We’ve had over 10 years of experience with “special education” and other support services. This has ranged from pre-school now through the beginning of high school and has spanned three different states (Kansas, New Jersey, and Missouri). In the beginning, it was nerve wracking, trying to not only figure out autism but trying to figure out the “system.”
Taken as a whole, we’ve been successful in navigating the systems and getting what we felt was best. Now that Zeke is older, he is also participating and beginning to help us figure out what he thinks is best for him.
Along with the good stuff, however, there have been plenty of bad and, yes, ugly, experiences. Some of these were our “fault,” usually a lack of knowledge of what was possible. Some were a true miscommunication between us and whomever. Some (the ugly) were because of poorly trained people who had no desire (or maybe ability?) to learn anything new, much less how to help a child that didn’t quite fit the mold.
In order to avoid one single, long post, I’ve broken the story down into the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. There is obviously a lot more to all the stories, I just want to give an idea of some things that can happen. I also want to let parents out there struggling with some of these same issues that it is possible to get good services for your autistic kids. It may take some work on your part, and you may have to go through some hell to get there, but perserverance will definitely pay off.