Cost of Autism Specific Education

It is my understanding that there is at least 3400 students with autism in South Australia and rising. The government of South Australia has let the Aspect Treetops Autism specific school use the old Ashford Special School site at a peppercorn rental. The local school zoned in our area means that there are government subsidies available to help pay school fee’s. Does this apply the same at Ashford? Can I apply for the School-card? What subsidies are available to me in my situation? How much transport assistance can I get for my child? Is there long distance education?

When Treetops first began the facts were that you could not go to this Treetops Aspect Special School if you did nott have atleast $232/wk spare cash and thats for 1 child. If you have two children then it was $500 approximately. Fee’s have dropped to around $120 per week per child as of 2019. This is compared to $40 per week for Services and materials charge at the local mainstream school. It’s prohibitive for a large number of Austistic families because they simply do not have the cash.

The thought of HomeSchooling has always been around but not something I have wanted to get excited about! I don’t know it! Although, when I was a kid I did corrospondence schooling for a while. So how much money can I afford out of my budget to send my children to a school specifically oriented to teaching kids on the Autism Spectrum? I am excited about the Satellite Programs the Aspect treetops Autism School is proposing and the Distance education Proposed Program. The issue is how to pay for it?

It seems that the affordability of education equates to class sizes! Am I wrong? Does a kid with Autism who prefers to be by himself need socialization? I think I as a parent need to make our living arrangements bearable for both parent and child.

What happens to a child if they are bullied at school? Bullying and its effects at school have been well studied. Nobody wants that for their child to go through hard times. What is the criteria for entry point to Department of Education Autism Intervention Programs at Blackwood Autism Intervention Program and the Heights Autism Intervention Program, Modbury, Adelaide? What is the criteria for entry to the Aspect Autism Treetops School at Ashford, Adelaide? Would Montessori be good? Tick it off, for a try. What about Steiner education? Not that fussed about it! It can be overwhelming to consider. Do I want to stick my head in the sand about it? Do I have the energy to get excited about the idea?

The school fees at Treetops  have lowered to approximately $120/wk per child. Annual fee’s  are in the order of $7- 10,000 or so PA which may be prohibitive for 90% of ASD cases as it may be more unaffordable for those on lower incomes.  How much does it cost to educate a child in a Department of Education school?

 

 

 

Autism Siblings

By the end of December 2014, my dear son’s  speech pathologist says that I should have my second son assessed for Autism as well. What types of Autism? Do you mean a “Classic Kanner Autism”? or a “Low functioning Autism”, or a “High Functioning Autism” or a “Savant”???  or “PDD NOS”. Oh yeah baby! That’s a classification that is Not otherwize specified. It means a pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwize specified. The categorizations are changing in the DSM 4, to the DSM 5, (Diagnostic Manual). I have many questions and not many answers, or  everyone has a different opinion according to their values and philosophies and modalities.

What! I don’t believe it. Jack is only 3 years old. How can you tell? I speak to his father who basically is incredibly protective of Jack. My husband doesn’t like the Speech Pathologist saying that she is trying to ” push her own agenda”, my husband is very critical of the whole Autism diagnosis idea. “The child is the way he is and if everyone else doesn’t like it, well to heck with them!” “How does she know! He’s just being a kid!”, and “They all develop at their own rate!” Both of my husband and myself still trying to come to terms with my dear son’s diagnosis let alone another one for my second son. I can certainly see a price tag attached to an assessment process.

I had read a few books about Autism. I knew what the debates were, or I thought I did. One was being around the vaccinations and whether they caused Autism,  kiddo 2 was due fo a vaccination and me wary of  motherly discussions around the issue. I told the Dr of my worries and that if son no. 2  had the Autism Gene then it might make him more susceptible to an Autistic onset.  We vaccinated anyway because I thought “Autism is no big deal for me! I can handle this !” It would protect him from more serious conditions.

I remember taking him back to the Dr’s and he licked the wall! Honey, Don’t do that. You might get sick! How curious was that, Holy Moly. “My sweet love! Don’t lick  things in the Dr’s rooms.” I can remember wanting the kids to be still, instead of investigating  what Dr’s got in his draws, his patient bed and stethoscope. Holy moly! We need help on how to pay for therapy for both my sons. Dr we need help. Therapy takes a long time to organize. There is allot of paperwork. I need the National Disability Insurance Scheme as well. Therapists charging at an agreed fixed price, Speech therapists and Psychologists at $167.13, Occupational therapists around $125, Social Skills groups and the list of therapies and sensory toys goes on. They all cost a lot of money.

 

 

 

 

Miracle Baby Jack, 2011

Hard work trying to get pregnant. Hard work after they are born.  Jack is born. I am delighted, I know a bit more about babies. Right from the very start of my son’s life he cryed and cryed signalling some sort of distress. My goodness sometimes he was like a little red beetroot.

His skin was so itchy, he scratched all the time. He scratched his face ripping his skin got infected with a bacteria. Antibiotics were needed from the Dr to control this. Tired parents. Afraid that baby would scratch himself so severely. My grandmother used to bind my hands when I had chicken Pox so I would not scratch. In desperation, I bandaged Jack’s hands , and lovingly put mittens on his hands preventing scratch. It was not until another mother said, that it looked like Eczema I was prompted to action. Off to the Dr.

Called the hospital everyday to try to get an appointment to see the specialist. Skin prick tests and more tests and I got creams and lotions. Stopped drinking cow’s milk so it would not come through my milk, started to drink Soy milk. The Dr said that by bandaging him for 20 minutes a day in wet cloth so the moisture would absorb in the skin would be a good method. I wet bandage mummified my baby 20- minutes a day.

Jack was born and did not grow hair for the whole of the first year. What happened instead the hard scabs would grow on his head. His father and I peeled off in the bath every day. It was visibly distressing to look at. I had never seen it before and didn’t know this sort of reaction.  With a bit of research I understood it was the bodies protective mechanisms trying to cope with this  skin condition. Wary of Cortizone prescribed by the Dr. Parents at the end of our tether. We didn’t know what to do. We asked the Dr and applied the prescription. None of the natural remedies seemed to control the discomfort of the itchy eczema skin  fast enough.

Gradually over the years the itchy skin has got less.  He was waking up  between 3-5 times a night with angry dry skin. My friend, Michelle Tyson from SEED Skincare suggested that I use Avocado oil and Macadamia oil which has the Omega 3 fatty Acid in it that seems to be what my sons skin needs because he has been sleeping. It’s fantastic.

I first used straight cold pressed extra virgin Avocado oil bought from the Grocery store which I love. It does have a tendency to sit on the skin and take a while to absorb so it can get on your clothes and linen, which means it stains. Working it into a lotion may be preferable for some.