Autism Questionnaire #2

by PammyMcB

Below is the same autism questionnaire from before. However, this one was done by a friend of mine. The names of the people and school have been changed to protect identities.

1. When your child was first diagnosed with autism what went through your mind?

When Xxxxx was diagnosed he was 35 months old. The first thought was “REALLY!” and then it was how do we fix it. I spent days on the Internet looking at ways to help my son. At the time we were living in North Carolina.

2. What has your experience with the school system been like throughout the years?

The first two years were really good; all of Xxxxx’s needs were being met. Then in first grade it was a fight to get what he needed, and even more of a battle with the teacher he had. After the first six weeks of school Xxxxx’s teacher called me and told me she had tried everything to keep Xxxxx on task, and she had ran out of ideas. She then told me flat out, “Ms. Xxxxxx, I don’t know how to teach your son.” My soul died at that very moment, to think that maybe no one would ever be able to teach him. This year has been a wonderful year. The teacher that Xxxxx has is not afraid of him, and he has learned so much more then years past.

3. What advice do you have for future teachers with dealing with students with autism and work with families?

My advise to teachers is just this…Keep open communication with the parents letting them know what you are doing to teach their child, Understand where the parents are coming from at home, they have been living with the child and know the child a lot better than you. Don’t be afraid to have a child with autism in your class…they will take advantage of your fear. Educate yourself every chance that you get on new ways to teach our children, and keep a notebook telling you what works with the child in your class and what does not work. Don’t be afraid to ask for Help, The school board, and principle of the school as well as other resources in the area are always willing to help you as a teacher.

4. How did your family/society look at your child when they find out about their autism?

I don’t have family, and my Ex-husbands family steered away from us. Society at first when people see my son having a meltdown screaming,” Help Me! Let Go of Me!” or when he is just screaming period in the store, others look at me, like what is your problem, can’t you control your child, that kid needs a good spanking. I have actually stopped in the middle of Wal-Mart with people staring at me and said,” It’s alright folks, My son is Autistic and he is not getting what he wants.” Most people then give that look of Oh I get it…but they don’t and keep walking and others give me the look of, “Just give him what he wants so we can shop in peace!”

5. How has the school system aided your child throughout the years? How have they helped you?

The school has opened up a resource Library for Teachers and parents to learn more about Autism and children with Disabilities. They have found the funds to get my son a weighted vest, as well as other items for sensory issues that he has. They have worked to find a program that works in teaching my son. How the school has helped me is through a communication sheet that the teachers fill out daily to let me know how my son has done in class, I also fill this form out each morning to let the teachers know of any changes that may effect their day.

6. Where do you find main support comes dealing with a child with autism?

There are many areas of support that a parent can get…. Because I am a single mother of two, my support comes from King Xxxxx’s Kids a support group for parents, siblings, and the child with Disabilities here in town. My biggest support are the teachers at school…If I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, a lot of times they will give me a simple hug, and tell me, we will all get through it. Next year my son moves up to Intermediate and I don’t feel that I will have the support that is needed for my son or myself. My biggest supporter of all is God and His word. I also have made good friends that every Wednesday evening we sit while our children are in therapy at West Texas Rehab, and talk about all that is going on and each of us is at a different stage, but that is where the support is coming from. The factor that those like Pam has an older child than I and she has already gone through the issues that I am dealing with right now.

7. What is the best advice that has been given to you as a parent?

The best advice I have ever received was given to me last week and believe me I was surprised to where it was coming from. It was the verse of the day from Air1 the alternative Christian music station that I listen too…I. Corinthians 13:7 “ Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

8. What did you tell the siblings of your other children regarding your child with autism? How do you deal with that?

I have a 14 year old daughter, who was only 7 when we found out that her brother was Autistic, and at first she treated him fragile like he was going to break, and then as the years have gone on she has become frustrated with having a brother like this, but has learned through King David’s Kids, that there are others out there, like her and that she is not alone. She still has her moments that she needs to vent, and I let her. She has every right to.

9. What is the biggest struggle your student has faced in school? What is the biggest struggle you have faced as a parent?

The Biggest Struggle that Xxxxx has experienced is separation anxiety from me. If I come to his school and he sees me then he believes that he has to come home with me at that very moment. He has a break down every time that I have to drop him off at school. Although he is in second grade and we have been doing this for four years now, Xxxxx still has a problem with me dropping him off. I can’t participate in school functions because of this problem.

10. How have you helped develop your child socially?

Socially I have involved Xxxxx in Church, KDK, and allowed college students who have worked with my son to take him to ACU to interact with others.

11. How do the other students in the school help your child?

Right now the children from what I have been told look out for him, and especially the girls make sure that he is doing what he is suppose to be doing during transition times from class to class. Some try to interact with him on the playground.

12. What is your advice to other parents?

My advice to other parents is to build a good support group, get into counseling to deal with the emotional stress’s of having a child with disabilities, learn the skills needed to stand up for your child, because you may be their only advocate. But most of all NEVER GIVE UP!

13. What are some resources you have found helpful?

The Internet has been very resourceful, as well as talking with other parents who have children with the same disability. Finding a good counselor to help me as a single parent deal with the stresses has also been a great resource.

14. What is the biggest struggle you have faced in the school system?

The biggest struggle I have faced is the ARDS I have had to attend. The first two ARDS I left crying because I had teachers, and the principle tell me that they knew what was best for my child and that they have dealt with children like him before. Every child that is Autistic is different and should not be dealt with the same as ones previous. Every Autistic child learns differently and cannot be stereotyped as being the same.

15. What progress have you seen in your child throughout the years?

Xxxxx has made great progress in the Xxxxx School System. He has learned social skills, he continues to learn math, and ready with the PECS system, and has great school pride.

16. Tell some fun story about your child!

There are many fun stories that I could tell you about Xxxxx, but the one that is sticking out in my mind is when he had his MRI. Xxxxx had to be put under for this process, and as he was coming to, he was wanting to get up and my ex-husband said,” Maybe we should find a padded room so he doesn’t hurt himself.” Xxxxx’s response was “ I want a padded couch.” I laughed so hard at the effects of the drugs that he was coming off of.