[blindkid] Blind/Autistic child school placement/services
Meng at sccompanies.com
Mon Feb 16 13:22:58 UTC 2009
I am the grandmother of a 3-1/2 year old child who is blind. He is
also nonverbal. What types of things did you do to get her talking?
Right now this is our biggest focus, and I am looking for answers.
There is nothing physically wrong to prevent Jonathan from talking.
Any help would be appreciated!
From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org]
On Behalf Of Rene Harrell
Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2009 10:56 PM
To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)
Subject: Re: [blindkid] Blind/Autistic child school placement/services
I am also the mother of a child who is blind and autistic. She is 7 1/2
years old now :-) Clare was essentially nonverbal until she turned 5
then we finally getting some words out of her and now at 7 1/2 her
skills lie somewhere in the 20 month old range for pragmatic language
zooming up to the three year old level in some language areas. Over all
is extremely mild-mannered, compliant, and sweet.
Figuring out the best type of program is really as individual as the
I would start with you, and your ideas of what goals you personally want
see him master, both short term and long term. What skills are most
important to you right now? Having some goals in mind will really give
direction and focus as you decide what kind of programming is most
appropriate for your son.
I'll give you an example from our family. For me, my biggest focus when
Clare was 4 and 5 was on language development. This was our absolute #1
priority. We knew statistics show that children who talk before the age
usually continue to make progress in linguistic skills (the rate can
but that children who are *not* speaking by the age of 7 have a 90%
of never developing verbal language at all. Our overall focus was on
communication in general, with the spearhead of verbal language. This
the focus and all other goals either tied into this one, or were
in importance. (I.e. Braille was important to us because it tied
into communication). We wanted Clare in an environment where she would
consistently encouraged to communicate, to have language modeled for
and to be encouraged to use verbal language when appropriate to the
hand. In turn, this was a big focus of our work with her at home.
There was a preschool class for children with autism in our district,
ultimately we did not feel that was suitable for helping Clare best meet
goals we had set for her, because all of the children were nonverbal,
set-up of the classroom was not conducive to Clare being able to have a
clear understanding of what was going on, and they were very reliant on
picture communication and I did not feel confident that the
this PECS system would enable Clare to understand *what other children*
doing around her, because she was the only one they would modify it for.
There was a much smaller "multi-disabled" preschool program that we felt
a much better fit for her. Ironically on first blush it didn't seem as
would be all that much different: the children in this classroom were
likewise nonverbal. However, the classroom was *much* smaller--- Clare
one of three students--- given that there was always a therapist in the
(PT, OT, ST), a paraeducator, and the teacher, the ratio was 1:1. More
that, this classroom was equipped for a much wider variety of
communication and all the children used devices with auditory output. We
felt far more confident in Clare's ability to be integrated into this
classroom in a way that would be meaningful for Clare, and we really,
liked the speech and communication program that was embedded in their
approach. Because Clare is so well-behaved, she gets very easily lost in
larger crowds of children, especially children whose behavior requires a
more attention. She'd happily sit in a corner pressing buttons on a toy,
pressing her eye, or hand flapping away for hours if no one was there
encouraging her to engaged and directly interacting with her. We were
confident that in *this* classroom she'd be interacted with on a near
constant basis, which in turn meant that they would be working on that
important communication goal far more often that they could have in the
autism classroom with 12 children.
Now, had our goals been *social* in nature for example, this classroom
*not* have worked at all because of the small class size and because of
population of children in this classroom. And if our goals had been
primarily *academic* in nature this would not have been a good placement
either. That is why it is so important to really know what you want a
program to do for your son. There are no "right" and "wrong" programs,
ones that are suitable and not suitable for your child's situation.
Is there any way we can help you brainstorm on what you might like to
your son accomplish in the next year? How is ABA working for him in your
home program? What skills is he working on in that program? What is
for him well in his current placement, and what is not working well?
(And as a side note--- I always like to put in a plug for Stanley
Greenspan's "Floortime" approach for working with autistic children. If
google Floortime/DIR you'll come up with a wealth of information. We've
ABA for a lot of specific skill sets but nothing has compared to
in terms of her language and social development.)
On Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 12:02 PM, Melissa Bruggemann <
melissabruggemann at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I have a 5 year old son who is blind and autistic. I am trying to
> out what sort of services/school placement he needs for 1st grade. He
> been left behind in preschool for Kindergarten as the district could
> find a placement for him. He has no usable vision, is nonverbal, not
> receptive language and doesn't have that bad behaviors. He's currently
> receiving ABA at home every day but none in school. Any thoughts on
> type of program would be appropriate for him?
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