|Nick Working in HS Cafeteria|
"The first battle was getting the school to buy into the reality that no matter how much time Nick spent in a Special Day Class, no matter well he was doing and no matter what he learned, if he could not translate that knowledge directly into a vocation or show how it improved his independence, it was USELESS"
When I started this journey I thought the challenge was early intervention, because no one knew about autism. I was wrong, now everyone has heard about it and it's still every man for themselves, one kid, one program, one outcome at a time all measured by how much we each can put into the process. Sad but true, the buck always come back to parents and caregivers.
Here's what we are doing to improve Nick's outcome after HS.
I'm sure many of you can give me more input on how you're making progress.
|Nick loves Books....him just hanging our reading.|
I'm happy to report that we've made progress and I wanted to share the process. The first battle was getting the school to buy into the reality that no matter how long Nick spent in the SDC, no matter what he learned in the classroom setting, if he could not translate it directly into a vocation or show how it improved his independence, it was USELESS. A big ouch for educators who are well intended. For example, if Nick can do math in the workbooks in class, but he can't translate basic addition and subtraction to money, he can't independently buy things from a bus pass, to groceries or clothing and he can't order and pay in a restaurant, so have to cross out one of the most basic skills required for independence.
The second battle, was mediation because even once the school bought into the idea, they had no programs and the district rules said they could not create one. Nick was required under the rules of "Common Core" to remain in the classroom, take all the coursework so he could test and pass the standards. What's funny about this in Nick's case is HE IS NOT ON THE DIPLOMA TRACK AND WON'T BE GETTING A DIPLOMA - BUT THEY STILL SAID HE HAD TO CONTINUE WITH THE COURSEWORK!!! Fortunately Federal law provided support, because the point of an IEP is to create the best educational program for each child. That said, the district finally agreed, and the school was given permission to create a real Individualized Education Program for Nick!
Third, now that he could come out of the classroom, where to put him? I had been building a relationship with school leadership for years, and had a team open to do the work needed to build a unique program inclusive of gen ed teachers willing to accept and support Nick. I know you're all really surprised to learn that all general education teachers are not open to having our kids in their classroom! LOL. Then we had to build a program where he could spend his day learning to use what he's learned in class for the past 14 years in various settings, with a focus on vocational skills. Here's his schedule now:
|Nick Dressed Up To Sing in School|
Choir Holiday Program!
- Homeroom (SDC)
- PE (APE)
- Language Arts (SDC)
- General Ed Ceramics (where he does ceramics which he loves and helps the teacher with jobs)
- Teachers Aid (TA) - For PE Coach
- General Ed Choir - Where he sings which is building new brain connections and he works on his social skills and functioning in a group.
- Cafeteria Worker - Does various jobs as asked by supervisor
- Afterschool - Farm Program
- Feed the dogs
- Give the dogs water
- Clean up after the dogs in the yard
- Put clean silverware away
- Take the trashcans out on trash pick up day
- Organize cloths for the week
- Empty Dishwasher
- Gather his dirty laundry
- Sort mom's filing alphabetically (new I'm tapping into this love for letters)
- Shed papers
- Take out trash and recycle
He is learning how to follow instructions to cook. We use mix's so he can read the box (i.e. cookies, mac and cheese). We are starting with his favorites! Even a simple direction followed precisely with measuring is a big deal for us! This is a place where he gets immediate reinforcement for using math!
So that's what I have share your ideas.