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View Diary: My 5th Annual World Autism Awareness Day Diary - Social Isolation and Making the Best of Things (77 comments)

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  •  My personal favorite (8+ / 0-)

    Me:  "My daughter will never work in a store.  Why do insist on focusing her vocation training in that direction?"

    Them:  "Don't underestimate her like that!  You never know what might happen!"

    To me, that's like telling the parents of a blind kid that she could be a pilot someday if they just believe in her!

    Being realistic about a disability is not the same as squashing someone's hopes and dreams.

    Giving her vocational training that might be actually useful to her seems like the more sensible path.  Call me crazy.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 11:16:51 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  That's my favorite, too (9+ / 0-)

      "I might think that you sound just like the administrators at Ellie's school and isn't that tiresome"

      We dealt with a school psychologist, a school occupational therapist and a state-funded counselor before we found an occupational therapist who identified my son's learning disability, nodded all the way through our description of all his challenges, cited similar cases and started us on a plan to help him out. I cried.

      The school psychologist insisted that he pick up a pen and write so his writing could be evaluated. I told him this kid will avoid a pen whenever and wherever possible (his has visual perception challenges, possibly dysgraphia). He kept telling us my son just needed to practice. Most people don't turn red, sweat and tremble during a writing exercise and then melt down when pushed. He talks like a college term paper, but writes like a five year-old. He needs accommodation, not practice.

      •  This is why I have my son (8+ / 0-)

        doing short answer questions by hand, while allowing him to type longer answers in the computer instead, or he dictates to me and I write it. I don't want him to forget how to write from disuse (and he would if I didn't make him write anything), because sometimes you have to write something. I want him to be able to write if he has to. But I recognize that writing things by hand is a lot harder for him, and so make accommodations on longer answers.  That way he has some practice with both, but doesn't feel overwhelmed because he knows he has options besides hand writing everything.

        For example, for history last week we studied the Third Battle of Ypres during WWI. One of the questions was: What natural event affected the battle? How?

        His answer: Rain. It made it hard to cross the battle field. Tanks got stuck.

        Short, effective, and correct. It didn't need a full essay answer. That much hand writing he can handle. We do his biology questions in a computer file because there he gives longer essay type answers.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 03:10:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've taught special education for 30 years... (8+ / 0-)

        At this moment I am actually taking a break as I work on an IEP. (Kos helps me clear my head sometimes...what can I say??) I read this diary and comments, and I just had to say something....

        I too have heard countless school psychologists, specialists, and other teachers try to make the case that the child "Should be challenged and expected to meet societal expectations". That sounds like a fine idea until you realize the reality of what is being asked from some people who live "On the spectrum"

        I have worked for my entire career with people who live with autism. Over the years I  have gotten a reputation of being quite good with students who have behavior  issues. In fact, my County Office of Education had me serve as the "Behavior Management Specialist" for the special education department for 3 years.

        I bring this up because one of  the reasons I was "good" with students who regularly demonstrated problem behavior is over the years I realized one very important thing: PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO THEIR AUTISM. That is, they have certain ingrained characteristics that make them different, not wrong. The author of the diary has a child who does not like to eat around small children. Rather than forcing her to learn to accept eating around small children, they have developed perfectly appropriate coping skills.

         It is no sin to avoid situations which give us difficulty.  When a family member has autism, the whole family is living "On the spectrum" to a very real extent. One very important key to having a happy, successful family is to identify coping strategies for difficult situations, and not just challenge and  insult the person with autism as "Someone who has to grow".

        Ok..I could say more, but I gotta get  back to writing an IEP now. Thanks to the author for putting her thoughts here for us to see.

        •  Getting people to understand (7+ / 0-)

          that "different, not wrong" notion is tough. I like your approach. We need more people out there like you.

          •  I always termed it "Picking my battles" (7+ / 0-)

            Sure, I could have made him wear socks when he was 4 years old, but at what cost? We live in Florida, it's not like it's 10 degrees outside, even in the winter. Why should I put my whole family through hell just to get him to wear socks?? I would much rather expend that energy teaching him new skills, enjoying time together, even cleaning than fighting with him all day over socks. Now not running into the street, that is something we fought with him over. Not running outside naked was another one. But just because head start felt he should be wearing socks was no reason for all of us to be miserable.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 04:52:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I remember you from another diary, teacherbill (6+ / 0-)

          about my daughter's troubles in middle school.  You had such a helpful perspective.

          I got her out of that class with that particular teacher who engaged in constant power struggles with my daughter, driving her to distraction and some epic meltdowns.

          When I accused the teacher of being incompetent, she took it very personally (imagine that, still it had to be said), which made it difficult to work with her.  She became extremely evasive and I had to do some serious sleuthwork to find out that she was not in compliance with the IEP.

          I told the school, "Get her in line, get a new teacher in there, get me into another classroom with a teacher I can live with, or we go to court."

          They got my daughter another classroom, with a much better teacher.  It wasn't an ideal solution, but it was a solution I could live with.  

          So, in conclusion, yes, teachers of children with autism need to respect who they are.  If you don't, everyone in that classroom with suffer, including the teacher.

          I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

          by coquiero on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 05:21:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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