Birthday at the Fort Fisher Aquarium and Autism Child Assessment

Birthday at the Fort Fisher Aquarium and Autism Child Assessment

Happy Birthday to my son.  He turned 14 yesterday.  Last weekend, we went to the Fort Fisher Aquarium to celebrate his birthday.  We do it every year.  It’s a tradition.  I’m beginning to believe that the tradition has run it’s course.  He didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as he used to.  I’ve noticed that he hasn’t been too happy about the last couple of visits.

Last night, I wasn’t able to do anything with my son for his birthday.  I had to take my daughter to church class.  I had my husband take him to SweetFrog, a frozen yogurt place in town.  When I returned home, my husband told me that our son was not happy.  He wanted me there with them.  I felt so bad.

I didn’t make a cake for my son, either.  I thought he would enjoy SweetFrog more than a cake.  I didn’t get him a present.  His present was the trip to the aquarium.  This morning, he wasn’t happy.  First thing he did when I got him out of bed was to point at his radio.  When he got his morning time on the computer, it was to look at radios.  I think he was expecting one as a present.  Keep in mind, he got a new one for Christmas.  He also has a couple of other ones in his room.  Radios are his latest obsession.  One that I can not afford to support.  I miss the days when he wanted to collect playing cards.

My son has a second follow-up with the doctor tomorrow.  I’m expecting everything to be fine.  His next surgery is scheduled for June.  I hate that he can’t do swimming lessons or Boy Scout Camp this summer.  He loves them both.  We will plan a family camping trip, but it won’t be the same.

I had an assessment done the other week.  North Carolina has changed support services provided through Medicaid.  Because of this, an in-depth assessment had to be done.  The lady doing the assessment has a special needs child.  She really understood my son’s abilities and disabilities.  She also made me feel that I was inadequate.  It wasn’t intentional, I’m sure.  My son attends a school for special needs children only.  They barely work on academic subjects.  They do work on some, and it’s across the board.  The same thing is taught to all the kids in my son’s class, even though they are all at different levels with academics.  They concentrate on daily living skills.

She said that I should have them put specific academic goals in his IEP.  That they should be focusing on teaching him academics, not living skills.  That it was up to them to provide him with what he needs to learn.  I tried to explain that the biggest problem in teaching my son academics is his ability to communicate answers.  He doesn’t talk, and he doesn’t write.

That’s why I have them concentrating on communication goals, and typewriting goals.  He types on the computer at home, when he is searching for something.  He just needs to consistently type for other reasons, in other settings.  My son isn’t getting younger.  At this stage, I think learning skills that will make him more independent should be our primary focus.

What do you think?  At age 14, do you think we should be focusing on trying to teach him grade level academics, even though he isn’t able to consistently demonstrate an understanding of what is being taught?  Or do you think we should be concentrating on getting him to be more independent in living and communication?

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