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We suspect autism/aspergers syndrome and want to know how to obtain a proper diagnosis.
I would highly suggest an expert in diagnosing Aspergers. A list of evaluators can be gained from: http://www.oregonparentsunited.org/providers/providers3.htm
The professionals on this list will need to be appropriately screened by you to find out if they have expertise in the field of autism/aspergers.
The FEAT of Oregon Parent guide has the DSM 4 criteria for autism listed at:http://feator.org/pguide/24.htm
Our child is newly diagnosed, where do we start?
A good list of how to start is also available at: http://firstsigns.org/pages/parent_resources/columns_waltz.html
- Try to take a course in basic autism and the grieving process from someone like Sharone Lee of Threshold. This will lead to research and determining an educational methodology (see below) via books, listserves, and networking with parents.
- Research and consider simple vitamin therapies/supplements (B6, Magnesium, DMG)
- Ensure your child's medical needs are met (gut problems with diarrhea, constipation which can cause difficulty in potty training, seizures (some that are not easily detected and require a 24 hour EKG), and the list goes on).
Try to find a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) aware doctor to help you with tests and supplements. Supplements can get overwhelming, especially if your child doesn't take pills or is a picky eater. Vitamins/Supplements include: Cod Liver Oil (CLO), Glutethian, Zinc, Trace Minerals, Enzymeaide/Serinaide (to break down the milk and wheat proteins often a problem in our kids), Supernu Thera (B6 and other vitamins made for children/adults with autism), Magnesium (to offset high concentration of B6), Pro Bio Gold, Culturelle, and lots more.
Your doctor will probably talk to you about a GFCF Diet (gfcfkids.com), mercury detoxification, seratonin, and other therapies pertinent to your child.
As with all drugs, you need to be careful. Some feel that doing "kitchen experiments" on our children can be dangerous and that we should wait until all supplements and therapies are properly researched. Unfortunately, this can take years.
- Somewhere early on you will need to deal with the IFSP process, learn the IDEA law (which include your and your child's rights) and the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORSs). Many ORSs interpret the Federal IDEA law so this is also important.
What are our educational treatment options?
Although you will find several different answers, here are mine:
Eclectic: This is the state of Oregon's educational model of treatment. A past educator literally wrote the book on the eclectic methodology called Autism - Facts and Strategies for Parents by Janzen, Janice E., MS. This is a somewhat treasure chest approach where each issue that comes up due to autism often has an explanation in the book and a way to resolve the issue. Her approach is both behavioral and developmental. Many eclectic programs sound great - take the best piece from each approach and put it together. In an eclectic program you will often find Speech Services, Occupational Therapy, behavior approaches and behavioral assessments dealing with behaviors (Applied Behavior Analysis - ABA), work baskets (Structured Teaching), visuals - schedules and prompting cards (Structured Teaching), Discrete Trial (Applied Behavior Analysis - ABA), and either Pivotal Response Training (ABA) or Greenspan's Floortime (Developmental) for play therapies. Although many parents and professionals can't understand what could be wrong with eclectic approach, one parent summed it up very elegantly:
Eclecticism is such a popular term in the field of education. It has such a worldly cosmopolitan ring, doesn't it? When I hear someone say they have an "eclectic" approach to a problem they either (a) do not understand the problem, (b) do not have a solution, or (c) both.
Eclecticism is not in itself researched. It is difficult to research a moving target and proponents will have you believe because ABA, Structured Teaching, and other sections have research behind them, it is not needed. Unfortunately, like with medicines, when put together - your results may vary widely.
Structured Teaching: I have no experience in this model. Please see University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Division TEACCH (http://www.teacch.com/) or Sharone Lee's website http://www.understandingautism.org/
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): based on the behavioral model this includes (1) Experimental Analysis of Behavior (The investigation through highly controlled and systematic scientific manipulation of the governing laws of behavior) (2) Behaviorism (The philosophical underpinnings of behavior science) (3) Applied Behavior Analysis (The application of laws derived from Experimental Analysis of Behavior to problems of human concern)
Like anything in life, this model is not easy. It can take several months to a year or more to really understand the basics. But the true benefits come when you know how to teach your child those difficult to remember letters, to read, to write, to deal with behaviors at Walmart or a restaurant. It is a basis for teaching and a way of life. By understanding the basic principals, you no longer need to look it up in a book, you can make educated guesses based on "data" then adapt teaching techniques to ensure success and efficiency. How else did Lovaas get a 47% rate of "recovery" (and I use that term loosely).
Is there any elementry schools in Oregon for children with learning disorders?
Most communities have mainstreaming options and some have specialized "Life Skills" classrooms for children with autism. It is best to check with the individual school district.
How do i teach a non-verbal 5 year old to speak in school? He does try to say sounds when he's frustrated.
Find a speech pathologist that specializes in autism and ABA. Put together a home program that uses Verbal Behavior to break down speech into smaller teachable units.