Ever since my son was diagnosed with Aspergers I worried about high school. Elementary school was hard enough with all the academic and social issues - how the hell would he survive High school?
I started doing some research when he was in grade 4 and I surprised to find that there were high schools that were specifically designed to assist students with an ASD. I was even more thrilled to learn that the one High school in our very own city was the actual school that pioneered the whole ASD program! I filed the information in the one side of my brain and vowed to continue to research the whole high school issue in a few years.
Elementary school continued to be a struggle and he was lucky if he received marks higher than a C. I was frustrated as I knew he was smart - smarter than most yet he just couldn't function properly in a main stream program, yet there really were no other options at that point.
Finally a breakthrough happened in grade 6. After an IPRC meeting it was determined that he would attend a middle school that had an ASD program. Lucky for me this school was also our home school.
What a difference! Here is how the ASD program works.
There is the homeroom which serves as the base. All students (usually there are a max of 8) start off in this class, with a main teacher and about 2 - 3 TA's. They are taught the same curriculum as all the other students, but they are not necessarily on the same tight time frame. For example, a mainstream class may be working on a specific social studies assignment that must be completed by the end of 4th period. The ASD class may be working on the exact same assignment but suddenly a social issue comes up - the ASD teachers can stop the lesson and begin a discussion on what just occurred. This discussion may then lead into some social skills role playing etc... they can continue the lesson the next day.
Some students may need to stay in this "homeroom" the entire year and have all their lessons taught here, others however, will slowly begin to integrate into the mainstream classes, some may only integrate one or two or some may be like my son who not only integrated into almost all classes but also into the gifted classes! The boy who was struggling to get C's was now in academically gifted classes and was on the honour roll last year!
Last week I attend once again an IPRC meeting at the board for Joshua. They were recommending an ASD High school. In fact they thought he would be best suited for the very same High school that pioneered the whole program. The very school I read about so many yaers ago. I was very happy. Not only would he take all his classes at the Academic level but he will have the comfort of his "homebase room" where he will spend a min of one period there everyday where he will be able to complete homework with help if need, and the teachers will ensure he is keeping up. The ASD tachers will be available to stay in the mainstream class with him if needed and all his tests will be written in the "base" class. he will be assisted in becoming independent but also have the security of being helped if things get to be to much.
Today we took a tour of the school that he will begin in the fall of 2013. He was very excited and loved it!
Seeing my younger son who also has Aspergers struggle in grade 2 this year a decision was made to place him in an elementary school that has an ASD program. After seeing what a difference it has made to his older brother I feel it will only benefit Zachary.
Where you aware that there are schools who offer such ASD programs?
Until next time,