Starting Autism Program at School in Idaho

Joshua started school at the elementary that has an autism program here in the Coeur d’Alene School District.  Michael and I took him to the “Meet the Teacher” night the week before school started.  I’m pleased to say that Joshua was himself and they certainly had a “base line” to go off of for the start of the school year!  He has a general education class room that he goes in for brief amounts of time to work on integration and he has a home room teacher that manages his education plan, who is team teaching with another special education teacher next door.  They have between the two classes, roughly 22 students, who are split into groups based upon their age and skill level.  Joshua’s teacher focuses on Language Arts while the other teacher focuses on Math and Science.  The kids spend time in both class rooms, switching at certain times of the day.

Joshua’s Teachers: Mrs. Gilmore and Ms. Purcell on Joshua’s First Day of School. He didn’t want to take his hood off for some reason.

Another neat thing is each child has an aide.  There appears to be a one to one ratio and Joshua has one aide in the morning hours and one in the afternoon.  A Communication Log gets sent home with notes from both, every day.  I really appreciate that feature as I want to know what’s going on during his day and he doesn’t tell me, or rather, can’t due to his speech delay.  One thing I’m interested in is how he is doing with making friends.  He’s the “new kid”, but he is quite remarkable and fun, so hopefully we will be hearing about some friendships soon.

This last week, Joshua has begun getting evaluated and will have a new IEP set up by the end of October.  He has begun speech therapy, occupational therapy and they are instituting IBI Services as well, which is similar to ABA.  Family Support Services in Coeur d’Alene, describes IBI as:

Intensive Behavioral Intervention is a Medicaid reimbursed service that is available to children with developmental disabilities who display challenging behaviors. IBI therapists work with the children to develop positive behaviors and the skills they need to function in typical home and community environments. “

Joshua is already making some progress and has been bringing home homework to complete just about every day.  It’s also pretty easy to get him to do it as he gets snack right after he’s done!  May as well use his love for food to our advantage!  Joshua’s bus driver, Vick, is a really nice guy, too and the bus comes right to our door to pick him up and drop him off.  They pick him up around 8:30 AM and drop him off at about 4:20 PM.  Since school starts at 9 AM and gets out at 3:30 PM, that’s quite a long time on the bus, but the aide on the bus gets the kids seated and belted in good time and they are quite efficient.  So, Joshua is more than eager to get his home work done so he can have his after school snack.  Then, he gets to go an play outside or inside, with his siblings.

One thing about Joshua’s class, that I find interesting is that Joshua is the only child on an autism diet.  They have a reward every Friday for the kids who do their homework of making a treat of some sort, which Joshua can’t eat.  I’m hoping to see if they would be open to having some recipes and ingredients that Joshua can have as well.  In the mean time, I will send a special treat for him on those days.  Joshua is used to this at home, to some degree, however.  As long as he has something he can eat, he’s usually fine, but he’s does certainly notice.

I am also taking one day a week where I bring Joshua to school, so as to talk with the school teachers and aides.  It happens to be on Tuesday mornings as that’s the day we go to Mass in the morning since our parish has a devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  It’s been such a blessing to be able to have Joshua start his school day off going to Mass.   The older folks who attend (we are the only younger ones there), get such a delight out of having the kids attend and offer so many encouraging remarks which we all are strengthened and encouraged by.  I’m hoping we can keep this up for the school year.  The school is fine with us bringing Joshua a little late as the school bus gets there right after 9 AM anyway, so we actually end up getting there about the same time.  Such a great way to start off the day!  I only wish I had the energy to do that every morning!  I’m sure Our Lady would be praying for me regardless and I need all the help I can get!

This entry was posted on Monday, September 24th, 2012 at 9:29 pm and is filed under Autism Diet, Autism Resources, Autism Treatment, General Autism Info. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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