Our son wanted to not have an aide in high school. And, here’s how it’s going…
How did we begin the transition?
My son had a full time aide in 7th grade. As the year ended, the aide would give him “breaks,” she wasn’t with him during snack and lunch. She would meet him at the classes that followed snack and lunch. He did well getting to those classes on time.
By the time 8th grade started, my son wanted more independence. At his IEP, we talked to his teachers, and made a plan.
There were two classes that had group activity. The teachers felt the support was needed. In three other classes, the teachers felt my son would be okay.
We switched those two classes to periods one and two.
My son had an aide for those two classes, and then no aide for the rest of the day.
What was the plan in high school?
My son wanted no aide. He felt confident that he could get to his classes on time, focus on partner and group work, and regulate himself with a fidget toy if needed.
How is that going?
I want to report that it’s going really well. In my heart of hearts, I know my son can go through high school without an aide. But, so far, it’s been bumpy.
*My son has been late for a few classes.
We asked him why he was late. His responses were things like, “I didn’t hear the warning bell,” and “I had to go to my locker,” and “I’m not sure.”
*My son has been caught playing games on his phone.
Well, this one was actually easy for my husband and I. We told him that if another teacher sees that you’re on your phone playing games during class, we want that teacher to tell us. Then, you will no longer get your phone at school. You will leave it home.
*My son has forgotten to turn in homework.
He has a folder labelled, “Completed work.” We discussed with him how he should get himself organized, every day, during his Resource Lab, a class that is specifically designed to help special needs students get organized. When homework gets completed, it all goes into the “Completed Folder,” which he has with him at all times.
*My son gets uncomfortable when he gets too sweaty. During the 100 degree days that we’ve had, this creates a problem because he squirms and feels very comfortable in his lower region. This makes it look like he’s doing inappropriate touching. He’s not, but that’s not the way it looks.
We discussed with him that he has to try to put the uncomfortableness out of his mind. I said that the only other thing I could do is pack him a clean set of underwear. (Because that’s exactly what a high school student would want, right, an extra pair of underwear in their backpack?) Wisely, he said, “no thanks,” to the underwear. So, if he doesn’t want to go that route, then he has to figure out a way to deal with it without attracting undue attention.
*My son’s Spanish class started out so rocky, that we met with the IEP and specifically with the Spanish teacher. That meeting went well, and he’s shown improvement in the class.
*My son forgot that he had a test in biology. He studied the night before, which turned out to be not enough studying because he got a low grade. My son typically does well in science and math class, but over the years the high grades have been due to being more prepared.
He promises that will not happened again. He has to write down the dates of all upcoming tests.
How are we supporting him?
My husband and I (with my son’s input) have developed a chart to support his behaviors and schoolwork (class participation, in-class work, homework, and tests/quizzes).
This chart has points that he can earn or lose.
His motivation is to be able to attend Smash 4 tournaments on a monthly basis (taking September off). This is very important to our son.
We’re hoping to motivate him enough so that he earns these trips.
In the past, he has been able to re-focus and ultimately end up doing well in school.
We have high hopes that he’ll right-the-ship! A Student with Autism Transitions to No School Aide
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