Today confirmed something I have known and beaten the dead horse on for a very long time. Today’s post WILL piss off a few folks but hopefully benefit enough of my readers that it will out weight those who are either sad or homicidal about this posting.
7 years ago Bird was in an pre-school autism class (PAC) with the lovely Mere. I met many of the kids and their parents back then and all of the kids except Bird had a pdd-nos (pervasive developmental delay non-specific) diagnosis except Bird. ALL of the kids in PAC were doing so much better than Bird we really worried they would be able to accommodate his needs.
One child I remember vividly will call him Rick was doing great. He had some language and seemed to want to interact with other kids. This was a far cry from Bird who was non-verbal, aggressive and have zero interest in the world around him. Rick was diagnosised with PDD-Nos and his mom was dead set against the PAC classroom which favored ABA and was rigid stating that Rick needed socialization more than work on behaviors and language.
Here is the part that will anger my readers…I myself am having a “how dare you” moment but I think it needs to be said. Rick does not have much language when I saw him today almost 7 years later. He was doing great and on the swim team which for a kid on the spectrum is wonderful but he has a ton of nonsensical stimm language and needs a great deal of prompting to follow simple directions like stand hear and wait for the start. Rick’s parents maybe and this is a maybe should have opted for the PAC option NOT non-cat for him so that language and behaviors would be the focus of his education. His potential is still there but it is incredibly hard to teach kids who have already formed patterns and established relationships with people as they get older.
I can’t begin to rant enough about how PDD-NOS is NOT better or worse than Autism as a diagnosis and how you SHOULD NOT relax and leave the teaching to the school system if your child dodged that bullet called autism! YOU SHOULD NOT! Many many kids are diagnosised PDD-NOS that will never not ever catch up to their peers so it is NOT a delay but in fact a neurological deficit. No, not all kids with pdd but all that I have seen (except those with ADD, ED and ODD that have been diagnosed with autism and are simply just badly behaved! this being the trend now a days). ALL kids typical and neuro diverse can benefit from ABA and if your child has a significant language delay you SHOULD put them into a structured ABA program!
Bird for those who have not read my blog before is doing AMAZING but still we work on socialization just as we have for the last 5 years! this however is always secondary to language and behavior because it should be! You can not have friends if you can’t keep your hands to yourself and you don’t sign, use assistive technology or are a speaker! FOCUS on what is necessary to create a decent peer relationship before inflicting others on your child or your child on others!
FCPS is really screwing the parents right now with regards to providing ABA and parents are allowing that to happen. I fear PAC becoming a thing of the past and see fewer and fewer parents attending classes on ABA. Long and the short of it is the there is no limit to what your child with autism can be (if it’s a single not dual diagnosis) with LOADS of work on YOUR part and the school system. You must advocate for the right things and while yes it is a tough pill to swallow that your child might be anywhere on the spectrum swallow it and move on! Your child is worth you not turning THEIR disability into your badge of honor and working hard to facilitate change. Perhaps start by not worrying as much about if they told you your child has autism or pink monkey fever and just address the needs of your child!
Happy Summer and Best,