Sunday, December 02, 2012

Autism at CMS Part 2

Very big news on the autism front is that the term "Asperger's" will no longer be used. A new term for autistic kids like mine who have behaviorial problems will be Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, a mouthful boiled down to the acronym DMDD.

Hopefully this will help officials at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools understand autism better. At this point all we hear from the school system is that meltdowns are the child's choice, and we are told repeatedly just to talk to our son so he will understand he's making bad choices. Despite the fact that meltdowns are extraordinarily common in kids with high functioning autism--so common they now are part of a special label--CMS officials insist that they are not characteristic of how they understand autism. Update: reading more closely, the article doesn't explicitly link autism and meltdowns but rather just mentions them together. So we'll have to wait and see.

The problem is that CMS makes virtually no effort as an institution to understand autism. Teachers and EC teachers alike tell us how little training they have, and we know there are no programs--absolutely none in a huge school system--for kids with high functioning autism. I will not hold my breath, but with luck the DSM-5 shift will force CMS to acknowledge certain facts. Aside from a few committed individuals in some schools, there is incredible resistance to acceptance.


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