Site Contents: Info for high functioning children: mainstreaming, anonymity, and
discrimination. Viable therapy options for social gray areas are presented
through my son's intervention summary. Specifics utilizing ABA delivered via NET
for Theory Of Mind, Executive Functioning, and Abstract Thinking deficits are
highlighted. The latest in biomedical treatment is included under Resources.
My intent is to raise awareness about the wide range of children on the spectrum,
dispelling the stereotype that Autism is a hopeless untreatable disability. This
information is intended to be inspirational and informative only, and not intended
as medical advice. Material under Resources are from credible sources - the
goal being to provide the reader with sufficient reference for further
individual investigation and assessment of information quality. Copyright
Protected, Hidden Recovery.com 2006
|Discover Magazine: Autism, It's Not Just In The Head
The latest and greatest article that explains the unique GI and Immune
systems of our children. A great article to show skeptical relatives and
Times-Tribune: Mainstreaming Autism (9/07)
NPR Mainstreaming Autism Discussion
New York Times (11/06): Studying Autism Isn't Enough
For New Parents: ASD Warning Signs
Development Of Pencil Grasp By Age
AUTISM RECOVERY - THE HIDDEN TRUTH
Published online: 11/8/04 edition of the Schafer Report - updated slightly 08/07
According to the National Institute of Health, 1 in 150 babies are born with an Autism Spectrum
Disorder. What needs to be known is this: Almost half of the children that get Early
Intervention make dramatic progress, some even recover. The fastest growing segment are
considered High-Functioning, often meaning they can or will eventually function in regular
classrooms, have friends, attend birthday parties and grocery stores with ease. Recovery
means that these kids are indistinguishable from their peers. Their disability no longer impairs
them from having a normal life. They no longer need support such as an aide in a classroom,
therapies, and biological intervention. Many children make incredible gains.
Why is this the case now as we sit in 2007? Technology from this last decade has brought all
these children the chance for real progress and the unthinkable when we were kids, recovery.
Therapeutic intervention such as ABA, dietary intervention, and the DAN! protocol has
maximized the potential of our children. It’s not just a given that these children spend their
entire education in special education. Back when we were kids, it was one-stop-shopping with
our pediatricians. Today that’s just not possible and unfair to pediatricians. Twenty years
ago, we only had Greenspan’s Floortime Therapy for all special needs kids. Today there are
countless therapies to address our individual children’s needs and the growing variety of
disabilites out there. All we now know about our food supply and the environment has
dramatically improved the outcome of our children.
Many High Functioning kids can learn in regular classrooms and other places. We all went to
school with a kid that was quirky didn’t we? Other kids CAN eventually get to that level of
functioning after receiving good therapy and lots of it. Having your precious child go to school
just like any other kid is a dream of every ASD parent. Just to get to that door, those hallways
that we all remember as a kid. The sounds of a school. The smell of the cafeteria, your
papers and books.
Why don’t we hear about these kids? Where are they? What did their parents do to
make it happen?
Because many parents keep the label a secret so their children can lead a
discrimination-free life. These parents move on, and try to recover themselves, and
create a new life for their family. They cannot be public about their past and support
autism efforts at the cost to their own kids. Unfortunately, the stigma of being less
than perfect still dominates.
Because all parents discriminate
Parents often do not want their typical kids to play with children with special needs. It is not a
concern of mine if people get defensive by this fact. It is true. After all, what has happened to
this generation of children is still being examined, and in no way the dust has settled. It’s a big
battleground – from the pharmaceutical companies, to government, to big offenders of
environmental contamination, all wrapped up for us in a big bow. No one wants to raise their
hand and be accountable. We are still in the Cover Your Ass and Let’s Run and Hide phase of
We all discriminate. Let’s face it, we all want our kids to play with the perfect friend. A mild
temperament, similar or higher developmental level, good natured, doesn’t hit or bit, and has a
nice mom. We don’t want our kids to pick up bad habits. We want them to have a positive fun
experience. Parents discourage their kids to play with the ‘wrong kids’, those that may not look
typical, wear different clothes, come from a different socioeconomic background, have strange
parents, do poorly in school, or are just plain squirky.
With little information and TV movies to go on, these parents are in the dark about Autism, how
vastly different each and every kid with the same diagnosis presents. They are unaware of the
fact that this is THE NEW GENERATION of typical peers – 33% of the kids in elementary and
preschool classrooms in America have some developmental issue. Pull-outs galore for
reading, writing, and other learning challenges are the norm. Having an ASD is now part of the
norm. A handful of kids for each class have services of some kind. Really.
All parents know is that they want to protect their kid. They want the best possible learning
experience in school. They want to make sure they can learn without distractions in school.
They can’t teach tolerance because they themselves are ignorant. They don’t know what to
do with an Autistic kid at a birthday party, on a soccer team, or at their house for a play date.
It's awkward, uncomfortable. How should they act? What do you say to the mom? They don’t
want THEIR kid to be affected in a negative way by an Autistic kid. Often, instinct and fear
guides us parents, myself included. Sometimes that's a good thing. For typical parents,
ignorance and fear make them choose the easy route - don't call, don't invite, avoid.
Each new school year parents are faced with more and more aides in classrooms with no
explanation. Parents lack knowledge about this NEW GENERATION of typical peers. The
irony is this - Autism is the norm, part of the typical make-up of our classrooms.
There is no leadership. No one sets the tone. Sadly the school district, PTA’s and other
organizations are not straightforward. It’s discussed in small groups of parents off-the-record.
Economics play a big role when districts try to accommodate special kids’ needs at their
various schools. They must look at their unique population of children that require services
and try to accommodate everyone with what they've got - their pool of therapists, equipment,
space, transportation, and lay it all out like a big puzzle. One school may have a lot more
special needs kids because it’s newer and has the space for therapy. With no explanation,
parents grumble and ask “Why does my kid get stuck with 3 special needs kids and their aides
in my classroom? One child isn't even in this district!” they exclaim. This adds fuel to the
Parents have NO IDEA the complexity in fulfilling a child's modified education program – while
minimizing costs at the same time. Bus routes, sibling separation, while attempting to
maximize child's hours AND therapists hours at school. Parents don’t realize that when they
DO see a special child in their classroom with help, one of two things have occurred:
*The child has very significant issues that disrupt the classroom, so the school has to address
*The parents had to sue or fight like hell to get those services.
Because of the factors, particularly economics, schools are constantly faced with making hard
choices, often playing "god" on whom is worthy of X,Y, and Z. Schools aren't in the position to
automatically hand out a beautiful program on a silver platter. They do what is best
economically first. Incredible isn’t it??
Because the therapists filter information
Therapists are reluctant to share stories about cases where the kids make it all the way
through and are blessed with a “normal” life, a life no longer disabled. They are even reluctant
to share huge gains. If parents have this knowledge, they feel the parents would expect this
outcome. They want the parents to be realistic and not give false hope. The benefits of
sharing what can happen, what DOES happen can inspire. It can give the fuel needed for a
desperate and overwhelmed parent to figure out what they need to do. This far outweighs the
very small percentage of cases where you leave the parents feeling depressed or inadequate
or filled with unrealistic expectations. As of August 2007, I can attest to this personally by
comparing positive comments versus negative ones I get in my Inbox.
I resent the fact that providers choose to make life a bit easier on themselves, sacrificing hope
for certain families. It the PARENT’S right, not individual providers or schools to filter ASD
info. This makes me crazy! A friend recently shared with me “it’s like a cancer doctor NOT
telling a patient there is hope for recovery simply because not all patients do recover.”
Some providers don’t believe there is ever an end to therapy. Therefore, they do not believe
in recovery because it goes against the philosophy behind the intervention they practice.
Also, the new technology hasn’t been played out in great numbers into adolescence and
adulthood. If it’s not published in a journal with science to back it up, it doesn’t exist to them.
And we all know that answers don't begin in a journal. How many times have you read a piece
of research, and ask yourselves why in the heck did they put money into THAT? The general
public already knew THAT answer!
Research, technology, and learning grows each day. Parents are the managers. From home-
life to the biological piece to the therapeutic piece. No one else is in that position. Any parent
would love to share this role - impossible. Every week parents tell me how my story inspires
them. “Is it worth it? All this work? All this money? This sacrifice? The confrontation with the
What if I said no? First, it would be a lie. Second, there may be many parents that wouldn't
react by ACTING. Moving their obstacles out of the way to really tackle the disabling parts of
ASD. Maybe they would not be as committed. Give up. Thinking that it’s a fight they can
never win is dangerous. Each kid can win no matter how close they get to recovery.
Significance, age, or other factors should not be an issue towards maximizing the potential of
your child, leaving no stone unturned.
Media, and what we can do
The Autism community must press to provide training to schools. The Autism community must
press for articles in general magazines and more T.V. about the enormous differences within
the spectrum. How about an article sharing the day in the life of a mainstreamed child, with
viewpoints from other parents and their peers? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about any
Autism press. However, providing stories only about the stereotype increases awareness
about Autism but doesn’t provide any new information about the profile of our children today
and how that impacts our childrens’ school experience.
We need education. Nobody is facilitating relationships between typical and ASD parents.
Although Autism and Aspergers are trendy these days in media, the subject is taboo in real
life. We are not utilizing the information that is so accessible for all to see, as a parent, a
neighbor, a teacher, a school administrator. Early intervention funding will get a real fighting
chance at passing on all levels – federal, state, and local if we raise awareness and bust this
thing wide open.
THE NEW NORMAL
The new normal is mind boggling. The numbers are much higher in the younger years like this
and taper off as you look at middle and high school.
A great stat from the American Acad of Peds states that 1 in 6 kids born today have a
developmental disorder or developmental delay.
Here is what my son's typical playgroups and classes looked like through the years so far:
New Mommy Group 0-1 year old:
10 kids in total (natch, they all didn't have a dx then):
2x Autism Spectrum Disorder
2 x ADD
2x Sensory Integration Disorder
1x Speech and fine motor delay. The speech kid couldn't be understood by his peers until he
was 5 years old, so it wasn't a redefinition of criteria.
Preschool: Class of 18 kids: my kid with Autism, 3 kids with a speech delay, 1 kid with sensory
integration, one kid with ADD.
Kindergarten: 20 kids total in typical classroom in a public school. 2 kids ASD, one kid ADD, 3
kids speech and OT delays. Again, the speech and OT delays affected their ability to be
understood and do any projects. The teacher had been doing the "same ole" for 20 years, so
it wasn't a change in criteria here anyway.
1st grade: 22 kids in total. One kid Autism, one kid Down Syndrome, 3 kids with a behavior
plan, have IEP - unsure of an actual label, 2 kids speech, 1 kid OT, and 4 kids get pulled out of
class for reading help 2 times a week(they are barely reading, criteria could be argued here?).
In total, in our little po dunk elementary school, 12% of all kids attending have an IEP. And this
doesn't include the kids that we all know need one or had one previously.
2nd grade: 3 ASD kids including Leo confirmed, and 2 behavior plans. And interestingly, the
parents of typicals think the para is there to help the teacher, when in fact she's dedicated to
one child. Only a few know of the one special needs child (ASD). Leo and one other boy have
ASD. No one knows about Leo, and a few know about the other boy, but not in this class.
3rd grade: Only one month into school. I can see two behavior plans and Leo as the only
ASD child. Business as usual. He loves his new teacher and likes switching classes for math.
*Ashley Morgan, parent of *Leo, age 8 1/2, recovered for 3 years. email@example.com
*These are alias names for protecting my son from discrimination
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Autism recovery can happen! A parent's experience with
High-Functioning Autism. Diagnosed at 2 with PDD-NOS, and recovered by
kindergarten. Articles and documentation by Ashley Morgan, mother