We live in Illinois and our 7 year old ASD is in first grade At our last IEP meeting we asked for a Social Skills Group and the school social worker said they don't provide that at the school. We are requesting from the school Social Skills Group Therapy for my son. Please note he is receiving social services from the social worker at the school but we are looking for structured social skills group therapy with his peers hoping for an hour a week dedicated to this. Is this a… read more
Social communication support has always been in J's IEP (6th-11th grades). It was initiated by his support team, because we were so clueless the first time through. We discussed taking it out last year because he has come so far and he feels he doesn't need it any more (uh, yeah, right), but because we are now transition planning and working towards college, we decided to keep it in and the group leader, the speech therapist at his school, will just change the focus a bit to address the new direction.
The group leader gathers boys from several classes (I think she runs a separate, similar group for girls because their issues are so different and a lot of what they talk about by HS is boy/girl interactions) whom teachers and parents feel could benefit from some social practice and support, not all special ed or IEP kids, and they talk about different situations, role play, provide peer guidance and support and even, occasionally, have gone on field trips to practice their skills in the community.
Seeing as social delays and deficits are a primary indicator of ASD, I would think that addressing them in any and every feasible way would be right at the top of any therapeutic or education plan. You aren't being unreasonable and, in my opinion and experience, need to stick to your guns on this one. Learning how to function in NT society is essential if our kids are going to achieve independence.
Paraprofessionals are not trained on teaching social skills to kids with autism. The best thing for my son was when we found a doctor who had enough boys, with similar age, to meet once a week and had a social skills group. We sure could use a doctor like that now!!
It is about alternative placements. A lot of schools do not like to spend the money, but what they hate more, is litigation with parents. I ran into this recently when my school district's plan was to place my son in a full-inclusion setting with intermittent supports.
I politely informed the team members that given the scope of my child's exceptionality, we would probably have some discipline issues. Attending all of those manifestation determination meetings would be highly inconvenient for all parties, therefore, I suggested a different setting.
I am in Pennsylvania, so the Gaston case still strikes a raw nerve. The bottom line is: nobody likes litigation.
We are not advocating for ourselves or the taxpayers: It is for the kiddos.
Someday they are going to have to function to the best of their abilities as adults. I think anything, such as social skills group therapy, can assist individuals with exceptionalities move towards self-determination.
Focus on the goals and service time. Your child's disability interferes with him "just picking up" social skills like non-autistics, and this is negatively affecting his academic performance and/or participation in the school community. How do his social/behavioral goals, and the time allocated to addressing them, help him learn skills that will build his success in these areas?
The speech therapist (through goals addressing language pragmatics), the special ed teacher (through goals addressing academic gains and work behaviors), and the social worker and/or school psych/counselor (through goals addressing direct instruction of social skills) can all provide supports. They don't all have to have goals like this, but at least one service provider should have at least one goal, with enough time allocated to address it, in this area. HOW that goal is instructed/supported, is up to the service provider, as part of his/her professional skills, and is not written into the IEP.
If your child does not make adequate gains in his skills in the school setting after a few months of that goal(s) with that service time(s), at the next meeting ask for an explanation of how things will be changed to support him growing.
Focus on the word "adequate." The schools do NOT have to provide optimal or best, they have to provide adequate (f you want more info on that, google the Rowley court case). If you use that word as your measure of their performance, they will respond more positively.
our school denied the same. we were told that it is not an activity the school can do. he was included in a 6 week weekly pull out program for all Kindergarteners in which he had a group session with the school counselor to "practice social graces"... is done with most of their student population. We are transitioning to homeschooling now in 1st grade because they continue to ignore the social aspects. At least with homeschooling, we can get him to an AS play group and stop the playground beatings. good luck...