Does everyone diagnosed need an IEP for school?
My now 12yo ds was 8yo before he was diagnosed.
My experience has been that even with high functioning kids, by third
grade even the brightest can start to struggle academically. Learning
moves from the rote memorization of the younger grades to the more
abstract critical thinking required for the middle and upper grades.
There are also sensory issues and behavioral ones that may come into
play. That is not to say it will absolutely happen, just that it may. My
aspie has never needed a lot of supports, but I am thankful that I have
the IEP because his weaknesses are very real and they rear up at the
most unexpected times. My approach has been to have the supports in
place and let him use them as much or as little as he needs to. Trying
to fake it may
My advice to you at *this* stage is that you don't need one, yet. And I'd keep quiet until he's *in*, and then I'd ask for one. (I'm just a bit cynical and I've had to play a lot of different systems). We didn't have a diagnosis until our DS was 8 and he didn't get our equivalent of an IEP (we are in the UK so the rules and entitlements are different, but Aspergers is Aspergers and school is school no matter where you are) until he was 10. I have to say it has made a *significant* different to DS's physical and emotional health, as well as his performance in school, and it made the transition from primary to high school (you'd call it middle school I think) a lot easier. His life would have been a *lot* easier and he'd have gotten a lot more targetted, useful help earlier, if we'd had the diagnosis and the support he needed earlier.
Sorry, but your DS won't be able to 'fake it' for long. Asperger's/PDD-NOS and other autism spectrum disorders are real, permanent disabilities with a physical and neurological basis, you do not 'grow out' of them and you can't hide them forever. However, every child with Asperger's is unique, and the way they are impacted relates not just to themselves, but to their social and physical environment. For example, a lot of high functioning Aspies in Japanese schools do not really need a lot of extra support because the teaching style and curriculum favour clear, directed, academic, individual learning. However, as soon as you throw group work, physical education, organisational issues, homework, timekeeping, task focus and all sorts of other stuff into the mix - and that is before we get to sensory issues etc, which each child has a different experience of and different needs - then things can get a bit hairy for Aspies.
I'm a professor of social policy at Scottish university, and I see a lot of my students who have had a very 'late' diagnosis (sometimes not until they are adults or already with us). These students have succeeded very well *in spite* of not having much help or support throughout their school career. However, I do think that they would have done even *better* (and be happier) if they could have been diagnosed earlier and got some structured support around things they find challenging. We've just had one student go completely off the rails and get arrested because of a series of misunderstandings that could have been avoided if they'd had more social skills training - we've also had another one just graduate who is giving evidence to the Scottish Commission on Autism about how to join services up more effectively, which involved speaking in front of parliament in committees that seasoned professors would find daunting, so it can go both ways!
My bottom line on this is that is better to be honest and upfront about your child's needs, but that these needs will change and develop over time and according to different contexts. An IEP is just a way of putting a marker down, which you will need at some point to do, but you may not need to do it yet. At some point - which maybe you'll never get to, if you are lucky! - you might need to use the IEP in a more legalistic way, to get stroppy and start throwing your mama bear weight around and insisting that your child gets the supper he needs to do his best. This is much easier to do with formal acknowledgements, which an IEP also represents.
Kirsty, mum to Euan (12, Asperger's Syndrome
"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"
Follow my blog on http://mumsnet.com/blogs/kirsteinr/
My boy is 10 now and we are going through the IEP process right now only for social type of needs. He was homeschooled for 2 years and is back in a new district now.
His teacher is amazed at his high academics, and he even does an online school from within the classroom (his teacher's request) at a higher level independently.