25 answers

My 6 Yr Old Gets Suspended from Kindergarten Has Been Diagnosed W/ Autism

I am trying very hard to get my son the education that he deserves. He is in Kindergarten this year. He has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This does not help him at all!! His IEP doesn't even state that he has been diagnosed. They have Behavioral and developmental delay. I don't know what to do anymore. I have called the special education coordinator to set up a meeting and she has not return my call with an appointment time. My son receives speech, OT and resource. There is also an Aide in the classroom to work with him. She is the classroom aide not his personal aide. My son has issues with aggression. He doesn't like transitions. He would rather be alone than with other children. I feel like the teacher doesn't want him in her classroom( too much trouble). I don't think the principal wants him in her school. I get phone a phone call about once a week. I got a call friday wanting me to pick my son up (1:20) because he tried to hit the aide but hit his arm on the shelf which left a bruise, wanted to hit another student because he was the leader, pulled the aide's hair, and ran out of the classroom when he didn't want to do his work. " He is running out of the classroom and he could get hurt." This is very stressful! I have broken out with hives on my face. I just don't know what to do anymore. Can anyone give me any ideas?

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for all your help! I have recently called the Special Education coordinator and we have a meeting set for 1PM on Tuesday the 13th of October. Everyone agrees that what is put in place is not working. Which makes me feel a little better. I did ask what our options would be if he was not able to be in the Kindergarten class. She said " Honestly, I don't know but I will talk to my supervisor." She also today me that there is a class for Children with Autism but my son is verbal so she didn't feel that class would benefit him. Not sure what we will be able to do. Now I need to think about what I think he needs and tell them what I think. I know I need to be strong or they will walk all over me. I have heard to many stories about how they treat other families. Again Thanks so much!

More Answers

This is a frank forum so I want to speak frankly. I don't care what state this is happening in, it is happening ACROSS THE BOARD in EVERY state. If your kid is in need of anything more than a little speech therapy or physical therapy they don't really want to have anything to do with you...granted, YES they HAVE to deal with you by law but that doesn't mean they will make it a pleasant experience. Bottom line here is they WANT you to withdraw your kid and move him someplace else. It is the fact of the matter that budgets are being cut EVERYWHERE and no one is suffering more for it than the people who need it most. My kid was in public last year and we were SOOO egreviously unhappy with the teacher that we literally pulled him mid-year and went parochial...could we afford it, no not really, but it got my son more attention and care that he needed and was getting in public school.

Now, I'm not saying what I did is your solution. Far be it. Every classroom is stretched. Heck I heard our public went from 1:23 to 1:32 this year because they secretly let some of the teachers go (and not informing the parents of this). No, I say you fight it but you are beyond dealing with the principal now...I think it's time you talk to the actual school board as well as the superintendant. If THAT doesn't rattle their trees (which I should expect it would) then I would take it further up the chain and talk to your congressional representatives. Bottom line is this is all boiling down to dollars and cents. Autistic kids are the new ADD. Budgets were stretched on ADD/ADHD and are now dipping into wells that have long been dry. Workers are overworked and underpaid. What the principal is doing is not right and they probably know it but the thinking/mindset of today is that perhaps, just perhaps if they make it difficult and intrusive enough for you then you will act in their benefit (i.e move or withdraw your child). This is the same thing your child does when they pull badgering or martyrdom on you...if it works for the kid or they wear you out enough they have one. DON'T let the school district get away with this behavior.

Instead of picking your child up on Friday at 1:20 you should have told them "I'm sorry, my husband is out of town right now and I'm in an important business meeting that I can't leave. You'll just have to keep him until I can get there at x time." Yes, it may have been a lie but by law they HAVE to keep him unless you have someone who can pick them up...this puts the responsiblity back on their shoulders where it should have been all along for not being able to deal with his behavior. They think that if they can interrupt your busy day enough they will drive you to distraction and get what they want...one less student. I'm probably going to get a lot of flack for this but you live in IL, my BFF lives in MO, and I live in KS and this is a problem I am hearing about across the board. Unless someone (mainly a lot of someones) step up and start making a lot of noise about this and getting more money back into the schools EVERYONE'S kid is going to be suffering...it's not just the special needs kids because all the normal kids get put in the same disruptive classroom as the special needs kids do...and once the teacher gets frazzled, well so do all the kids and then there is total anarchy... One on one paras are a godsend (I should know my mil is one in a special needs center) they are overworked and underpaid (they keep her at just below 40hrs so they don't have to pay her health insurance and for that she is beaten and abused regularly by her students). I'm all for integration in the classroom, as long as the ratios are managable for a teacher and there are paras to help them with the special needs kids...without that, honestly, could any of you truly manage 25 normal kids every single day plus 2-3 that may be ADD, ADHD, or autistic?

Obama wants our kids to be in school longer...frankly, I don't think that's something that should even be considered until they get more funding for the schools NOW so that they can get better ratios & more help for the special needs kids. Longer hours only compound this already taxed problem.

Sorry for the rant, but this is something that I think ALL moms/parents/child raisers should be alert to. Elevate your problem to the next level. Document when you called the principal and what messages you left. Take that information with you to the meeting with the school board/superintendant (or mention it on the phone with them). If that doesn't wake them up...keep moving on up the line.

5 moms found this helpful

A.,
I think you need to step up and home school your son. What you are asking for is the school to figure out how to deal with him when they also have a room full of children with similar problems. I understand that from your perspective, you feel they are failing you and your son. They can not be expected to have all the answers when none of the answers are easy, all of the children they care for needs special care and individual attention and one aide in a room full of special children simply is not enough. Have you considered what it might be like in his room? Have you offered to come and sit and help? Your profile says you are a stay at home mom. Also, I believe I noticed he's the youngest. I'll bet that you are his best hope.

I bet all these resources listed by the last person will be a great help. But I see no reason why you shouldn't read everything you can get your hands in, roll up your sleeves and become your child's teacher, either at home or in the classroom right a long side his teacher and the aide.

S.

3 moms found this helpful

I am a teacher in a public school, and I have to say that your school district is horrible!!! I can't believe that they are not bending over backwards to help your son. We are trained regularly on Autism. We meet monthly with a Autism specialist to discuss strategies for specific kids. We have seen amazing growth in our Autistic students. I have never had a class larger than 22 students. We have seen so much success and growth among these students as well as an increased empathy from classmates.

I'm aware that there are some poor public schools out there, but please don't generalize or stereotype public education. What my district is doing is not unique. There are many amazing public schools as well.

3 moms found this helpful

A., I am so sorry you have to go through this! I have a nephew who is now 10 and lives in New Jersey and has Asperger's Syndrome. He had many of the same issues as your son, and it has been a nightmare for my brother and sister-in-law to get him the resources he needs. After watching the way their school district and child study team have been so difficult with my nephew, I have learned a few things. Just this year they got an advocate to come to any meetings with the child study team. The difference in the way my nephew is treated as well as my brother and sister-in-law are like night and day! However, before going so far as to get an advocate, I WOULD contact local support organizations and ask for their suggestions/help. There seem to be some great organizations in the St. Louis area (I've looked because I would love for my brother to move out here with his family). Here are some web sites to start with: http://www.mofeat.org, http://www.touchpointautism.org, http://www.dmh.missouri.gov/mrdd/autismsupport.htm (list of support organizations in MO), http://stlouis.momslikeme.com/members/groupabout.aspx?g=2... (local online group like mamasource but for moms with special needs children), and http://www.autism-society.org. I know this is a lot of information, but I hope some of it will be helpful to you. God bless you and lead you as you seek the best opportunities for your son!

2 moms found this helpful

I'm not sure what state and city you live in, but there should be a local advocacy agency for children with disabilities. Contact them and request that one of their advocates accompany you to the school to meet with the Special Education Coordinator. Schools have a tendency to ignore you until you bring in a regulating agency or someone who knows how to fight for your son's rights.

I also have a son who started Kindergarten this year. We have been to his school weekly and have met with his entire team in the Special Ed classroom and have managed to make some changes in his IEP. Though, I haven't had to bring in an advocacy agency, I keep their number on speed dial just in case the school stops listening to my concerns.

Keep fighting for your son! He deserves the best from you and all the educators in his life. know this is not easy, it is more than worth the fight. If you have trouble locating the advocacy agency, contact the state board of education. They should be able to get the information for you.

I'm praying your success.
God bless you and your son.
S.

2 moms found this helpful

I personally don't have any experience with this, however one of my employees has a 6 yr old son that was diagnosed with Ashberger's (a form of autism) about a year ago. She would get a call at least twice/week from the school that he had hit someone or kicked someone and finally, she met with a Dr here in Wichita over at Heartspring and got some suggestions from him. The IEP does state he has this problem, this year he has a para assigned to him, she has only been called two or three times this year, which is fantastic. He also struggles with aggression, cannot handle change, he doesn't make eye contact, has no social skills. She has done alot of research on this condition and has had to fight for him to the point sometimes that she is physically and mentally exhausted, but as I told her, she is his only advocate, if she doesn't fight for what he needs, noone else will. Good Luck!!!

2 moms found this helpful

I have grandsons who are on the spectrum. One is 7 and so severly autistic that he doesn't talk. One is three and has Aspergers syndrome. Their father also has Asperger's. In order to get help for the children,they hve had to fight. Every year it is another fight. If you have a copy of his psyche evaluation be sure and take it with you to the school. I would make sure you had many copies in your possession.

There is a National autism Society which may be able to help you. And there should be one for each state, as well. You can look these up on the Internet. They can tell you exactly what your rights are.

If the school district suspends him many days (each state is probably different) then they must assign him a teacher at home.

Please take a deep breath and relax. If you are overwhelmed you can not protect your son.

2 moms found this helpful

These are great responses with lots of advice. Keep calling about the IEP meeting. As a parent you have the right to request one whenever you want and they must legally scheduel one. If you are able to contact a prfessional advocate through one of the listed suggestions given by other members, they may be able to give you specific ideas. I worked at a counseling center in KS which provided one on one services for kidos in the school setting. The kids were refered to my services through their therapist. My services cost the school nothing and my job was similar to a para. Most of the kids were on medicaide and that is what covered the cost of my services. It sounds like having a one on one para could help and at the very least getting his hours of extra help increased and targeted during the high needs times such as math and reading. I know that a kid that I worked with didn't need the support the whole day of school but he needed it most of the time. Have faith in yourself, you sound like a great mother and already working hard to ensure that your child is successful. Keep it up and don't forget to take a breather yourself!

2 moms found this helpful

A.,

You should talk with my friend Tammie. Her son has been diagnosed with Asperger's, in the autism spectrum, and he has experienced many of the problems you mention with your son. She's now using a very simple nutritional approach that has tremendously decreased his problems with focus and concentration, as well as his tendencies toward violence. He now plays nicely with his younger siblings instead of enjoying pushing them downstairs or hitting them. He's doing much better in school, too.

Let me know if you'd like to speak with Tammie, and I'll connect you.

Blessings,
M.

2 moms found this helpful

you definately need to demand an appointment with the sped teacher and don't give up. The persistant parents get things done. My niece has autism and my brother didn't give up. Well after 2 years because they were so involved in everything concerning their autistic child they thought about switching her to another school district and have their current school system pay for her tuition because they weren't providing what she needed. Her special doctors told them what she requires as far as which type of teachers and when they had an IEP meeting and discussed these issues the school district decided to hire 3 more teachers that would meet her needs rather than pay for her to go to another school district. Now there are other kids that have recently moved to their area that are getting what they need and they researched the sped program before they moved there and were pleased with how many specialists were available for such a small school district so by my brother and sis-in-law staying very involved and working together with the school district she got what she needed and now other children are benefitting from the changes as well.

You need to be very involved with your doctors, psychologist which your child should be seeing one, and the teachers. When you start talking about sending your child where they will get the proper education the school will try to work with you because they do not want to pay 3000.00 a month plus transportation to send your child to another school district but you have rights and if their school doesn't have what you need then that school has to pay.

You definately need to get his IEP changed to every need your child needs listed on it. Your child should not be in the classroom all day. Whenever he starts acting like he might have a meltdown then they need to send him to the sped room for a break until he calms down. That is what the sped classrooms are for. Now if he is already in that room all day as I know some kids are then they need to recognize when he is starting to get agitated and quickly switch gears to another activity. With him being Kindergarten they are still trying to get to know his moods and actions.

Just don't give up and stay involved. I worked as a para in sped rooms with several autistic kids and noticed the kids that the parents were involved more got better care. The ones where parents seem to not care seemed to be the ones that had constant issues and teachers need a lot of communication with the parents to get to know your child better. As they understand your child as each child is different with different needs and what works for one autistic child may not work for the next one. The more they know about your child the better things will be.

Stand your ground and stay involved and you should get some results. Be positive with the teachers and please don't make them feel like they aren't doing a good job because it is a very tough job to which they are definately underpaid for. It is tough to be a room with special kids all day long and try to make each one happy. No matter how many paras are in the room to help it is a tough job for all and sometimes your life is in danger when a kid has a meltdown because they are very strong. There were times we had to evacuate the room because an autistic child had a major meltdown and was hurting the teacher and disrupting the classroom. We got the other 10 kids out of the room quickly and went to the library for several hours until the parent came to get the upset child because there was nothing we could do to calm her down. So just know that things like this do happen even when everything seemed to be going well most of the morning. One thing these kids do not do well with is having subs in the classroom or having any little thing disrupt their normal routine so anything can set off a meltdown so just have to be alert and ready at all times for anything.

You do have to realize that you will get phone calls on those tough days and have to deal with it and have a back up plan like a relative or close friend that understands your child to be on standby to pick your child up when the school calls. I have had to pick my niece up a few times because they couldn't calm her down. She did fine for me when I picked her up but wasn't having a good day for them at all. She has mild autism and ADD.

In fact today I am babysitting a close friends 3 year old that was recently diagnosed with autism because she has a temporary schedule change at her job and doesn't have a babysitter for these hours yet and since it is only a few weeks really doesn't want to pursue looking for one either so between me and his grandma we are watching him until she goes back to her regular schedule.

Stay positive and involved and know that you are not alone.

Do a lot of research for your child and find out as much as you can on his rights in public schools. They may have to hire more teachers for his needs.

1 mom found this helpful

A., my niece is Autistic and in her second year of kindergarten...and I really do not know what the future holds for her education wise, but I know that you are your sons best advocate and if his IEP isn't correct you will have to fight to change it. Also I do not know how my sister got a para for my niece but she has someone who works with my niece daily in school to help keep her more focused, to keep her in line so that the teachers hands aren't tied up with one child. Also you may want to consider looking into medication? My niece was very aggressive and now they have her on an incredibally low dose of clonidine ( ? I think that is how it is spelled) and it helps with her aggression. Too many people are Not well enough informed about Autism, the idea that your child should in anyway be punished for being Autistic is absurd. I am sorry for your stress, I will pray fro you and your family, if you would like to msg me I would be happy to talk anytime, and I can also ask my sister if she could tell me what avenue she had to go through to get my niece a para ( I know they do not pay for it out of their pocket)
((hugs))
B.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a boy with the PDD and has been diagonosed with severe anxiety disorder. He is in second grade this year. I 'm not sure what school district you are in but I wanted to share with you what really helped me as a parent. I worked with with a behavorial therapist. He helped me and my son deal with anxious situations. He is also on medication (I know this is not for everyone). My boy has learned to cope, don't get me wrong he still has some issues but he is doing really well in school socially. He wants to be there and is making friends. He is also working really hard academically.

We made a decision about a 1 yr and 1/2 ago after Kindergarten year to move him to the Blue Valley School District which was reccommended by my doctors at Childrens Mercy. THis meant us moving from our lives as we knew them and our home which we loved. It has been the best thing for him... he flourished in first grade and even though there are new challenges in second , he is persevering. They have really worked with us to make sure my son is getting exactly what he needs.
I want you know that when things seem so bad that there are more of us out there and you will get through downs because when you get the ups... they are so great. Remember be an advocate for your son.. see your relationship with the school as a partnership.
Hang in there!
My behavioral therapist in Dr. V Barone. He is awesome!

1 mom found this helpful

Homeschooling is always an option.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello A.,

You've had some great responses so far. I'm a mom of a child with autism. He's in the 2nd grade, and has been receiving services since he was 2 1/2. Just wanted to mention one thing the school told me. Even though your son has a medical diagnosis of autism, there is no guarantee that he will be given the same educational diagnosis. I don't think you can just request that the diagnosis be changed for his IEP, either. I think that he would have to be reevaluated from the special school district. The people who test him would be the ones who would be changing the label. I agree with the other moms that having the label does potentially change how they would handle him. Sometimes, this isn't always a great thing, as every behavior can get over analyzed.

One mom suggested you contact the Judevine Center. I think they've changed their name to Touch Point. Anyway, they have been wonderful advocates for my son. They know how to work with a school to get the best for your child. I've be able to have them as a resource since my son has an open case through the St. Louis Regional Center. Does your son have a case manager???

Another thing, by law your school must provide adequate services to educate your son. If they do not, they must place your son at another school (either in the same district, or another district) where his needs will be met.

I know that some schools are more equipped to help special needs kiddos than others. If yours is one of those that simply doesn't have the resources, by law they must address this.

The Judevine Center might also be able to help you sort through the home school vs. public school issue to help you decide what is best. They are objective, and also have so much experience with children from all points on the autism spectrum.

Please contact me if you would like to chat further.

Best of luck to you!

M.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
You may be interested in the life concepts and identity development that the Davis Autism Approach could give your son.
The website is http://www.davisautism.com/what_daa.html.
Hope this is helpful in dealing with your son :)
C.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear A.-- There are many resources available to you and your child if you live in either Missouri or Kansas. I am the parent of an now young adult with developmental issues, but I also work for the Institute for Human Development at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Here at the Institute we are very familiar with quite a number of issues that relate to individuals with developmental disabilities, and as a part of our Family Support and Self Advocacy division, we have the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Resource Center (MODDRC). At the MODDRC we can provide information, share referrals and resources,and connect you with other parents who are trained mentors that have experience in some of the same events you and your child are experiencing. All of our services are provided free of charge. Please feel free to call us at ###-###-#### or 800-444-0821 and we will put you in contact with resources that can assist. Sincerely, J. Hatfield-Callen

1 mom found this helpful

Just wanted to say that I am dealing with similar issues (my son does not have autism though). My school is very supportive and has him on an IEP. His teacher is great and so is the principal. I'd be more firm with the school; they have a legal and moral obligation to educate your child. I plan to read what other mamas suggest too since I have similar issues with my son.
My heart breaks for you; remember you are not alone! Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful

You didn't mention what district you are in, but some offer resources that can specifically help your child. Be prepared if you try to switch districts and want your current one to pay for it - it will go into what is called Due Process and it is a lengthy and expensive pursuit. Also, if you win, the district pays your legal fees, if you lose, you pay them. Just a heads up on that topic...

Your son deserves an education and an updated IEP may be the answer. You can ask for a meeting and a re-evaluation. Request a para that specializes in these behaviors. Just remember that the other kiddos deserve a safe environment, too. If he is trying to hit others, that's a problem. If he has a para that knows how to handle aggression, he can learn strategies to help him get through difficult situations. Since he is young, now is the best time to start. You may be amazed at how much he can do with the proper support!

Good luck and keep us posted, don't forget to take care of yourself.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
I feel for you, and I imagine how frustrated, upset and sad you feel right now. I home school my older child, and I have never suggested anyone to do so because is a very personal , and depend just on people's experiences, needs, and real knowledge of the subject. However, this time I would you suggest to try a homeschooling alternative.It does not have to be lifetime or for years and years, just take it like one step at a time, one year or one quarter at a time. At the same time while doing this, you may find easier to find the help you and your child needs (better doctors, another school,treatments, support groups..etc), the real resources you need at the present time, not today nor tomorrow, just now. If you cannot find the resources in schools, or willingness of teachers (there are and there are not)or realistic (more than real) support for your child, just think of the alternative to have him at home, work with him and start teaching him at HIS pace the basic (reading, math, writing,etc..) like a couple of hours and then break, then an hour or 20 more minutes..etc. I don't think you need to spend the whole day on this, the material covered in Kindergarten is not long and uneasy. there are plenty of resources and material on line, in the libraries, institutions, organizations, academies, other homeschoolers... Kindergarten is elementary , is simple and yourself will know everything he needs to know with your patience and love what he needs to know at this age.
Don't be reluctant of homeschooling. I started last year with my kid, I was scared and reluctant but after a lot of research and my very strong reasons, I started and it has been an interesting, challenging (chores, a toddler, taking care of the family, etc, etc...) but a very rewarding experience. DON'T BE AFRAID of your kid being isolated, that IS NOT the truth of homeschooling; homeschooling is NOT isolation; there are still PLENTY of activities and sports out there for every kid. So, you can start to do something for your child now and get all the help he needs while he won't lose part of his academic learning. A., you have older children, so It is not going to be as hard as you think, you can do it.
Take your time, breathe and think of another alternatives. It is not easy to take the decision of homeschooling because is a great responsibility, but in this case you need to stand up for your child, and so far nobody has gave you or provided you with what he and yourself really need. Sometimes what most people do and also what is part of the rule and common life does not always work or help, and we have to find alternatives especially when is about our children.
I hope everything works for you, you are a great mom, make things work for you, if one door is closed there is always another one widely open.
A.

1 mom found this helpful

A.,
I would contact MO-FEAT in St. Louis and ask them if you could get the name of an advocate. The local chapter of Autism Speaks will also give you some direction. You need to reconvene his IEP and have his educational diagnosis switched to Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is amazing the difference you will see if you walk into an IEP with well informed advocate who knows what your child needs and in entitled to in his educational setting. Homeschooling works for some and can be fantastic. However, for a child with autism I would do it as a last resort. You are trying to teach your child how to function in society and rules that go along with it. I am sure your son has alot of potential and he needs the chance to be successful. In order for that to happen, he needs the right tools and plan set in place. They should have the proper staff in place to meet your son's needs. I would pick up the phone today and not stop until you get the name of an advocate that can help you work with the school district to help your son move forward and be successful in his school setting. Good luck!

I don't know where you live but I would try to get him into a special needs school.He needs an Aide that knows how to deal with children with Autism.My child's school provides them.We have Aides that sit with children in their classrooms and they are their own aide while at school and are provided.If the aide can not handle your son then maybe they should find one that does.It is the school's job to educate him.I understand that they can not have him or anyone else be unsafe but normally if they know how to work with children that have disabilities the outbursts will be fewer.I am so sorry you are going through this!

go to the superintendant because that is a very improfessional approach to a situation where the kid doesn't completely understand everything. That and sounds to me like a crappy school. Obviously to me sounds like they don't want to take the time to ensure that he has a good education like the rest of the kids. I'm also wondering if he would benefit from a natural herbal tea to help calm him down. maybe a chamomile tea or valariean root tea. although to much of the valariean root will put him to sleep.

who diagnosed him with Autism Spectrum Disorder? what school district are you in?? Blue Springs school district has special classes at certain schools and they are taken there by bus no matter whether you are in that school districts area or not. Of course you do need to live in the Blue Springs school district area though.

Are you working with DESE (The department of Elementary and Secondary Education)? I spent about a decade working with the MR/DD population. I realize that Autism is not MR/DD but DESE works with all kinds. If for some reason they can't help you they will be able to direct you to someone who can. They will also know how to get your school to cooperate with you and your child. Most of my school-aged clients went to Missouri Valley (State school), but I did have a client who attended Smithville High School and they were excellent about working with us (her team of advocates) and her to make her high school experience just as normal as any high schooler without a disability. I wish I had some contact information for you but I'm afraid all my former contacts have all moved on. DESE is listed in the phone book. Call your KC office-they have an office in the Northland.
Good luck.

Hi A.. My husband teaches children with special needs...specifically those with behavior disorders and he does have a couple with Autism this year. Please let me first reassure you that most teachers in the field (it's difficult to say all in any category of something, but at the very least most) want what's best for the student involved. They would not be in the field if they didn't. It's a very tough field and heart-wrenching in some cases. It may take the SPED coord a few days to call you back only b/c there are procedures they have to follow and there are several kids on their case load. Keep calling until you can get some answers. I'm not sure what district you're in, but several have Autism Specialists. See if yours is one of those districts and schedule time with that person as well. Most of all, don't get discouraged. There is help out there for you and people who want your son to succeed! You're not alone in this. Keep persistent. Good luck!

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