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Name: Jaxs Mom
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hi! im angie..a.k.a. jaxs mom. he is 2 1/2 and was just diagnosed with autism in march. i would love to find other moms like me for support and tips for everyday life with an autistic child. would like to hear your story and how you deal with making there life better. ive ordered so many books and tried to research online everything i can on autism since it is so new to me but i think id rather hear first hand from real people who live it everyday just like me. my son is awesome and i want to do my very best to find out all i need to know to make sure he is happy. it is hard but im stubborn and will find a way to get through this.. anyone out there i can relate to who needs support like me and would like to talk just to feel better.. please reply.. would love to hear from you.
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Name: jenlgeiger | Date: May 8th, 2011 9:04 PM

I am not a parent of a child with Autism, but I am a teacher in our district's Autism program. I work with students that are 2nd - 6th grade and the scenario that you have mentioned sounds very much like the development pattern for most of my students. That of course, doesn't mean that he has Autism but if he has enough Autism characteristics he may benefit from certain interventions whether he is actually diagnosed or not. (By the way, how is his motor skills? Does he move as fluidly as his peers?)

Most of the students that are in our program are fully included in the general education setting but they require extra supports to be successful. They are not the 55 - 75% that have mild to severe cognitive disabilities. So it is possible that he is in this category somewhere. Also, students with Autism can be hard to assess so it is not unusual for students to be underestimated cognitively.

I am not an expert, and I don't know your exact situation, but I think that your husband may be wrong about the stricter discipline. I say this because most of the families that my students come from tend to try this first. Typically it is at the suggestion of a family member that believes what the kid needs is more discipline.

I would suggest visual supports. For example, I would develop a visual schedule for your son and try to stick with it. Get pictures of what you will want him to do. Make picture cards of things that you would like for him to choose. For example, breakfast. Give him two choices of preferred items (not too many choices). Make sure to reinforce the visual with verbal and sensory cues. (Cat = show picture, saw word, pet an actual cat, or hear a meow from the computer). The more senses you can involve the more likely he will attach meaning to the word you are trying to teach him.

My suggestion is also, keep your husband close to you. Keep your relationship strong/. Your son will need both of you. Find someone you trust to watch your son and go out on date nights or whatever you like so that he gets attention too. Parents of children with disabilities have higher divorce rates than the national average.

The great news is that early intervention pays off BIG. Find resources right away to help him with verbal, social, and motor development. ↑ 

Name: sidther | Date: May 19th, 2011 12:09 AM
Dear Angie, I am a mom to a 7 year old bou who was diagnosed with ASD very early on. His first diagnosis by a multidisciplinary team was at 12 months after his progress reversed although it was more of a "strong suspicion" until 18 months.
I write a lot about the daily personal challenges, tips, tricks and social issues if you ever want to read my rambling just search "sidther" they are all personal stories, you can also email me. [email protected]
Stubborn is good! Books are a great place to start but honestly there is no one size fits all technique- if he is not responsive to a method after trying it out for a reasonable amount of time then you may need to try something else, it also does not work as well if it is not your style. Learn from his professional therapists- observe, ask for exercises to practice on your own and be very proud of every bit of progress. I am sure that by now you have heard that there is no cure, don't confuse that with ability to make progress.

The most important advice I can give you is ....
Stay stubborn, do not take no for an answer from insurance companies
Learn what services he is eligible for both privately and in school, sometimes they do not qualify (legitimately) and sometimes they do- learn to tell the difference- if you are denied any, ask why- be nice, but if he is entitled a service you must be firm.
Do not stress about the little stuff
When you start to feel overwhelmed, ask for help.
Make learning fun, from holding a spoon, math and dressing himself appropriately, to social rules and compassion- you will be doing more teaching than the average parent, it is best if he can enjoy most of it!

See, I ramble.
Nice meeting you, please feel free to find me if you need any help or someone to vent to! 

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