Sunday, June 5, 2011

Okay, he's autistic...now what?

I remember when Ben was little and first got the label.  I read every book the library had.  We lived in Topeka then, and they had the greatest library.  If you needed a book and they didn't have it, they asked you to fill out a form.  If they chose to purchase it, they would send you a notice, and allow you to check it out first.

We were as poor as we had ever been since we had gotten married.  They never refused me one book.  They went from 10 books on autism, to 30 or more, based on my recommendations.  None too soon, either, as kids who were "Aspergers" were also considered autistic just  the year after Ben was born and autism labels were going to be flying like hotcakes!

Now, I remember watching EVERY PENNY...Ben and I went out to eat once a month, at McDonald's, and some months we couldn't afford even that.

I was so sad that developmental preschool, and speech and OT that were paid for by my husbands insurance, amounted to about 2.5- 3 hours a day, tops . ABA was starting up then, and it was strongly suggested your child have 40 hours a week therapy, one-on-one, at a cost, then, of $60,000.

As an art teacher, Ben's speech pathologist told me how lucky Ben was to have a parent who could draw to help him pick up language.  I found that very confusing, and spent a few months in lala land, wanting to do something but not knowing what.

Then I heard the story of a mother, Catherine Maurice, who helped her kids to go from being labeled autistic to losing the label and being educated in the regular classroom. She wrote this book.


It was $45 at the time, but the library paid for it. It's still expensive.

See, the thing is, I have a degree in Special Education. When we covered "visual learners"who show up in Special Ed programs a lot, I was stupid enough to say...

"Gee, I hope I don't get any visual learners.  I just don't understand how to teach them."

We make plans, and God laughs. Just think, I could have been teaching your child!

Turns out like 90% of kids in special education LD classrooms---your dyslexics, autistics, learning disabled, ADHD,  whatever label you want to give them....like, 90% of them don't learn the way most kids do.

School is difficult, not because they aren't smart...but because the kind of smart they are isn't rewarded in school. If they have any self-esteem, they often go on to lead highly successful lives because they've learned their strengths and weaknesses, and learned that you can fail, and it doesn't kill you.

With the book, there was a checklist  consisting of 40pages (I'm trying to remember, could be way off) of 20-30 words per page.  This checklist started with the simplest words to present to your child either by a picture or by "showing" physically what the word meant.  You said the word, and if your child understood it, or was able to use it, you checked it off the list.

"On"---"Ben, book on table"--if he could do it, you checked it off, and moved on.

I did this every day for 1-2 hours a day for a year.   Saved  $60,000.

Would Ben have picked it up on his own eventually?  I don't know.  I had to do something.

I bet you are now doing something very similar, Mrs. C.

You are a natural.  Your kids are lucky to have you as a mama. You are brilliant!







2 comments:

Happy Elf Mom said...

Awww, thank you, "brains!" I'm pretty sure I can check that book out from the preschool's library in the next few weeks when summer school starts. Thx for the recommendation!

usethebrainsgodgiveyou said...

Your welcome, oh woman of great heart!