New here! (Grab a snack, this is long!)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
New here! (Grab a snack, this is long!)
2
Thu, 09-11-2003 - 6:24pm
Hello!

I'm Nicke. I have a daughter who will be seven next month. We don't have an exact diagnosis of Asperger's. After almost five years of testing and special schooling, we're still working on figuring out exactly what's going on.

At two, she was diagnosed with a speech delay. We received therapy through our local Parents As Teachers branch and she attended the Early Childhood Center pre-school. Her teachers at the pre-school thought she was autistic, but we could never get an exact diagnosis from "the experts" at the hospital.

In Kindergarten, her testing revealed she had ADHD behaviours. We took her to a psychologist and eventually a psychiatrist for a diagnosis. The psychiatrist also thought she had behaviours that fit in the OCD, SID (sensory), and anxiety categories. She also mentioned "high functioning autism". We're on a waiting list for another autism eval.

Last spring, her psych prescribed Ritalin to help her in school. We saw positive results immediately. At the time, we knew it wasn't a long term solution but we wanted to see how she would respond to medication while in the classroom setting. It really helped her stay on task and even helped her socialization skills. This summer, we did not give her the medication because we didn't feel she needed it at home. When we started the meds back up when school started, she had some adverse reactions...nausea, extreme anxiety, hyperventilating, etc. So her psych took her off of the Ritalin and prescribed Zoloft. Last spring, she wanted to do both the anti-depressant AND the Ritalin, but I didn't want to. She's been on the Zoloft for a week and we're not seeing any results yet. Her anxiety is very bad. Her classroom teacher reports that "she's either crying or staring off into space". Her special-ed teacher says the anxiety "spells" are getting shorter throughout the day.

I feel NO support from her classroom teacher. When we introduced ourselves at the school's Open House (two days before school started), I gave her a "resume" for Claire that explained her situation and her symptoms. When I handed it to her, she was like 'Uh...what's THIS for?" Then when Claire had her anxiety attacks, I tried talking to her again at the first parent night (two weeks after school started). She was physically backing away from me and nodding saying "okay, just let me know what's going on..." I was like "That's what I'm trying to do NOW, lady!" Then I e-mailed her on Monday because Claire's weekend homework was still in her backpack when I picked her up from school. Her response? "No, Claire did not turn in her home work. I do not look in their backpacks. It's THEIR responsibility to turn in their homework!" (This was the first time they'd had homework, BTW.) Today, I took Claire to school and dropped her off at the classroom door. I'd e-mailed the teacher last night asking for a meeting in person. She didn't get it, but she said "I can just talk to you here..." and launches in to how Claire just cries and begs to go to the nurse so I can come and get her and all of the inappropriate and disruptive things that Claire does...all while holding the door open for the students to come in to class.

On the bright side, Claire's special ed teacher is very supportive and understanding. She had Claire last year. I was able to vent a little to her about the classroom teacher's inappropriate responses. She and I agreed that it wouldn't be a good idea to pull her out just yet. We have another appointment with the psychiatrist on Monday so we'll go from there. Hopefully the psych will have some suggestions on how to deal with the school.

I'm also seriously considering home-schooling. Claire begs me to stay home with her. She even says "I can do math at home!"

Okay, I think I shared enough. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone here!

Nicke





iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 09-11-2003 - 8:35pm
Hi Nicke,

I have a six year old boy with aspergers, adhd and sensory integration. we homeschool and i wouldn't have it any other way. he is flourishing here at home and has done much better over time in social situations, whereas i think public school would have done the opposite. if your seriously considering homeschooling let me give a thumbs up recommendation from us. it has done wonders here for my son academically AND socially (believe it or not).

bless

bugs

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Fri, 09-12-2003 - 7:15am
Hi, Nike, and welcome to the board!

Thanks for sharing Claire's story with us. It always helps to hear what's going on with others and how others, who have faced the same trials, have resolved their situations. It also helps just to know you're not the only one.

We have quite an acclectic mix of methods of education on this board. We have public schoolers, private schoolers, and home schoolers. I, myself, homeschool. Or, rather, I co-op school, which is a lot like homeschooling b/c the parents are the teachers, but it is done as a group of families who study a Core Unit together as a class. All of the courses outside of the Core Unit are accomodated in the home by the parents or by private teachers/lessons.

I do know how you feel about wanting to homeschool after all that, and considering my decision to leave the public education sector you can probably already see what I am about to say next....I agree with bugs, I can't imagine doing it any other way. BUT, homeschooling isn't necessarily for everyone, and given the nature of the Spectrum it's not like we can 'just put them back is public if it doesn't work out'. While some Aspies may be that flexable it doesn't sound like Claire is. I would actually suggest that you consider every option BEFORE making any decisions like that. Research homeschooling, private schooling oppertunities, and any extra services or changes the public school could make to accomodate Claire. If you want to research homeschooling more I would suggest you stop by the Homeschooling Support Board here in Parent Soup. It is one of the largest international online support/resource groups in the world. There are quite a few members with kids on the Spectrum. Here's the link:

http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-pshomeschool


Also, talk to other public school parents of kids with ASDs. See if anyone has run into the same type of problem (we have a few of them right here) and see how they handled it. I'm sure a few of our members will respond to share their expirience, strength, and hope, in public schooling. I know right now it may seem like it's a dead end situation, but all things come to pass eventually. Someone here may have the exact answer you're looking for that will allow Clair to continue on in public school in a more happy and productive manner.

However, one thing sticks out to me. Claire has said straight out that she wants to be schooled at home. This is something you should take into consideration. While she is entirely too young to make descisions like that for herself, she does know what she would prefer. You mentioned that she doesn't seem to need the meds when she's at home, that should also be something to consider.

Again, welcome to the board. We are looking forward to getting to know you and Claire better. And know this, we will support you on any decision you make. We are here for each other, and we will be here for you whenever you need us. We're open 24/7, LOL.

Peace,

Candes

P.S. Here we believe that Drs are the 'professionals', it is the parents who are the experts'. (wink)