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Living with Autism - Page: 2 of 12

My mom died in Hamburg on Jan. 29th, 1998. I took care of her, my son, my wife and my mother´s funeral. I completed all of her last business affairs. The next problem was to get special education school programming together. I was very engaged in Alex´s LA school situation. At that point in our lives, I realized if I don´t take care of Alex myself he would try self-abuse and destroy himself. I would never let this happen. At the group home in LA, a lot of incidents were happening. In addition, Alex experienced suddenly high blood pressure. Beta Blocker medication was prescribed to him. Once in Germany I was able to get him back to normal blood pressure and slowly was getting him off that medication again.

As I mentioned before, the school situation in Hamburg was a problem. I wanted to get Alex into a full time school (9 a.m. to 3 p.m). The school principal wanted do it slow, an hour at the time, because they claimed full time would have been too much pressure for him. I knew he had to know from the beginning, plus he was use to full time school in Glendale, CA. Reluctantly I was agreeing, just to be at peace with the school principal and teacher. I was hoping we were building up to something. Unfortunately the build up never happen as I hoped for. They did not even help me to find a one-on-one aid help, which Alex need, for the school system. In Germany, we still have the military draft. Young men who would not serve in the military had to do civil service duties. I was able to find qualified young men to do this task with my son. It was not easy. They were not able to do more than 4 hours a day Mondays thru Fridays, 20 hours a week. The school system did not provide assistance for the surroundings, which was important. In addition, they were always 4 weeks of vacation out of 12 months.

I tried to send my wife, who was born in the USA like our son, to school to learn German, to integrate her in German society. That never happened due to much stress taking care of Alex and not enough time off to do anything. He has a need of both of us in that situation even more than usual. In June of 2000, 2 days before the summer school vacation started, Alex pushed one of the special educators on the school grounds during break time. The principal suspended him from the school. During this time, he was about 3 hours a day in the school system. The following school year up to the end before we left Germany, he received 4 to 6 hours a week of education, alone in class room with teacher and one-on-one aid, no other children around him, all together 20 hours a week with the aid included.

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