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Name: ange
[ Original Post ]
I am new to this forum and I need input from parents who have experienced a similar situation that we are now facing. Our son, who is 5 was diagnosed at age 4 with moderate to mildly severe autism along with developmental delays. He had very limited verbal skills. However, he has regressed and has not spoken a word in the last 6 weeks. During the school year, he was in the special needs class, received OT and ST. He also was in the typical preschool class in the afternoons. He was doing well with his speech and he did well in the classrooms until the later part of the year. He regressed to the point where he would just roll on the floor in the classroom and would not participate with the other students.

In his end of the year IEP meeting, I requested that his ST and OT continue into the summer as well as receiving extended school year services in teaching. Our son was not granted OT or ST through the summer because his therapists did not think he would regress over the summer. But he did. Now he will not talk at all.

Now the new school year is upon us. Our son will continue to be in the special needs class but will also be mainstreamed into the K5 class in the afternoons with 25 other children, a teacher and a teacher's aid. I did a lot of research about the advantages and disadvantages of a child on the spectrum having a shadow. I am at a loss. I am trying to decide if I should request that my son have a shadow this year due to the fact that he did not come close to meeting his IEP goals last school year. He regressed during the school year and also regressed in his speech during the summer. I am just looking for some input here because I just do not know what would be best. I do not have a peace about my non verbal child being in this class without assistance. I welcome any thoughts as I am still learning so much and am new to this entire journey of autism. Thank you for taking time to read and to share.
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Name: tjl409 | Date: Nov 28th, 2012 12:58 AM
Hi Ange,
As the parent of an autistic child, I know how difficult and stressful life can be. Although there are many charecteristics of this diagnosis that we feel powerless against, there are some aspects that we can control.
ESY is essential for growth and development since our children thrive in environments that are centered on "routiene"based activities. It may mean less time down the shore, but is well worth it.
Autism does not take the summer off! Why should OT and ST?
You need to be aware that you are the best and only true advocate for you child - in your heart, you know what is best. If you child's therapists do not think like you, find some that do.
PURPOSE-PERSISTANCE-POWER
Take the time to schedule appointments with health care professionals (OT, ST, PT). Solicit their advice and have them design a program that is most advantageous for your child. Try to get them to attend the meeting (strengh in numbers). If you can't get them to attend, arm yourself with those documented recomendations and OWN the next IEP meeting. Ask for much more than you need and you will probably get what you want. Remember, school districts are obligated to provide an appropriate education for ALL children.
A well trained shadow is an amazing asset, request one that is well trained.
All the best in your endeavors 

Name: Anuna | Date: Nov 30th, 2012 12:13 PM
Hi Ange,

Welcome to the forum. Being a speech therapist, I completely understand how hard it would be. I can help you out in developing your son's communication. Have you heard about Avaz? It is an excellent aac app that develops spontaneous communication in autism kids. Try it out
www.avazapp.com.
Wish he will like it too.

Warmly,
Anuna 

Name: Grandma Karen | Date: Jan 1st, 2013 8:21 PM
ange
It is not easy to have a non-verbal autistic child. It leaves you making decisions about what is right for your child without any input from your child. Go with your heart. If you are uncomfortable with a decision change it. In the long run you will need only to account to yourself.
Karen 

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