Do you have an autistic child and do they attend public school?

United States
April 5, 2009 7:33pm CST
I am wondering how many of you have Autistic children in public schools. If your austic child attends a public school how would you rate the quality of education they receive? Are the teachers properly trained? Are there bullying issues? What are your biggest concerns? Have you considered alternatives to public education and what is the major obstacles preventing you from using alternative education methods (i.e. private school or public school)? I also wanted to know if any of your schools do any activities for Autism Awareness Month (April is Autism Awareness Month)?
3 people like this
9 responses
@Foxxee (3654)
• United States
6 Apr 09
I know it's hard to find a public school with the needs for an Autistic child, but they are out there. I know in my city we got lucky to find a public school that actually has programs for Autistic kids of different ages. Right now my son is only 3, but does attend a public Elementry School. The bus comes & picks him up & drops him off. It's amazing. I wanted my son to attend the public school that my daughter went to, but they had no special programs. So it can be hard to find the right one. I know some Autistic kids can move on & actually attend a classroom with other kids without Autism, but that depends on the child's level. As for bullying... there is always a form of bullying in public or private schools, I wouldn't worry about that until that time comes. Hopfully it wont.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Apr 09
Our son attended a developmental preschool through our public schools and I can not say enough good things about this program. It was wonderful! The aids were well trained. Our trouble started in Kindergarten. Our son is high functioning and was placed in a full inclusion classroom. His only pull outs were for Speech and OT. The problem was that the teacher was not trained, the aid was not trained and they refused to work with us, telling us they were the teachers and we were just the parents and did not understand the educational process. By second grade our son was 2 years behind in reading because they were not teaching to his learning style and as long as he did not disrupt the rest of the class they were happy to left him veg-out on the floor and zone out instead of learning how to give him an appropriate sensory break. After three years of bugging them and an outside evaluation in the area of reading, they finally sent someone to training last summer. This year his program has been much better. However, he is still behind in reading and writing (language arts). I encourage you to go into your child's kindergarten year with your eyes wide open and be ready to fight for your child's education. We found out the hard way that even if a school system has a wonderful early intervention program it does not guarantee a good elementary program. I hope this is not the case in your area but it is better to be prepared than to be surprised. I wish you the best!
@Foxxee (3654)
• United States
6 Apr 09
Thank you for the information & I will do just that. I hope things get better & better for your family.
• United States
6 Apr 09
Autism Awareness Month - April is Autism Awareness month.
Matnlilsmommy- I'm a special education teacher, and my step-daughter is mildly autistic, but resides with her mother. I'm currently finishing my master thesis in special education, and for my student-teaching component I worked at the local elementary school just down the road from where I live. The teachers are fantastic! The autistic teachers are all specially certified in ASD, and truly are amazing. I can't speak highly enough of them to be honest, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a teacher, I really feel these women knew their stuff! There were no bullying issues, small classes, and one-one. I worked with a few of the mild ASD children in Kindergarten when there and I just adored them. They were so smart and loving. I did a lot with social skills games, so that was a great deal of fun. I think there is value in both public and private. Though, the problem with private is not all private schools have to follow the federal mandated IEP. They can set up their school as they see fit and are under slightly different mandates then a public school. (Charter schools fall into public schools). If you are looking at private, you may want to ask those types of questions ahead of time. For those who wish to get involved with ASD Awareness Month here is a website: http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=research_awareness Namaste-Anora
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Apr 09
Anora_Eldorath, Thank you for your response. It sounds like you had the opportunity to work in a wonderful program. I wish all programs were so good and all teacher's so well trained. Unfortunately this is not the case. My son's program has improved greatly over the past year but we went through a lot to get the improvements that have been made. We had to continually ask them to send a teacher to training for 3 years before they sent someone. I really applaud you efforts to learn more about working with children on the spectrum and wish you all the best in your future endeavors! Matnlilsmommy
2 people like this
• United States
7 Apr 09
You're very welcome, and thanks for the BR. I know that not all programs are the best. We have a long way to go in education, especially in special education. I think part of the problem is funding. The other part is as you say some teachers do not specialize in it, yet will be given a classroom with ASD. Here in Minnesota you can't work in a classroom that you're not qualified to work in. Meaning, I could not work in a full ASD room if I didn't have the certification. It doesn't mean that an ASD student couldn't be sent to me for reading (I'm also working on getting my reading endorsement). Having worked in other states, I can agree that programs need to be change in some states and improve for the sake of our children. Namaste-Anora
• United States
6 Apr 09
I do not have an autistic child, but I do know that when I become a teacher, if I teach in an inclusive school (most are going to it) then despite the fact that I am NOT qualified to teach children with special needs I will have these children in my class. I MIGHT have an aide, if the child has what ever the school district deems as enough issues as to need one. Because of this knowledge, if I had a child that need the extra care and help, I would do all I could to keep them out of public school. I know some great special education teachers but there are so few of them that there is just no enough to go around. It is my hope that when I start teaching the parents of these children will be willing to work with me and educate me in what their child needs, because I honestly have only taken one class to help these children and it covered everything from mental retardation to talented and gifted.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Apr 09
It is refreshing to see that you are willing to listen to the parents of your students. Being the parent of an autistic child I have found that this is a quality that is not common among teachers. Until this current school year we met with much resistance from our school system. Despite our experience and the fact that we have actually lived with our son 24 hours a day his entire life they seemed to think they knew more about him than we did. I applaud your open mind and encourage you to hold onto it as long as you can. I also enourage you to visit the site http://www.handsinautism.org, it has some information there that you can read. I also enoucrage you to look around in your area for workshops and other offerings to educate and train yourself because from personal experience the school system won't do it unless you happen to have a child in your classroom who has parents are actually aware of their rights and understand that the school system is actually required to train it's staff. You seem to really have your students best interests at heart, please hold on to that as long as you can. Your students will benefit from your willingness to work with their parents and learn to teach to their learning style. Thank you very much for your thought provoking response! Best wishes to you for a bright future for you and your future students!
• United States
7 Apr 09
Thank you for the link, I have saved it. I have a great family that has promised to make me quit teaching when I no longer have the attitude I do now. Teachers are there to help, and only the parents truely know their child. I hope to have a partnership with my students' familys because only then will the students succeed. I am glad that you have found a school that will work with you. Have a great day!!
@alharra (508)
• United States
6 Apr 09
My son has Asperger's and it was his teacher that suggested we have him tested for it. Duncan does indeed go to a public school and so far all of his teachers have been great with him.... but the school he is going to has people specifically trained to deal with autistic kids- at least the special ed teachers are. I worry about year after next when Duncan will be changin schools but his current teacher tells me that the school Duncan will be going to is pretty good with autistic kids.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Apr 09
I am not a parent of an autistic child but one of my very close friends has a son that is autistic that goes to a public school. Infact her son goes to the same school that my children go to and we both agree that they are doing a great job with him. Im not exactly sure how all school systems do but I know that in the school system that our kids are in that we have certain schools that has the classes that they need to be taught at the rate that they need to be taught. There is a bus that picks him up because the school isnt in his district but they make sure that he is able to get the education he needs and deserves. Also, he does not get bullied at all, as a matter of fact, they actually treat him very well. He has alot of friends inside and outside of his classroom. And he loves going to school everyday! He even asks to go on Saturday and Sunday lol. But I will say this all schools are not the same and all teachers are not the same so I would suggest going to the school and trying to sit in on some classes just to check it out and see how you like it yourself. I know that would make me feel alot better and most schools don't mind.
1 person likes this
@seabeauty (1481)
• United States
6 Apr 09
I don't have an autistic child but my neighbor has a son with autism. He goes to a regular public school on the regular bus. The school he goes to has an autism program. I have known her son for a little over 3 years and he has come a long way. I don't know what his spectrum is but now he will look at you and respond where when I first met him he was in his own little world. Wouldn't look at you wouldn't talk to you, nothing. One of the things that has helped him is his parents have him on a special diet. He is not allowed to eat cake or candy. I am guessing sugar makes this condition worse.
1 person likes this
@Lee_Rites (846)
• United States
6 Apr 09
My son is currently being tested and observed. They suspect he may be autistic because of issues he has had in school and he has many of the characteristics associated with autism. Hand flapping, delayed speech, communication problems, and social discomfort are a few of them. One of the problems we have had with the school is that they did not see a problem until now. We have told them of his problems and have been met with different responses. He is very quiet and we have been told that he is just shy. When he started kindergarten he was only using a few words. We told his teacher and she said that she was sure he was very talkative at home with his brothers. We asked to have him tested and even the principal refused. She said he just needed to do all of his homework. The truth was that he did his homework and would not turn it in (I think because of his social anxieties). It has been frustrating but I believe public school was still the best thing for him. He needed the interaction with other children. He has come a long way since kindergarten. I have been working with him at home a lot and the school environment has been good for him.
• United States
6 Apr 09
Many children on the autism spectrum have issues with organization. If your son is diagnosed with an ASD I would definitely ask they they include instruction about organizational systems in his IEP. Best wishes to you and your family!
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Apr 09
Yes, he does have some problems with organization. His social anxieties don't help. At the beginning of this school year, we sent his school supplies with him in his back pack. All of the kids were supposed to turn in their school supplies because the school supplies are shared amongst the students throughout the year. He did not turn them in for a long time because he did not want to talk to the teacher to tell her that he had them. Finally he told me that he was scared so I went to the school and gave them to the teacher.
• United States
4 Aug 09
my son who has PDD is in mainstream kinder and special ed classes. He qualified for extended day which is half day with morn kinder and then afternoon with another kinder teacher and he received double in his specials etc. My daughter will attend autistic support kindergarten which is full day and will receive all her stuff. The school district my kids are in, I have no complaints whatsoever!!! We are lucky to have a school that is BIG on special education. I have no bullying issues since the older kids(not that much older but you get the idea, they take the little ones under their wings :)
@jimbelle (485)
• Philippines
7 Apr 09
I do not have an autistic child but I know you can send your child in either public or private school catering to autistic children. The teachers are all trained. It will really depend in the school where you are sending your child. I am not from the US but in our country we have schools for autistic children both private and public schools. Sad to say that we have better teachers-student ratio in the private schools because of the student and teachers ratio is less. What I means is in our setting there are more students a teacher will handle in public schools because we have less trained teachers to handle these special children. The set back in private school is the tuition fee of course. I believe these schools have activities and support groups.