New - introduction!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
New - introduction!
Fri, 05-18-2007 - 2:14pm

Hi - I'm Larie and my 5 1/2 year old son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at age 3. He has been in therapy since he was 18 months because of lack of speech. We then discovered Sensory Integration issues and finally the ASD diagnosis was also due to social/emotional development.

I'm pretty familiar with ASD since it also affects my nephew (has Asperger's) and I have another nephew with developmental issues.

My son (Ryan) has been in spec ed pre-k through public school system for the last 3 years. He has been in an inclusive program for the past 1 1/2 years (1/2 typical kids, 1/2 kids with special needs).

He is transitioning to a new school for mainstream kindergarten in the fall. IEP meeting is Monday (kind of was sprung on me).

Ryan has tested with average to above average IQ and academics. However, emotionally and socially he is probably 3 1/2 or 4 years old. KWIM? My challenge is getting the school system to recognize his intelligence and his special needs at the same time. He is learning how to read and spell but he can't answer simple comprehension questions. Concepts are tough too.

Does anyone else have similar experience with the public school system? I'm trying to figure out what services I should expect. They want to mainstream him (so do I but with support) but only want to give him 2 hours a week of special education instruction (we have full-day Kindergarten 30 a week!) What are everyone else experiences? They do have his 'code' as autism.

Thanks in advance for your input!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2004
Sun, 05-20-2007 - 9:52am

Hi! Welcome to the group! My youngest dd Lily has pdd-nos. She is in special ed preschool and is doing well. I worry about kindergarten though. I wish I had some great advice for you, but I'm still learning to navigate the school system too. I know there are others on the board who will have some great advice for you. I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say too. I hope you enjoy this group as much as I do!

Amy~mom to Natalie (10 yrs) and Lily (4.5 yrs, pdd-nos, sensenbrenner syndrome)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 05-18-2007 - 7:12pm

ditto, that was my Cait at that age. She is 13 now.

She was in special ed all through preschool in an integration program (1/2 special needs, 1/2 typical). She was mainstreamed in K but only because we fought for it, the school actually wanted to put her in a day class. At first we did agree on 1/2 day class and 1/2 mainstream with a shared aide then after a couple months she went completely mainstream.

I don't remember how many hours a week she had in resource but with kids who are academically able and socially delayed it works better to do push in and consulting rather than pull outs. Cait also had speech and OT through kindie. She stopped OT in 1st grade but the other supports have remained. She didn't need an aide in K and we ditched that when we moved and put her completely in mainstream, but could have used one in first only because her teacher was awful.

Over the years she has had a shared aide or part time aide most of the years in school. She has speech and OT consult again. She also now in upper grades has some assistive tech. In elementary she had an autism consultant that helped make materials for the class, provided consulting to the teachers, etc. THey also did a social skills group for her.

She is in 7th grade now in a program for more able kids with ASD. It is considered a special education class but she is fully included with supports for all academics. She goes to her day class 1-2 periods a day for study skills and social skills.


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2003
Fri, 05-18-2007 - 2:42pm

Welcome! Not that it will make you feel any better, but you could've removed your son's name, inserted my daughter's name, and the stories would've been exact. I think it varies from state-to-state and district-to-district, but in general I think the biggest obstacle we "spectrum parents" deal with when it comes to the school districts, involves bridging the gap between IQ scores and social/emotional age equivalents. Honestly, I get so sick of hearing people say, "Oh! But she's so smart! She can't possible have autism!" Okay, sure she can read words that most 5th graders can't, but she LICKS WALLS for fun!

I had to fight tooth and nail to get our daughter mainstreamed, and I'm incredibly thankful I had the strength to do it. Honestly, her speech/language skills made far more considerable gains in the mainstream environment than she ever saw in the spec. ed. preschool or with the SLP's. (I'm not knocking SLP's, my SIL happens to be one, I just think our kiddos are really good at picking up on the language skills of their peers.)

In terms of the two hours a week, while it does seems a bit limited to me, I'd urge you to keep in mind the entire amount of services he'll be getting. Will he be getting pull-out time for speech, OT, PT? I say that because at one time I was so gung ho that our daughter needed hours and hours of pull out for special instruction that it ended up doing more harm than good. She was spending almost no time in the regular ed. classroom because she was constantly getting pulled out for one thing or another. She was having a hard time getting her regular work done, etc.

In our state you can have the IEP read something like, "up to X number of hours per week, but no less than X number of hours per week, for special education instruction". Perhaps this is an option for your son. Tell them you're willing to "try" the two hours a week, but have serious concerns that it won't be enough to ensure your child's success. If they're willing to add in the "up to" phrase, that should allow you the flexibility of communicating with the special ed. and regular ed. classroom teachers directly and not having to call an IEP every time there's a subject matter covered that he needs more help with. For example, he may do fine with the first three months of math lessons, but could struggle when they start covering some of the more abstract concepts. During the times when he's struggling with a concept, you can have the pull-out time increased to meet his needs, then when everybody is confident with his understanding of the concept, he can drop back down to the two hours a week. Does that make sense??? It can be a tightrope walk, especially since he's transitioning to a new school. The staff need to get to know him, and you need to get to know the staff to have confidence that they only want what's best for your son.

I'm assuming since it's kindergarten, there will be at least one classroom assistant. You may want to keep a close eye on the situation because it could be that your son will need a 1:1 or shared paraprofessional in the future. Good ones are really hard to come by, but when you find one, they can be invaulable!

Hope this helps a bit...I could write an even longer novel, but I'm a tad short on time today.



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