A mother explains the process she went through to make sure her Autistic son was ready for kindergarten
Parents and children are getting into the back to school routine.
However, children with developmental disorders, like autism, have to go about it a little bit differently. A ticking clock... a humming fan.
These might seem like background noise to many people, but, for someone with autism, these sounds can make it very difficult to focus.
"That's why you see the shutdown in school, because school is a incredibly dynamic environment," says Jennifer Perry, Autism Specialist at the Developing Minds Center. "There's lots of change, and you have to be intrinsically motivated to learn."
Shelley Price had to make sure her new kindergartner was as adjusted as possible. which requires a little prep work.
"I took pictures of his classroom and the door he was going to go in and we looked at those pictures again before school started," she says. "There's lots of disabilities, but with autism... you really have a hard time with new things and transitions and changes."
One of the biggest difficulties for children with autism is learning how to engage with others. For example, two children doing a puzzle would normally be laughing and generally acknowledging each other, while child with autism would only be focused on the task at hand.
Perry says this is why Autism is particularly difficult for a parent or teacher, in that the child is not looking to them for help or feedback.
According to Perry, the first step is talking to a pediatrician. The actual diagnosis comes from a specialist. Then, a treatment plan is developed.
Depending on the diagnosis, treatment options might include physical therapy, speech therapy, or relational development intervention, the specialty of the Developing Minds Center.
Parents should also talk to their school.
Price said she spoke with her child's school about three months ago to prepare for the first day on August 1st.
Generally, she says he is in a "normal" classroom.
"Things are a little bit harder, like the reading and the math," she explains, "He goes to a resource room with a smaller group and has a teacher that specializes with certain learning needs."
For now, the best piece of advice Price can give is to take action early.
"As soon as you see something, you have to start the process. Because the process can be long. "
Treatment such as speech therapy or physical therapy are usually covered by insurance. Autism itself, though, is often not recognized by insurance companies.
Price says she writes Congress hoping to see a change. In the meantime, certain treatment centers will provide scholarships.