educator to share brief updates and information about your youngster’s progress.

3. Lend a helping hand in the classroom!  Be prepared to support other kids too, as this frees up more time for the educator to work directly with your youngster.

4. When registering your youngster for school, indicate in writing that he has special needs.

5. Meet with the principal to ask questions related to school safety, routines, resources and steps that will be taken to address your youngster’s special needs.

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

6. Meet with the educator as soon as possible – and definitely before the first IEP meeting. Use this time to introduce yourself and share information about your youngster.

7. If needed, provide constructive feedback. Indicate what has worked best for your youngster and what hasn’t. Educators reflect daily on their practice and make changes according to their students’ success.

8. Be prepared for the IEP meeting by making sure you arrive on time and knowing what the goals of the meeting. Write down questions and concerns you have, regardless of how certain you are that you will remember them.

9. Notify the school of any outside evaluations, medical information or support services that can help school personnel continue to provide a strong educational program.

10. Create a folder of handouts, articles, written strategies, or website addresses that you believe will be useful to the education of your youngster.

Parents’ active participation in the education of their youngster is invaluable. By sharing knowledge, resources and time, you can help ensure that your "little professor" is in the best possible learning environment. Together, parents and educators of HFA and Aspergers students can create pathways to school success.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Anonymous said...

The teacher needs support in her classroom from a qualified special education aide. Or she can research Aspergers and maybe put forth some effort and take a class on it like my child's 4th grade teacher did.
I sent my son's principal the e-book link about teaching Aspergers students [available through this site] and asked them to add a copy to their library for teacher reference, and even offered to buy the book and donate it if they approved it. Not only did the school purchase it, they made it available district wide. Buy a copy for your child's teacher or donate one to the library and let her know it's there for her and all others to use freely.

Anonymous said...

Educate, educate, educate that teacher...she sounds absolutely clueless! Can you bring her a book or 2 to borrow about helping aspie kids to read? Also, I don't know if your son has sensory issues (my 9 yr. old has dual diagnoses) but this website has great info on how to help your son manage AND the teacher...great print outs you could bring to her... may help. :)

Anonymous said...

I would recommend asking for a teacher that is very structured, but compassionate at the same time. My son struggled when he felt the "teacher didn't like him" or if the class wasn't structured. As a parent you can make that request. At home we had a very strict after school schedule, same routine everyday. I can't believe that his behavior is the reason he is getting D and F. If the teacher is not willing to help you or your son get the help he needs with his school work and /or homework talk to his aid, social worker , principal or the superintent in your district that handle special Ed. I hope things get better soon. Keep your chin up, school is quite the challenge for our kids with as.

Anonymous said...

I would ask for an aide...we finally got one for our son in the 6th grade but wish we had one in elementary school. I hope you have an IEP, if need to get one asap.

Anonymous said...

This is the e-mail I sent to my son's principal;
-Maybe we can get the IEP education dept to implement this book for the school. Since there is no active curriculum in place for autistic students and the choice of parents is limited to either Behavioral Support or Special Ed, something to help the teachers understand the nuances of Aspergers is long overdue. You would know who to approach about this.
I know everything has to be approved by everyone except the janitor before a district move can be made and that is a very long process. But I do know teachers/principals can take it upon themselves to do research and study teaching skills on their own. The author of the book has included his e-mail on the order page to answer questions. On my behalf and my son's maybe you will pass this info on to all of his teachers - even his special subject instructors, primarily gym, computers, and library - they may just take it upon themselves to order, and read the book instead of waiting for district approval. Please forward them all this link and/or discuss the option with them all personally. I am willing to contribute toward the purchase of at least one for the library if we all agree it will be a very helpful tool.

Anonymous said...

My child's 4th grade teachers would allow him to work under a table on the floor when he was feeling overwhelmed by classroom activity.
Here's the actual page with the e-book offer;

Anonymous said...

I also went to his class and did a presentation for the other students about why my son seemed a bit different than most. Focused on differences being interesting and good, and how Aspergers affected his behavior. Quite a few of his classmates approached me afterward and thanked me for explaining everything. My son was releived that now they all knew what he was trying to tell them about himself, and what the teachers [due to privacy issues] were not allowed to share with the class or even to help him explain it to others.
about an hour ago · Like · 1

Anonymous said...

We had the school do a presentation with the districts autism specialist 2 different years in elementary. It was really helpful for my daughter and her peers. We gave the peers some stragities in working with my daughter and it brought a lot of understanding as to her behaviors. I wish more schools would be proactive and do such things because its not just frusterating for our kids but for peers whe they dont understand. Empowering our kids and their peers is so important in their school sucess.
39 minutes ago via mobile · Edited · Like · 1

Anonymous said...

get him out of there asap, update his IEP or get him one if he doesn't have one,his behavior is a by-product of what's going on with him. It's ok to move your child be an advocate for your son and please don't punish him, he needs to feel comfortable somewhere and that somewhere needs to be at home.

Anonymous said...

I know where you are coming from had 2 1/2 yrs of issues with a school who said I need to sort out my son's behaviour. I told the Principle if he didn't behave this way he wouldn't have the diagnosis of aspergers. Changed schools, have a wonderful teacher who had never had an aspergers child before, she up skilled with my help, and going on courses and now she and my son have a great understanding of each other and life is bliss. The idea is to get consistency between home and school, we got that middle of the 2nd term when his teacher got told "you are just like my mother". We use the same consequences at home and school for the same behavioural issues and if 1 of us find something that works we share that information and put it in place. We meet every 4-6 weeks and set new goals for my son so we are all working towards the same outcome.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...