Showing posts from February, 2008

More Musings on Special Education; an update.

As you may know, we currently have a campaign running in Ireland for the Government to accept ABA as a 4th model of education for children with Autism. The other 3 are mainstream national schools, outreach classes attached to a mainstream school with 6 pupils to one teacher and free standing special schools with 6 pupils to a class.
Many children with autism need the fourth option; Full time comprehensive ABA.
Thanks to a deal between coalition partners in the current government, 14 "pilot" ABA schools have been accepted. Pilot is a misnomer as some of these schools have been running for 7 years or more. They receive funding from the Dept of Education on a yearly basis, with a small stipend towards supervision and administration.
The "deal" has opened up negotiations for these projects to become permanent special schools with support from the Health Service Executive for Clinical posts such as speech and occupational therapy. It will also offer the staff in each unit …

D is for DENIAL

Not a river in Egypt, but as we all know, The first stage of the grief you feel on diagnosis. ANY DIAGNOSIS. Any parent of a child who has special needs goes through this.
I have been meaning to write about this for a while but I thought I had better do some research first. Maybe I should get some expert analysis? Maybe me writing about Denial is the Pot writing about the Kettle being stainless steel. (Stainless steel is the new black)

So Yeah, Denial.
We all do it. There must be very few people who go around looking for problems in their children to diagnose. We see the flicky fingers, the absence of imitation, the inability to hold our gaze or answer our call, AND WE IGNORE IT!
What we do see is the affectionate loving and cuddly child; That means they don't have autism right? or the child who is programming the DVD recorder with their feet while we can't even set the clock on the video, so they must be brilliant yeah? so no impairments there huh? Huh?

Like the best P.R. people w…

I STIM, therefore I AM; S is for STIM

Stimming is a made up word, short for self stimulation. As that sounds a bit like doing the "bould thing", parents call it stimming.
It can be Twirling, SPINNING, clapping, flapping, finger clicking, hand chewing, clothes chewing, tearing, rocking, humping (yes, a bit bould) and well, the list goes on.

It can also be reciting something obsessively like the "Who's on First" routine from the movie "Rainman" with Dustin Hoffman. I like to call that "scripting". Or reciting all the features of a favourite item, like trains or animals, or the entire cast and crew from a favourite film. Or turning things on and off and opening and closing doors, windows or presses. (cupboards)
Or focusing intently on a particular detail of an object without really seeing the whole thing. It can also be asking the same questions again and again.

And some kids can double stim, focusing intently on something and then flapping, or doing a bit of scripting while finger cli…

ABA reaches the parts

Aba reaches the parts, that other therapies cannot reach.

Late last year I put up a post called "Do we want our children to LEARN or are we happy with them just being TAUGHT?"

It was a little bit narky, shall we say, because I was feeling very burned out by the year that was in it. 6-1 had caused alot of problems for my Boo and I was seriously thinking of home schooling at the time; until we came up on the waiting list for the nearest recognised ABA school; OR our nearest ABA school got recognised!

You see the problem with this whole ABA debate is that there are an awful lot of people who think the 6-1 system is good enough. Good enough for their children to achieve what ever expectations they have of them as a child with an autistic spectrum disorder. Some parents even get a little defensive; when you tell them that ABA would be better for their child because they feel you are judgeing them for their acceptance; for their ability to just deal with the status quo without demand…

What next for our kids?

For once I am going to hand over to another writer;
this article when I read it causes me a shortness of breath. The kind of tight chest I used to associate with considering second level. Why? Because my kids fall into the group that cannot cope with the "eclectic" or state special school model. And even the school knows it.

After 5 years of home based ABA after school to try and supplement what the teachers CAN do in a disruptive 6 -1 setting we have had to accept defeat and stop borrowing to pay for it; because interest rates have pushed our mortgage beyond our reasonable means.

We are on a waiting list for a place in a school, 40 kilometres away, even though there is a perfectly good pre-school up the road that is waiting to be recognised and fully funded as a primary school for kids like mine.

We didn't choose to have the kids who fall through the cracks, we certainly don't choose to have the kids who actually break the system in the first place. Just imagine how it …