Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Great Resource

Someone in my Google Group sent a link to a set of videos called, "Ask An Autistic". What a wonderful idea! This young woman, Amethyst, describes stimming, echolalia,  and many other autism-related issues based on her point of view as a young woman with autism.

And in this particular video, she comments on ABA and then describes DIR/Floortime. Amethyst states that she thinks ABA should not be used with anyone (Well, I can't really agree with that, although I've made it clear several times that I do not believe ABA should be the only intervention) and then does on to talk about Floortime.

I am going to make it a point to watch all of her videos. I find that the insight gained by listening to people with autism is expansive and really starts me thinking about how  we approach teaching and being with people on the spectrum.

In my own experience, working for about an hour a week at the most using DIR with children in sub-separated classes results in limited but useful progress. For many of these kids, I dream about seeing them in a full-day, school-based DIR program. I know that is very hard to imagine, (and it is also difficult for me to imagine), but I'd love to see a school where children are not seen as 'having behaviors' and where we limit our adult thinking about the functions of their behaviors in strictly behavioral terms. Can't we successfully think both about specific functions of behaviors that include pain, medical issues, hunger, anger, boredom, and many other issues that are functions of our neurotypical behaviors?

Outside the box? A more comprehensive approach? Yes, let's try!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back To the Blog

Well, I know I took an unintentional vacation from this blog.....since July 5, 2014.

And it was good. The vacation, I mean. I am hoping to start some interesting discussions about treatment and intervention.  And points of view!

So, I really would love folks who read this to comment. And argue.  And present some different opinions....

I stumbled  upon this little video which I like a lot.

Check it out:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Powerful Mother/Daughter Pair

Wow. I can't stop reading this blog. It makes me wonder if we are severely limiting our students by not trying typing with them (since the evidence-based zealots refuse to think out side the box!).

Where would the harm be in trying? In getting trained in Soma's method? If it can work for one child, where is the harm? This mom is not touching her child while she types, so we can be sure the words are the child's. I have met people who type independently to communicate; so what if they started with someone holding their arms back and providing support, eliminating frantic, impulsive and random typing? Isn't communication  something we have to learn?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Excuses, Excuses

Well, apparently I have not attained my goal of posting regularly.....I have my reasons, which included a week and more of household upheaval while workmen installed new wood floors, a trip to Connecticut to see a Bruce Springsteen show,

(And I FINALLY won the lottery to stand in the Pit, right in front of the stage, so I was THIS CLOSE to the was a lot of fun!)

and then hospitalization and 14 days of IV antibiotics for an infection that started as a UTI and became an infection in my kidneys and blood....and that infection sapped my strength and energy, so getting through the end of the school year was a challenge....

But I did. And one thing I learned about working with the kids with ASD....I do my best work when I am fully present with them, not distracted by having to take notes or data, not concerned about if they were making progress toward my specific goals, but when I can delight in them in the moment, respond to them honestly and intuitively, and be WITH them (with uppercase letters!).

And this experience flies in the face of IEPs, writing annual goals and objectives, taking data to determine if they have met their goals and objectives, and pre-planning what it is they are supposed to learn. What if teachers were absolutely present with their students, responsive rather than directive, following up on the child's initiations rather then telling the child what to do and how to do it? What would that education be like for our kids with ASD?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Random Thoughts

As far as my absence from this blog, I have made a trip to Senegal. You can read about that trip on this blog:

I have been loving this particular blog:

The mom and her daughter write so beautifully and convincingly. It gives me hope to keep on listening to the students I serve.

Then I read this blog, which makes me a little crazy. These writers are totally anti-vaccinations, and consider any article that states that vaccines are necessary for all kids to be outrageous!

And Autism Awareness Week or Month? I have mixed feelings about it. We do a wonderful week at a school where I work, and we really celebrate our students with autism and their friends. I am only sorry I can't post anything here about it because I do not have permission to post those photos or interviews. But what good is awareness without action? Education?  Simple awareness is not enough.....we have to educate!

I hope to be back on this blog on a regular basis.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Taking a Break

Hi all,

There's been a lot going on around here...and I am leaving tomorrow to take a trip to Senegal with students from one of the schools I work for....No, the students with autism who are included are not coming with us. They could if their families wanted them to do so, but they did not apply. We are taking our multicultural group by train to DC tomorrow in the morning, and then catching a flight to Dakar at 7:30 PM.  So I will not be blogging here for at least a week.

Take care and enjoy your April vacation!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Wading Through Information: Tons of it!

I have a question: how do you readers wade through the extraordinary volumes of blogs, newsletters, research reports, articles, studies, and organizations that are available to us on the Internet? I need help!

Sometimes I just troll and click on items that look interesting. I try to keep up with the published literature, but I am interested in parents' blogs, incidental reports on such things as Rapid Prompting Method, the fact that Syracuse University still supports and teaches Facilitated Communication, and try to understand, in general, the puzzle that is autism. I like first-person accounts and, despite the research, I believe that there are genuinely adults who communicate by typing and that the Rapid Prompting Method, although not evidence-based, has helped children learn. Do I believe that there is any method that succeeds with ALL children? No.

So, how do you keep track of the enormous amount of autism information that is out there?

 And, just FYI, the writers at are still condemning the CDC for causing autism by hiding the 'truth' of how vaccines are responsible for the autism 'epidemic'.....apparently we can't trust the CDC at all. Check it, and be sure to comment about how you handle wading through topics in which you are interested.