Monday, November 10, 2008

Economic Crisis Takes Autistic Boy's ABA Therapy

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer tells a heart wrenching story of the impact of the current economic downturn on the family of real estate broker Robert Ott. The family savings have been depleted, their line of credit suspended and 6 year old autistic son Aaron has lost his behavioral therapy. With therapy Aaron had progressed from squeaking a single tone to a 50 word vocabulary. His therapist used to visit Aaron's school to help solve behavior problems but now Aaron is on his own:

Aaron started coming home from first grade holding reports with orange circles on them -- indications from his teacher that he'd acted out that day.

In the past, Aaron's former behavioral therapist would visit his classroom to help resolve disruptive behaviors often associated with autism.

"Now when something goes wrong at school, it keeps going wrong," Ott said.

It is tough reading this story but I also have to wonder what the schools in the Seattle area provide for autistic students like Aaron. Does he have an autism trained Teacher Assistant working with him? Does he sit in the regular classroom all day with a 50 word vocabulary? Are any supports provided or accommodations made for him in school?

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1 comment:

Unknown said...


Our experience with WA State schools has been horrible. Both of our sons are affected by Autism, and were students of the Auburn School District. While our elder son had a wonderful teacher who had worked as an ABA therapist while she was training to become a Spec. Ed teacher, our younger son was denied the very help that he needed to succeed. The district refused to include ABA therapy due to cost ("we only have so many quarters to go around"), and PECS in his IEP ("He can make all of the sounds. He's just lazy." said his SLP who we believe molested our son...he had no language at 3yo, and now at 8yo all language is echolalic in nature), no physical therapy (though hypotonic), no para-educator support (they said, "we'll see how he does")...I could go on all day. We withdrew our sons from public school November 2007. We proudly homeschool all 4 of our children, and we warn any parents who would consider moving their children to WA State...if you live in WA State, please homeschool your Special Needs children. The schools are told by the State Superintendent to not write what the child needs into their IEP's, because it will cost too much money. They won't even train their teachers on the basics of working with children with Autism. All of the teachers that our youngest son had told us to put him on medication so that they could do our job with the rest of the class.

We are thankful that we are given the option in WA to homeschool on our terms. We are a family of very little means, and WA refuses to pay for ABA therapy for children with ASD who are on Medicaid.

Thank you for allowing me to vent, and if you remove my comments, I fully understand.

Have a beautiful day,