A chance to fit in

A chance to fit in

Shortly after my son was born, I enrolled him into a highly coveted preschool waitlist. Two years later, I got the call that he was in. I was excited for my little guy to start preschool and make some gains in his development — however he was beginning to show signs of a progressive form of autism, and we were on a road of evaluations, tests and more tests. I knew an autism diagnosis was looming, but he presented to his team of doctors in a complex way, and the jury was still out.

Day one: He looked adorable and I was feeling confident. Then as we headed toward his cubby, he got closer to me and halted. I kept calm and told myself: “He can do this! I can do this!” I gently tugged him along and we put away his things.

As the morning progressed, I was having trouble separating from him, even with the help of a very nice teacher. I finally saw an opportunity, made a quick wave to him, and headed toward the door. He seemed to be doing fine, and I smiled a bit as I passed another parent.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw my son grab that parent’s hand. I saw him try to pull her toward the door. She did her best to direct him back to the other kids. Then I heard the scream. He bit her… hard. Private preschools have many rules, and I guess there was a zero tolerance for biting rule.

Day one was our last day. My son was kicked out of preschool before he even began. 

This was my initiation into the challenging years of trying to find the right placement for a child with autism. Although it continues to remain a process (and probably always will), there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The fit may never be perfect, but you learn more about their needs at every step of the way. You learn about accommodations, least restrictive environment, learning supports, one-on-one aides, and more. You have the ability to provide your children with the opportunities they need and deserve, and you are their strongest advocate to help them fit in.

Fitting in is not always easy for children with autism — but every child deserves that chance!

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I incorporated these issues and topics into Modules 8 and 9 of Discovering Behavioral Intervention (DBI). If you are a DBI parent, please refer to the following chapters:

  • Least Restrictive Environment
  • Inclusion
  • Private Placements

For more information about DBI, please visit the product page: http://www.udiscovering.org/products/discovering-behavioral-intervention

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