• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”
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One Step Closer?? Doesn’t Feel that Way

Earlier this week my husband and I had a “virtual” meeting, turned conference call with the Special Education Coordinators at Aspie Teen’s virtual high school (K12). The meeting was to inform us about the steps they would take next in order to evaluate, and make accommodations for Aspie Teen.

In the paperwork that I sent them, I asked for a lot—well, everything I could think of anyway. I asked for shorter lesson assignments, a dedicated person to put all his lessons together for the day in one place, untimed tests, a quiet area to take tests when he has to go “on site,” an exception to foreign language requirement (more about that later), or at least an alternate class offering, etc. I figured I would ask for everything and see what they came back with.

Anyway, the meeting was just to introduce us to the school psychologist, speech therapist, and Special Ed Coordinator. One of my complaints about Aspie Teen’s online high school is that the user interface is terrible. There are many quirks, and many hours are wasted dealing with their software issues. In fact, we were supposed to “meet” in a class connect, an online classroom, which did not work. We could not log in, which happens frequently to Aspie Teen when he tries to enter.

When the school psychologist couldn’t access the system, our meeting turned into a conference call, which was better than what they originally suggested—rescheduling. The conference call was difficult too because the coordinator could not conference more than one other person in at a time, so they needed to take turns. These technical issues are ridiculous especially when they waste a lot of learning time during the day. For a student like my son, who takes an extremely long time to get through even one lesson, being stuck with tech issues for hours is a nightmare. Plus it completely frazzles the both of us!

An hour and half later, we had our “meeting.” We were informed that they will “schedule” a time to meet with Aspie Teen to further evaluate him for special education needs, and to evaluate his speech, and to evaluate….you get the point. This is after they received his ASD documentation from his doctor. I’m frustrated because it is taking a very long time.

Hubby says that we are “one step closer,” but I don’t feel that way. I have the patience god gave a goat! It’s been a long road; I was misdiagnosed; he was undiagnosed, and we have struggled for a very long time. Finally the pieces fell in place, (ASD diagnosis made sense of the madness) and still there is more waiting, more meetings, more evaluations, more talking….dang it, I just want him to get some help, now!

BTW- It just took me over two hours to help him edit a 600 word essay because his mind is so set in stone that he argues about every and any change! Even when a word is wrong, even when the grammar is wrong…he doesn’t want to change it.  He wants it to stay exactly they way he wrote it!!

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Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.