My twelve year old son, an aspie, is in middle school.
Gosh, I'm not sure how to take that note.
I'm pretty new to this board but I'm going to voice my opinion about this one.
If I were to get an email like that, the first thing I would do is to forward it to everyone-special education teachers, the principal, the special education director/supervisor. And, I would put a little note with the forward, something like, "Just wanted you to see what this teacher thinks about my autistic child." I am a teacher and I am appalled by this woman's email. Even if you might not find one of your students the most appealing to you, you deal with it, you find the positives in this child, not degrade him!!!!
I would write a request for evaluation and an IEP asap. Make sure you have everything in writing and dated.
As for suggestions, I would suggest that the teacher allow John to do things that are within his interests. Let him do reports about his favorite subjects, let him do oral presentations, work with John, not against him. I know there is a curriculum to follow and that John needs to learn to be more flexible, but you can ease him into it, not force it down his throat.
GGGGRRRRRRR. This really has me fired up. I am sorry that you are going through this.
oh wow! what an awful mail to receive. Poor you! And poor John!
It sounds to me like he is the kind of kid -like my Pete, who needs to understand the logic behind something before he will do it. It does take a special skill to explain stuff like this to an Aspie, but nonetheless, I do think it should be something that is included in his formal education plan.
I find it is often easier to "work" the school from within. it is DEFINITELY easier to push for an IEP of other people in the school agree with you. Therefore, I think you should book a meeting with the school psychologist or his guidance person, discuss this and any similar issues with that person and get the ball rolling that way. If you can get someone like that on your side, they can be a very powerful ally.
I hope this helps and please let us know how it goes
visit my blog at www.onesickmother.com
My first response when I read her email was is she for real? What she is describing is a child with ASD.
I would cc her back thanking her for her email and requesting clarification about what specifically she finds so offensive about working with children with a recognized disability.
I also would cc your email attaching her email to all the higher ups in the SD insisting that she and anyone else that works with your son be trained in working effectively in a positive manner with a child with aspergers.
I would also request a meeting with the SD because she makes it clear in her email that your son's disabiity is impacting his ability to receive an appropriate education and he needs a IEP. .
What a sad pathetic moron this woman is.
I would actually enlist this Teacher's aid in getting your son a formal IEP. My Aspie doesn't require a lot in the way of "special education", but having an IEP that recognizes his limited interests, difficulty with motor planning and fine motor tasks, working memory, executive function
There is one possibility I would like you to consider.
I didn't really read through the other posts, so this could be a repeat.
I'd email her back and thank her for being honest. Explain that the behaviors she's dealing with are not defiant behaviors, they're directly related to his autism spectrum disorder. Let her know that her "issues" with him are some of the reasons he was diagnosed!
Tell her to use his interests to get the work done.
Yes, go for an eval and IEP.
I have an 11yo AS ds in middle school. Although he needs very minimal support, I still made sure to get him a formal 504 at school, exactly because I didn't want issues like you've experienced with your ds teacher. For me, the teachers' awareness of ds dx makes all the difference in their treatment of him.
In 4th grade, ds started a new school. The teacher saw ds dx, and I think she assumed he'd be a difficult kid. It took a few weeks for the teacher and ds to adjust to each other (I think it helped for the teacher to see that instead of being one of her difficult kids, ds was one of her rule followers who just needed a little more support), but then they had a good year.
Since then, I've begun e-mailing ds teachers at the beginning of each year to briefly introduce him, so the teachers know what to expect (e.g. Ds is a cooperative student who likes to follow class rules, but he's a bit of a literalist so may need extra explanations to understand some instructions), rather than just letting the teachers see ds dx and fear the worst.
I do the same for AS dd and her high school teachers. So far, I've only had one teacher respond negatively to dd limitations, and we switched her out of that class.
I first approach the teachers as if they WANT to be helpful, to give them an opportunity to rise to the occasion. This also enables the teacher to view my ds/dd positively in the classroom. If that doesn't work, then I'll seek out other solutions through administration.
With your ds teacher, I might say something like:
"Ds was just recently dx with AS, an autism spectrum disorder. As you've discovered, he is very high functioning but has some areas of deficit, some of which may look like defiance when they are not.
We are beginning the process of getting ds supports in school that will enable him to be more successful in your class. In the meantime, I'd like to address your concerns.
In your e-mail, you beautifully described many classic difficulties for individuals with autism. Your identification of ds view of "but I'm not interested in this, so why should I do it" is very much one of the emotions ds often feels.
If ds does not understand what, to him, appears to be an illogical assignment, he cannot fathom what would make someone try to force it on him to do. The instruction causes him great anxiety, which makes it even more difficult for him to think clearly and respond appropriately. Understanding a point of view other than their own is a typical challenge for individuals with autism. They are not trying to be oppositional.
I appreciated your statement that ds is a brilliant young man. It is not always easy for teachers to recognize ds abilities which are sometimes masked behind deteriorating performance when his anxieties are high, which anxieties sometimes cause even more of his autistic behaviors to become apparent as he unconsciously engages in behaviors designed to be self-soothing but appear disruptive.
I'm wondering what would be most helpful to you in learning about Asperger's. I'm guessing that the school has autism resource information, but would it be additionally helpful to you if I gave you information about my ds and his specific issues?
Thank you for your active concern about ds. I'm glad to have an interested teacher willing to help me help my ds."
Hi,From her email it's pretty obvious that she is not familiar with Asperger's. What she is describing is so textbook asperger's. The intense focus on topics that the person finds interesting, the inability to reciprocate in conversation...actually that is one of the diagnostic criteria.
My first reaction was I was offended for you...but it does appear that she is just not familiar with AS. She does seem to be willing work with you & your son. I would definitely contact the Sped. dept. and request a meeting. Your son needs to have an IEP in place. I'd save that email too as another poster said, it could definitely help.
Good luck : )
Thank you everyone for your thoughts and opinions!