Hi my name is Karen and we are "raising" or helping raise our 3.5 yr old nephew diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Developmentally he is approximately 28-32 months..but we have an appointment at the Autism Specialist this month and he might raise that (we hope). I have 2 older daughters (20 and 16) and helped with his older brother who is 5. Alex was diagnosed in February and since then we have been OT and he has had Speech Therapy once a week since October but after the last eval he is going to 2x a week. He feeds himself finger foods and generally I feed him "messy" things like mashed potatoes and things like that. He could probably manage it if he would hold the spoon properly but he won't and the OT hasn't made much progress in this yet. He has improved his speech greatly lately. We have had his 3 yr old "step sister to be" here for 2 weeks and he has done his very best to mimic everything she does. Going on this tactic we have decided to enroll him in the local Headstart this year in a mainstream classroom. He will have an IEP in place from the beginning and I think it will be a positive experience for him. I am hoping if he is around more "normal development" peers he will strive to come to their level like he is with the sister.
Last year he was in our local public school's 3 yr old Developmental Preschool program. He started close to the end of April and finished up the school year there. He was in a Special Needs classroom which I have no problem with. The issue I have is because of Privacy Laws I wasn't told he was the ONLY 3 yr old there. I would have like to have known he wasn't going to be around other children his age only placed into the special needs class. When I finally was allowed into the classroom (the other times either I was met at the office of the school OR the suburban picked him up at home) I realized he was in a classroom with mostly severely impared children. I have to say I saw a bit of improvement and he enjoyed his 2 mornings per week.. but I think he could get more out of a more similar peer group. Or I am hopefull of such. Do you think I am overestimating? I think he should get the benefit to TRY it anyway. They have a naptime in the Headstart which he needs if he will be there a full day. Even if he is there 2-3 days a week, I think he will learn more. Experiences? He is fairly verbal, he can stay with my mother (who don't see him alot as a caregiver other times) successfully without melting down occasionally.
The speech therapist we have said we should re-evaluate the situation anyway. She worked there for a couple of years and even if she don't specify WHY I think it is wise.
Thanks for all the information and advice in advance. Lately I have been reading "My Baby Can Dance" about RDI by Steven Gutstein and "1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Aspergers" by Zysk and Notbohm. I have learned TONS!