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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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  •  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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