All About Autism

Discuss issues related to children who have special needs or learning difficulties
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slmkhoo
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Re: All About Autism

Post by slmkhoo » Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:31 pm

Cool Cool wrote:
slmkhoo wrote:
tyeogh wrote:... There is no way a diagnosed aspie can miraculously "catch up". Not unless he is a savant which only 7% of aspies are according to statistics. On the contrary, aspies need their learning processes "broken down" into smaller parts. So they can learn part by part at their own pace. If your child attends EIP, you should understand what I mean. The child is capable of learning. Just at a slower pace than NT children.

Dear Slmkhoo,

Very well noted. I know these come from very experience mum and many thanks.
That was tyeogh, not me, but I do agree! Take it in small steps, at the appropriate level for your child, and although it seems slow, after many small steps, you will be able to look back and see how far he has progressed.

tyeogh
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Re: All About Autism

Post by tyeogh » Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:13 pm

Yup, that's me. Nothing escapes the eyes of our resident guru slmkhoo! Lol.

Cool Cool,
Glad to be of help. Agree with slmkhoo. We make decisions that are best for our aspie kid, never mind the system. For me, the hardest part was drawing speech out of my son. At least you got that going for your son. After that, it is all about making him use language to communicate his needs and expanding his vocabulary. Once you can engage your son at his level, he will make progress. I have 3 other NT kids older than my aspie son. They are doing well in school. But to me, the sweetest amongst my children is my aspie boy. It is as though he is aware of his disability and because of it, is kind hearted and loving towards people. Take heart to know you are only doing what's best for him. :grphug:

DesertWind
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Re: All About Autism

Post by DesertWind » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:52 pm

Hi Cool Cool, Tyeogh and all,

How are you?

Cool Cool's post prompted me to share and I hope my sharing can further help you in your consideration and decision for your child.

My boy is now 10.5 yo and was in mainstream P4. We deferred his P1 and in the following year engaged a shadow teacher to support him in the mainstream school. He had shadow-support for 3 years. But in middle of P3, my boy started having frequent meltdowns and reacted very badly during SA1. The shadow teacher and case manager told me he was task-avoidance and having very bad attitude which we should not let him get away with. However, my motherly instinct told me he was very stressed and I told everybody to STOP! and do not "force" my boy anymore. After that, I applied to Pathlight for my boy but he was rejected reason being they don't think he could clear the PSLE, not even Foundation. We were disappointed indeed and so he ended up starting P4 in mainstream school although we had hope that he would start in Pathlight. I stopped the shadow support at P4 thinking to see how he would fared out without the added stress. Things seemed fine until the teacher called me up and insisted that I went in to observe him in class. I had the "privilege" of going in couple of times a week for the past few months to observe him and was horrified to see how disengaged he was. Initially, I too, thought the problem was his task avoidance but suddenly I asked him "Is this work too difficult for you?" and my boy said "Yes". So he absolutely refused to do any worksheet or take out any textbook. Furthermore, he could not do composition, could not do comprehension and upon insistence, would complete MCQ questions quickly and got most of them wrong. The most alarming thing to me was that he was started to skip class and was caught by me when I went into school to shadow him. He has never done that! He was also starting to act silly when he attended the pull-out class for a particular subject when previously his behaviour was alright.

At about the same time, another SPED school offered to interview him and after an assessment and 2-days of trial classes, offered him a place at the SPED school. I made the most difficult decision to transfer him to this SPED school and until now we have not yet given up on the mainstream school as cutting it out is the most scary thing imaginable to us. Could not bring ourselves to write to the school yet, told them to give us 3 months!

Yes, Cool Cool, even if you decide to spend the money to get a shadow teacher, must be prepared to see it though all the way or else mid-stream, what are you going to do if you could not sustain? Same as for international school. There is no cheap international or private sped school around. Unless you consider the primary school along Novena - Thomson (San Yu adventist primary school)? No vacancy for my boy's level already!

I had to force myself to think of the eventuality that what if he fails PSLE where will my boy go for secondary school? True, there are a couple of schools he can go to but he will not be well-supported and they are not meant for special kids. So now, I had to make a tough choice - force him to do PSLE or transfer him out now into the SPED school system?

We chose the door that has opened but are still wondering whether it is the right decision or not. If we go by "peace in the heart", how to have peace when you are making a choice that no parents would wish to do? Although actually we really SHOULD be thankful to God that my boy would have a place to go to all the way until he is 21 years old (supported by MOE) if necessary! On a positive note, after attending for one month of SPED school, it seems like my boy is now TALKING MORE.... is it because now that the pressure is off?

I should also mention that I have asked my boy many times whether he wants to go back to the mainstream school or go to the special school? My boy answered every time that he wants to go to the sped school. When I asked why? He said it is good.....

Cool Cool, imho, I will also suggest you explore the other SPED schools most of which have open houses a few times a year to consider if they would be better serve your kid. Please check with them on your unique situation as well and vacancies.

Tyeogh, as usual some of your views reflect mine as well and that in itself is therapeutic.
Thanks!
:celebrate:
Last edited by DesertWind on Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

tyeogh
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Re: All About Autism

Post by tyeogh » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:14 pm

Hi DesertWind,
:goodpost:

Long time no see! It is good hear from you! Thanks for sharing your story. It seems you and your boy have gone though quite a bit. Great that he is talking more now. What's heart warming is he indicated he likes his SPED school. That, in itself is a positive sign. He will learn more in an environment he likes. I also like that you are always checking and questioning. There is no sure path for our aspies. It's like, we have to keep re-inventing the wheel at every juncture. Just to map out a unique path for our special child. Sigh. Let me share what happened my end. Hopefully it can benefit someone.....

tyeogh
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Re: All About Autism

Post by tyeogh » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:41 pm

Sharing my son's journey. Writing this so that it can hopefully be of help to someone.

My son is now 8.5 y.o. Back then, he attended mainstream K1 and K2 in the morning. After that, he goes for EIP in the afternoon 3 times a week. In addition, he goes for private ST. After his ST drew speech out of him, I stopped his ST. The speech therapist was going into grammar so I found it a waste of time and money.

At around this time, I applied to Pathlight. I remember being early. I applied 1.5 years in advance. As Pathlight did not respond, when mainstream P1 registration started, I applied for entry into mainstream P1. A month later, Pathlight called my son in for an assessment. I remember us parents being gathered at an auditorium. The children were organized into groups of 10 and marched off into classes to be assessed.

After the assessment, we were told to wait for the results. Just before mainstream P1 started, my son was offered entry into Pathlight Foundation year. Going to Foundation year means he will defer one year. He can join Pathlight P1 after he completes the Foundation year. I remember being disappointed that Pathlight did not offer my son a P1 place immediately.

I then had to make a choice. He can either join mainstream P1 or Pathlight Foundation year. The choice was not difficult. My wife and me knew we should trust the professionals. If he is assessed to join Foundation year, we agree this will be the best option for him. The only difficult part was he had already secured a place in mainstream P1 in the same school as his older brother. It was also the same primary school I studied in. So my reservation was he cannot go to the same school as his brother and to a school I grew up in. Just sentimental.

My wife and me opted for the Foundation year i.e he deferred one year. It turned out to be the best decision we made. That Foundation year was crucial. There are 2 reasons. I think this part is important so I will go into details.

First, in Foundation year, the teacher student ratio is 2:6 meaning there are only 6 students in each class and 2 teachers in attendance. One will teach. The other will sit at the back to make sure every child is paying attention. For aspies, they have poor attention spans. They are inclined to do their own things in class. So it is critical that someone cues them every now and then to pay attention to what is being taught. Second, the Foundation year trains them to get used to a routine of attending school. The topics taught are very simple. It is P1 work broken down into easier modules. The focus is not in learning subject matters. The focus is getting the child to get used to the routines of attending class, going to toilet, buying food, getting home on the school bus. Thus, my son spent a year learning how to pay attention in class (first) and learning the social skills of attending school (second).

We parents were also "threatened" by Pathlight. I remember a session where the principal told us if we parents do not make the effort to co-operate, our child may be kicked out of Pathlight. So every night, I had to check my son's Student Handbook for tasks to do. It can be as simple as filling forms to revising with him the things that were taught in class. So Pathlight successfully got a good working model. Teachers and parents to work closely with our child.

When my son was assessed at mid year and final year, I remember his assessment being Average. Pathlight gave very detailed assessments on both Behaviour and school work. My boy was eventually promoted to Pathlight P1. Being in Foundation year, he was given priority to P1 although the school emphasized it is only a priority, not a guarantee.

As my boy was assessed as just Average, in P1, he was again allocated to a class of 2:6 teacher student ratio. Pathlight follows the mainstream primary school's teaching syllabus. At every juncture, their pace is comparable to mainstream schools. So it was quite fast paced. However, because of the foundation year, my boy was familiar with the school routine. He knew he had to do his homework daily. I too was "trained" to check his Student Handbook daily to do the homework with him. Zzzzzzz. We struggled. But at the end of each day, he completed his homework and managed to pass up the next day. This ensured that my boy was engaged in learning and that he learnt daily.

In P1, my boy was assessed on his behaviour and school work again. His behaviour ratings improved. He did well in school work too. I think 80% English and 75% Maths. He was promoted to P2. He was assigned to a class with a 2:13 ratio because of his improved Behavior ratings.

In P2, there are now 13 students and 2 teachers. My boy has to adjust to receiving less help from teachers. He has to concentrate on paying attention in class on his own. He is taught to do "Independent work". So he has to attempt to do his homework himself without assistance from me. Of course any transition is never easy. I have to monitor him closely in spite of it being "independent work". The good thing is my boy is inspired to try it on his own. Maybe the teachers successfully motivated him to try. He aims to do things without my assistance. He only approaches me for difficult Math problems (which is as good as not asking bec I too dunno how to do P2 maths! I have to ask my older children to help!)

We just got back his P2 mid year assessment. He scored the best possible ratings in all aspects of his Behaviour assessment. For school topic, he got 100% for English and a near 90% for Maths. It is an incredible achievement. The joy is short lived because I am fully cognizant that my boy's challenges is far from over. With him, things will never be easy or normal. We just have to keep closing the gap between him and his NT peers.

I need to add that my boy likes to draw. He is into pictures and cartoon characters. He always pesters me to buy comic books for him. My wife questioned whether comics are good for him because comics often have poor English. Apart from intended mis-spelling, they often have naughty words like "fart" and naughty behaviors like "angry" and "fights" between the cartoon characters. Nevertheless, I decided to allow him his hobby and to manage the process. While looking at the pictures, my boy inadvertently picked up the spelling and use of many words. There was a dramatic improvement in his vocabulary. In the last 3 months, I did not need to practice his weekly Spelling assignments from Pathlight. He got 100% right every week, sometimes without needing to study the assigned spelling words. I just had to censor some words and to teach him not to use the naughty words. He did pick up some social nuances of NT kids through the comics, like being naughty and retorting to adults. It is both good and bad, I suppose??

I am sharing this for those who may have taken a different path. While not all resources and opportunities are available to some parents, one can still borrow the concepts used by Pathlight.

One, always make sure the child can achieve some form of learning on a daily basis. I cannot emphasize this more. Pathlight uses a 2:6 teacher ratio to make sure the child pays attention. Then forces us parents to do homework with our child as a reinforcement of the learning, and as proof that the child has successfully learned.

Two, where possible, always break down the learning to a level the child can understand. Hence, my strong objection to putting a child in mainstream P1 for the sake of catching up with the Joneses. The child has to learn something. Not nothing. He can only learn when the things taught are pitched at his level. And useful to him. Then he enjoys learning and want to learn.

How we parents can consistently achieve the above 2 is imho the real battle.....


Gekko
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Re: All About Autism

Post by Gekko » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:04 pm

Hi all parents
I have been reading this forum and finds it very encouraging and supportive. Also a lot of knowledge is learnt. I would appreciate if anyone could advise me. I have a five years and ten months old son and now in his K2 class at MS preschool since he was in PG. The findings with my son are below:
- need to give 1-1 instructions to get tasks done at school. not following group instructions
- poor social skills ( he wants friends but he keeps quiet at school despite very talkative at home)
- he keeps conversation on-going with parents, FDW, and some relative but not at school.
when I showed a video clip of his conversation with me and my hubby to his teachers, they commented that they are seeing two different person.
- he loves to go out, enjoy at playground but not communicate with other kids unless they initiated.

His K2 teachers advised me to go check up his development at KK. Then KK may advise for speech therapy and/or other necessary therapy for social skill. Else my son will have difficulty in P1 next year. I will surely go to polyclinic and get referral letter for KK appointment. I would like to know if I should start therapy while waiting for KK appointment. Which therapy or early intervention centre will be recommended? The issues my sons have means ASD? I took some online tools to check ASD, Aspergers and PDD-NOS and showing no/a little symptoms. I have no idea how this tools are reliable.
Thank you so much.

tyeogh
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Re: All About Autism

Post by tyeogh » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:05 pm

Gekko wrote: - poor social skills ( he wants friends but he keeps quiet at school despite very talkative at home)
- he keeps conversation on-going with parents, FDW, and some relative but not at school.
when I showed a video clip of his conversation with me and my hubby to his teachers, they commented that they are seeing two different person.
- he loves to go out, enjoy at playground but not communicate with other kids unless they initiated.
Me me me again. Lol. The above looks like Selective Mutism. My elder son exhibits all the abovementioned. Google it.

But this "need to give 1-1 instructions to get tasks done at school. not following group instructions" is worrying. My elder boy does not have this. Hence, he can survive in mainstream primary. Just no friends in school.

Your boy could have Selective Mutism + something. Ya, good to get a professional assessment. Poly+NUH may be faster than Poly+KK.

zac's mum
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Re: All About Autism

Post by zac's mum » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:25 pm

I am an outsider. I agree, good to get a professional opinion. May I just point out my third party observation? If your child is an only child without similar age cousins, he may simply be naive of how to interact with: (i) same age peers and (ii) group lesson type of setting. These are naturally picked up by kids who have siblings. My son was an only child, so I had to coach him specifically in such things.

If you have not been actively coaching your child in this, you can try this (while waiting for the assessment outcome) and see if he is able to catch it. For example at playgrounds suggest ways for him to chitchat about toys or sharing snacks etc...invite 1-2 classmates for play dates...bring him to some accompanied classes or workshops (eg a fun parent-child baking class) where an instructor gives instructions to a big group of students. Every time the teacher talks, stress to him the need to LISTEN to the teacher. Shhhh listen carefully, she is saying sthg important. I recall I had to coach that specifically to my DS. At home us caregivers talk to our only child 1-1 directly by name, so they dunno about group instructions.


DesertWind
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Re: All About Autism

Post by DesertWind » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:28 am

Hi Tyeogh,

:goodpost:
Thank you very much for sharing and glad to hear that your kid is doing well!

Point taken, parental support is very important on a consistent basis and it is a 3-way relationship with the teacher, parent and child! This is so that the child can reach his full potential.... ( now such talk make sense to me....). Am now exploring home-schooling materials and doing finely graded reading with my boy. I like those materials that are simple and straight-forward, teaching concepts step-by-step and bit-by-bit so that my boy can handle with minimum stress.

Surely there is a way and we don't give up. Take care and God Bless!
:celebrate:

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