Children with autism are difficult to identify at birth. Most professionals agree that they are difficult to diagnose until the child is in the upper 2 thirds of school (3rd grade), when children with learning disabilities start showing up in schools. People with autism don’t just learn differently, they often respond differently to information, and social relationships. Because of this, being able to identify your child as easily as a hemispheric brain hemispheres does not guarantee that your child will receive effective services.
Autism is a difficult thing to measure in a person, since it is difficult for people to be around someone with an autism experience that does not “drive” them crazy. Thus, perhaps the most helpful way of determining your child’s abilities is to visit him or her in the environment where he or she excels. Most people, even those working with children, do not have the opportunity to observe an individual in the way that a child with autism will be expected to interact. This is why having a close, personal relationship with your child’s IEP or special education team is so important.
IEP’s and Special Education
When a child is identified as having autism, parents generally will need to know why their child has been identified as such. A standard IQ test might not help with this question, because the test is based on multiple intelligences, which include verbal, nonverbal, and social. A child with autism may have an IQ above or below the average, or may have an IQ that is neither high nor low. When asked to explain their IQ, a child with autism may tell you that they are two or three IQ levels below average. Although this is by no means the norm, it is a big clue that you may be able to use to help you determine why your child has been diagnosed with autism.
It is even more helpful to have a child with autism in your home when working with special needs. Children with autism can excel in extra-curricular activities. They may excel in music and art, they may have great memories, and they may show amazing physical strength. Because of their unique characteristics, they are often accepted into more competitive academic environments.
However, just because a child with autism has a higher than average IQ, it does not mean he or she will be a good reader or worker. Many special education teachers believe that it is important to have a range of children in their classes, so that they can meet all types of children. Therefore, it is important to encourage your child to participate in extra-curricular activities, so that he or she will have experience in the different environments he or she will be in. One way to accomplish this is to have your child to participate in SPeace Corps programs.
SPeace Corps is a volunteer program that was created to give students with disabilities a chance to learn to participate in community life. This program has been implemented in many school districts and works to provide the participation needs of students with Disabilities assistive technology needs. A SPeace Corps team includes a parent and a teacher. They will identify eligible students to be included in the program.
The ideal timeframe for this program is 4 to 6 weeks. Some districts are unable to allow students to participate this long due to their budget. All participating students, with a documented diagnosis of Autism or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) Deficit, will be required to complete the program.
School district involvement is very important to the success of a student with autism. If a district excludes students from the program, parents are entitled to request a reapplication process that must be completed. Students who were included once are entitled to readjust their participation status back into the program. Students who do not wish to participate are also entitled to opt-out.
A student with a disability like autism may not be succeeding in the regular classroom. An autism school program may be the perfect solution for educating your child. It is important that you have a number of resources available at your fingertips so that you can be sure that your child will have the appropriate tools to succeed.