Kat's Autism Story



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To help raise awareness of the importance mental health understanding Danuta organized a "Hat Day" for May -Mental Health Month at the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club. The funds raised were donated to the Alzheimer's Association.

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Special School


Child with Autism at PlayThe district recommended a special school for Kat as soon as she turns three. We were all excited because she would finally be in a learning environment. She went on her first bus ride in the beginning of September after her third birthday. I think I followed the bus the first day to make sure she was not being kidnapped.

The school was a makeshift facility in an office building by a main highway, no playground, one big classroom with areas for eating, playing, and learning. But I was thrilled that Kat could get in. They had six children, 1 teacher, three aides and speech and Occupational therapist part time. The teacher was nice enough and the aides were OK. They insisted that we make visits by appointment only to come to the school. I managed to find reasons to check things out unannounced.

I never caught them doing anything bad to Kat but I saw them strap another girl to a chair that locked her in place. I had a vision of Kat trapped in a car seat and told them that this was unacceptable for Kat. They assured me that they never use it for Kat and that they have permission to put the other girl in it from the parent.

I did believe them then, but thinking back I’m sure Kat spent some time in the chair too. Within a month, her hair pulling started again and she added nose picking and putting innatimate objects inside her nose to her behavior resume. The teacher told us that Kat did not pull her hair at school and that we should redirect her. Sounds easy enough, as long as you can have a person at home watching Kat full time round the clock.

I tried to ensure that Kat would be dressed as well as her sister. She always looked cute going to school. It was important I felt that those around her do not treat her differently because of the way she looked or dressed. She did participate in a lot of ways. Once she understood the routine she would go along without screaming. But as soon as they would try to teach something new, she would skillfully revert to her screaming technique.


Danuta - Kat's Mom, December 2, 2006