Comments that Parents Hear: “We place all children with Autism here.”

The IDEA regulations put an emphasis on students being served at their home campus. Courts, hearing officers, and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) have allowed schools to place some groups of students with disabilities on one or more campuses with non-disabled students rather than on every campus.

However, the law and regulations put a priority on the concept of students being educated with their peers and in the general education classroom to the extent possible. There also must be a “continuum of alternative placements” within the school.  Also a child with a disability is not to be “removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum.”

Parents should ask for the rationale for this practice and if exceptions are made and under what circumstances. Chances are the district has made exceptions for specific students. The parent could then discuss at least an exception for part of the day. Placement decisions are to be individualized and should be reviewed periodically. One size fits all models are not individualized. Circumstances/needs could have changed so that the student could be returned to the home campus at least part of the day.

Continue Reading

My Child Has a Lot of Trouble With Social Skills. Should I Be Worried About Autism?

This Q&A is from and Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D. 

My son has a lot of trouble with social skills, and I’m beginning to suspect he has autism. What’s the difference between autism and the social challenges associated with learning and attention issues?

Social challenges are one of the hallmarks of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome may share some characteristics with kids who have learning and attention issues. For example, there’s a lot of overlap between nonverbal learning disabilities and Asperger’s syndrome.

Kids with milder forms of ASD may also share some characteristics with kids who have social communication disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s not uncommon for children with these conditions to repeat a joke in the wrong place and at the wrong time. They may have trouble finding the word they want to say. They may also struggle with the back and forth of conversation that seems to come so naturally to their peers.

Continue Reading

Extended School Year (ESY) for Kids with Autism

If your child with autism is like mine, he thrives on routine. Set up a program that works for him, and he’s up with the sun, ready to jump on the school bus, and eager to do what he’s done yesterday and the day before.

Then the school year ends. And for many families, the problems begin.

Children with autism have a tough time adjusting to transitions and change.  But summer is all about vacations to new places, interactions with extended family, different routines, and unexpected events.

What’s even tougher is the reality that children with autism, unlike typical children, have a very hard time just playing with the neighbors, sharing with cousins, or collaborating on the choice of a video game or TV show.  In some cases, asking a child with autism to just relax and take things as they come is asking for major tantrums and negative responses from friends and family.

Fortunately for most families of children with autism, Extended School Year (ESY) offers at least a partial low-cost, at least moderately appropriate answer to the summer dilemma.

Continue Reading

2 Commonly Misunderstood Strategies for Students with Autism

ARD/IEP teams must consider In-Home and Community-Based Training as well as Parent/Family Training and Support for students with Autism. However, many districts do not have a good understanding of these strategies or how to determine appropriate training and support.

The In-Home and Community-Based Training & Parent/Family Training and Support resource manual on the ESC 10 website provides information, procedural guidance and practical considerations for trainers responsible for developing and implementing individualized in-home & community-based services and individualized Parent/Family Support services.

Continue Reading

6 Tips to Prepare Your Child with Autism for a Trip to the Dentist

Preparing for a dental visit can entail some strategic planning for parents of kids with autism.  Although it may never be a trip that is smooth sailing for children with autism or any special needs, it can be better with the right amount of planning.

This Friendship Circle Blog post provides useful tips to use to make sure you are able to make the visit as comfortable as possible for your child with Autism.

3 Ways Technology Can Help Students with Autism

“It is a statistic that most Americans would probably be stunned to find is so prevalent: One of out every 68 kids in the United States is on the autism spectrum, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While it’s true that most children these days are considered “digital natives,” children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also find themselves most comfortable with a device in their hands.”

Continue Reading

Need Info about Autism in Multiple Languages?

The USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities has translated the “Learn the Signs. Act Early” autism fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into multiple languages to reach underserved populations.

Languages include: Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese, as well as Spanish and English.

Continue Reading