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Wow, no posts for a year. Hope everyone is OK.

We have a 12 yo daughter with high functioning autism. Thought I would follow up on our middle school problem and report on the first year.

We solved our dilemma of school choice by "moving". Fortunately, the school was OK with it - don't ask don't tell - so we were able to put her in the good bad school and keep our services intact.

As exected, middle school is a challenge - mostly on the social front. She is having a very difficult time making and keeping friends. Most of the kids she knew from elementary school either moved (city middle schools are generally lousy) or are in "advanced" classes. With the onset of adolecence, her behavior was unpredictable and very problematic at times. Again, fortunately, the school was pretty tolerant - unlike if we had moved to the county - and she was able to hang in regular classes.

Academically, with the exception of English - her language and comprehension is still off - she did well. She received a history award for straight A's and was at the top of her class in Math. She passed all her end of year standardized tests (unlike many of her classmates). As a result next year she will be in the "advanced" classes for every subject except English. Hopefully, this will keep her engaged and place her with some of her old friends and mitigate the social problems.

Our main struggles are socially appropriate interactions and behavior (which can be really over the top on occassion). She can be defiant and get out of control. She is also having a difficult time coming to terms with her disability. She tends to equate "disability" with severe physical or mental challenges. Does anyone have any experience or insight in this regard?

Her greatest strenth is creativity. She takes Harp and taught herself to play the piano. She is very artistic and has come up with her own cartoon characters and story boards. She is also really adept at the computer.

This summer, the family (mom, dad and 14 yo sister) is going for an extended vacation in the West travelling by train (we have some concerns about flying - anyone with experience?). We will be camping and hiking in No. Utah, Teton, Yellowstone and end up in Glacier NP. Don't know how it will turn out but I'm sure it will prove "interesting".

Have a good summer all.

Regards. Thetis.
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Do enjoy your family train trip.
I'm presuming you mean Amtrak, and I've done several (8 or so? not sure) trips from Austin Texas to Cleveland ('home') and can share thoughts on them either here or you may write me.

Understand that the train Will Sit and Not Move at times. That happens, you have to just enjoy where you are. They used to have a movie (VCR) on the train, but last time I was on everyone was personally engaged with their own Devices they brought, so no special movie provided. It was always very hard to understand though, and train announcements broke into the soundtrack, so that may be why it was eliminated.

The train can be as social an activity as you want, or it can be more private. Are you getting a room for the family? I imagine that would be best, but not necessary.

anyway, good luck.
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