Current research shows that as many as one in seventy boys in the United States now has an autism spectrum disorder. Parents of boys with autism face unique challenges, often becoming full-time researchers looking for the latest information to better help their children. After countless hours of study, Ken Siri presents the essential guide to parenting a boy with autism. Compiling what he has learned from experts, other parents, and his experiences with his own son, he offers guidance such as:
#56: What's the big IDEA" It's important to know that IDEA is in effect for your child until he graduates from high school, or at least until he reaches the age of twenty-one; after this point, services are provided on a state-by-state basis. Under IDEA, every child is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), regardless of disability. In this context, the U. S. Supreme Court has taken appropriate to mean that the program "must be reasonably calculated to provide educational benefit to the individual child." In addition, under IDEA, all children are to be placed in the least restrictive environment possible. Remember: Special education is a service, and not a place.
#604: If your child has meltdowns or sensory issues when in a particular place (i.e., a specific playground or room), avoid that location for a period of two weeks, and then reintroduce it. This will provide a clue as to what is causing the trouble. For example, a particular playground might be too noisy or crowded for him to handle at this time.
#922: Vacation in a national park. Think about it. You bring your own food so you don't have to worry about diet violations. It is a cost-effective, beautiful, and wonderful way to connect to your son and nature. There is something soothing and stabilizing about hiking in the great outdoors. And what is great is that there are fabulous parks throughout the United States.
Ken Siri is a freelance writer living in New York City and is the parent of a boy with autism.
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