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    After all these years, we found out my teenage son is autistic...
    EvenahNekole posted:
    Every since my son was seven, I've noticed that my son was struggling w/ making friends. The other children thought of him as "wierd'. Academically, he crashed down from an average B - C student to nothing but Fs... everything from 60 and below. I have sought after assistance from the various schools, but no one helped. They all told me that "your son just mentally dropped out of school". There are reasons for EVERYTHING and 'just mentally dropping out of school" is not an acceptable reason. I'm his mother and I knew something was going wrong, but i didn't know what it was.

    We live in Georgia and the children are administered the CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests) each year. If they don't pass, they can retake. If they don't pass.... they are retained. Some Georgia schools have been accused and found guilty of cheating on the CRCTs - to where the teachers would erase some incorrect answers, correct them and pass them off as the students scores... passing the students through to the next grade and help build the teachers and the schools AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress). My son has failed in his school work and tests throughout the ENTIRE school-year and I'm to believe that he passed the CRCT each time? (that's another story).

    So, I have actively sought out assistance for my son and all they can say is "he's mentally dropped out of school" and I was beginning to believe them. But, I didn't give up. I tried seeking after medical assistance, but with medicaid, they charge $500.00 (I didn't have that kind of money. The past 2 school years, I decided to homeschool my son by enrolling him in a state-funded virtual school called Georgia Cyber Accademy. But, economically in our household, things got really bad, so i had went back to work, thus sending my son back to "regular" school, KNOWING that he was going to go through the same hardshipd he went though before (bullied, fights, feeling lefted out/not accepted, low self-esteem, poor grades, etc.) I HATED this idea. during this past summer, I expressed my concerns about my son returning to "regular" school to a good friend, who's ex-husband is a principle at a school in Chicago. She suggested for my son to have an IEP done and she explained to me what it is. I never heard of anything like that, but I gave it a shot, anything to help my son. The week before school started (enrollment period) I requested an IEP for my son. We met the Special Ed instructor and she conversed with us. She took 1 look at my son after he made a comment to me, and she asked me if i would step out into the hallway. When we got to the hallway, I told her that I saw that look and I know she saw something, so PLEASE tell me what you saw. I begged for her professional opinion, seeing as how he wasn't formally diagnosed. I asked her for her creditials (Master's Degree in special Ed., 14 years of experience, seeking after her Ph.D.) and she told me that if she had to guess (and she said that she's a good guesser), that my son may be Autistic. It took 1 look. Why didn't anyone else see this. I was relieved, yat ANGRY...after all these years.

    The IEP process took place once school began. As of October 7, 2010, they said that my son has High-Functional Autism. My son is a teenager. So, how do I switch up? How do I raise an Autistic teenager? After all these years of screeming, spankings, hair-pulling... had I known this about him YEARS ago, we would be good today. However, I'm not going to beat myself up about something i didn't know about. But, as i continue to seek assistance, how do i raise an Autisic child? How do I help him find his incredible gift? I am So grateful that we finally know why he wasn't developing socially and academically. Someone, Please assist me!
    Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Dear EvenahNekole,

    You are an amazing mom for not giving up on your kid and perusing a diagnosis!

    As you said, you now know why. Now, the next tough step begins, moving forward to find treatments and resources that will work for your family.

    Our Autism Health Center has information on parenting , understanding symptoms , family relationships , treatments and much more.

    Any other members with teens diagnosed with Autism?

    Please keep us posted on how you are doing,
    motherofrob responded:
    I guess I would say that you do the same things to raise and Austistic teenager that you did before. You love him and work with him. You have always done that. Now you can just use the diagnosis to understand why he is different. Having a special needs child is not something that I would have ever asked for, and yes if I could change it I would. But I love my son and I am dedicated to him having the best life as possible. The diagnosis doesn't change who he is, or has been all this time. It simply gives you the keys to understand how to cope the best way possible. It also gives you the services that you will need from his school.
    mrsmaxx responded:
    EvenahNekole I am the mother of a 12 year old boy. This morning I woke up at the end of my rope (as I do just about everyday) but I signed online looking for some help, some kind of direction and I found your story. 3 years ago I was told my son has a mild case of ADHD but my husband and I have always wondered if he could be autistic but never really looked into it. We just took the word of his doctor. I thought there could be no way our son could be 12 and autistic and we didn't know. I thought if your child was autistic you would have to know by 12! After reading your story, I now believe our son could be highly functioning autistic. Thank you! Thank you for letting me know I am not crazy! Thank you for giving me back my hope! I am now going to jump in with both feet! Please let me know how things turned out for you.
    carolynlsp replied to mrsmaxx's response:
    I too am a Mother of two boys, ages 15 & 16. Both of my sons, were adopted at birth. They have the same birth mom but different dads. I have also known that my sons were different, but mostly my older one. Because I was so consumed with my oldest son, and his issues/diagnoses: ADD, Intermitten Explosive Disorder, Anxiety, and recently Bi-Polar.. I missed my youngest son having so many of the signs.
    My youngest son had many of the symptoms of high-functioning autism, but since I didn't know anything about autism, and non of his doctors, psychiatrist, or school ever noticed anything relating to autism.

    My youngest son did "Mentally shut down with school," reasons being, he was in 6TH grade, which was totally overwhelming for him: and he told me so later after I withdrew him from school, because he really did shut down while in the nurses office. He told me that I didn't understand what it was like to go to such a big school, and have so many different teachers, and he was bullied by his so called best friend.
    I tried to home school him, and at first he did good, as long as I sat with him through out the whoe process. I also took him to counselors, and they didn't see it.. They even had me send him to acute hospitals, and then 6-8 weeks at residential treatment facilities. It was at his last Residential treatment center where he was labeled High-Functioning Autistic. I still wasn't sure why, until I talked to another mother, and started looking on line. When I came across this website that bell went off in my head. My son is Autistic, and the last thing he needs is to be sent off to another place (which my Ex thinks he definitely needs in order to make it in this world). I haven't shared with my Ex about him being autistic, and I'm not sure what he will say, but as his Mom, I have known something was different for so long with both of my sons, and I feel like for the first time I have an answer!! I am not sure where to go from here, as they are both home, and I am attempting to home school the oldest one: but the youngest one still refuses. Where do I start when they are both teenagers dealing with High-functioning Autism? Who do I turn to to have them tested?? And where can I go to get help for the both of them??
    While at school, they did all kinds of test, and they never came up with anything much less Autistic.
    It really helps to know that I am not alone... THANKS to all you other Mothers who have posted.. Please continue, as we can all help each other.

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