Saturday, November 3, 2007

Story Idea-Aspergers/awareness

This person wants more coverage of awareness of the spectrum. This item was emailed to this blog--AR

The main problem I have had to face with my 5 year old son who has Aspergers Syndrome is the fact that most people seem to think all kids on the spectrum are exactly the same.

I hear all the time that well he talks some, he does not sit and rock....etc.. People need to know that there are different levels to each spectrum disorder, no 2 kids will be the same!

I also have had a hard time getting him OT and PT services because he is not "severe enough". The fact that he cannot pedal a bike so he can ride his bike with the neighborhood kids does not seem to matter, a 20 to 24 month developemental delay is not enough for services.

He has been in speech therepy since 2 1/2 years old and he is almost 5 1/2 - he still is not understandable to a unfamiliar listener, only a careful familiar listener can make out what he is saying and that is only 75% of the time.

His school sees no issues - they dont want to have to put out the money for services for him - thats what it is all about!

Thank for listening - MM, Kansas


Anonymous said...

>they dont want to have to put out the money for services for him

That doesn't make a lot of sense, as the No Child Left Behind Act provides a financial incentive FOR schools to label kids as autistic.

I have exactly the opposite problem, the school wanting to see autism when there is none. My very intelligent, socially awkward 6 year old, who is bored out of his skull doing repetitive work, is too much of a handful in the classroom. Smart, socially awkward, and rambunctious at the wrong time is a NOT A DISORDER. It's a person with a different personality from the "norm" and not worthy of any label.

The teacher had the nerve to say to me, "You know, without a diagnosis eventually we'll have to wean him off the teacher's aide who's keeping him on task right now." Having to sit next to the teacher was a punishment when I was in school. And I would expect, diagnosis or not, autistic or not, that weaning him off the teacher's aide's help would be the goal. She said it like it was a bad thing.

And BTW, it's the rare 5 year old who can pedal a two wheeler on his own without, at least, training wheels.

It seems like there are a lot of very common behaviors on these "warning sign" checklists that are put there just so that a diagnosis of autism can't be avoided. Things like grinding teeth, or not wanting to look people in the eye. Did you know that in some cultures it's considered RUDE to look someone in the eye? But here it's a significant sign of a developmental disorder. Pardon my language, but, B*LL SH*T! This so-called epidemic is nothing more than social engineering at its worst.

Lisa said...

I can't speak to the particular situation with YOUR child, but as an autism consultant who has visited many schools, I can tell you that there is a HUGE qualitative difference between a shy, socially awkward child and a child on the autism spectrum who won't look at other people's faces (not that lack of eye contact, alone, is sufficient for a diagnosis).

And there is a big difference between an anxious child who grinds his teeth a bit and a child with autism who gnashes them so hard and so repetitively that he has actually ground down their surface!

The reason for the long lists of warning signs is that there is no single defining symptom for autism--it is a syndrome defined by a pattern of behaviors and characteristics.

Yes, sometimes autism and Asperger syndrome are misdiagnosed--usually because they're being diagnosed by someone who doesn't have specialized training.

But I'll tell you what--there are a whole lot of kids on the spectrum who are getting insufficient services from the schools--and darned few getting more services than they need.

I wish people like you, who don't believe in an autism epidemic, could ride along with me for a day, as I go into schools to teach veteran special education teachers how to deal with children on the spectrum. There is NO WAY the kids I'm called about would have ever been dismissed as just nerdy or quirky in the past. They have major needs--and the teachers are at wits end because they don't know how to help them--because they didn't have kids like this in their classes until the past few years.

And BTW, try sitting down and reading the No Child Left Behind Act before you cite it. Not only is there NO financial incentive for schools to diagnose autism--the act also makes it much more difficult for schools to hire and retain special education teachers, because it requires them to have certification in both general education AND special education.