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  • Writer's pictureDawn Neufeld

Autism With a Whole Lot of Awareness

Seeing that it's autism awareness month and all, I feel compelled to share this with the hope that it will help someone else.

We had a meeting today at Will's school about whether or not he should attend ESY (which is basically summer school to make sure our kiddos don't regress. Will has gone every year since we've lived in Frisco.

Early in the meeting we discussed our ultimate goal - that Will attend Gen Ed classes. We were able to mainstream him in a couple classes in elementary school. We tried to at the beginning of this school year but it didn't work out (I'm willing to bet he would've done better with proper support). He's in a full-contained class now... which is probably easier for everyone, but definitely not what we want for him.

While we were waiting for some info to be confirmed, someone said they'd never had an ARD like this (i.e. fighting over ESY). Usually it was pretty black and white - either the kiddo REALLY needs it or not. But not this kind. And it made me think about all the other autism parents who have to deal with this because their kids just don't meet the criteria for ESY - they aren't disabled enough.

And then the "Jesus Take the Wheel" moment. Someone in the room said, "I think we need to be realistic. School is just is just going to get harder, so he probably won't be in gen ed."

If I'd had hoops on... but alas, I didn't. So I told her how I learned to NOT underestimate Will by telling a story about Will answering homework in Chinese (he taught himself). There were a couple of uncomfortable chuckles and we wrapped things up. But it was pretty tough pill to swallow when the people responsible for your kid's education don't have much faith in him. He has a wonderful teacher and aides and he's in an incredible classroom environment. He's been doing so well this year thanks to them. But I'm certainly not the one who is going to tolerate limits being placed on my kid's potential.

Still trying to wrap my head around this but had to get it off my chest because it's been bugging me all day. It won't stop us from fighting the good fight though.

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