Inclusion: Make It an Open Classroom Discussion

Diane Levinthal http://www.socialstrides.com Sensitivity and compassion can result from having kids with autism and social challenges included in regular education classrooms. It is also likely that there will be no choice other than inclusion, financially, in the future. Classrooms will have to accept differences (and I write this knowing that every child is “different”). How do we make inclusion positive for everyone involved? I taught in a district autism spectrum inclusion project, have worked in speech for 25 yrs, and have a middle school child with PDD/ADHD. In my experience, what is important and overlooked is that regular education peers are not given good information. The teachers are trained (supposedly) as are the other staff, but the kids themselves are told little besides “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It has been my observation that in kindergarten and early elementary school, most kids are either…

Questionable Autism Approaches: Facilitated Communication and Rapid Prompting Method

Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism no longer supports the conclusions behind the original version of this post, and in fact opposes efforts to deny autistic people communication options based on outdated and insufficient evidence. We will be posting a full statement on our current position shortly. Shannon Rosa TPGA Senior Editor August 5, 2016

Looking for a Few Good Pixels

It’s time for us to start working on a cover for our book. We’ve looked through our own photographs, and we may still have one we like, but we thought we’d open up the possibility of finding something great from our readers. We are looking for a photograph, or image (drawn, painted etc.) of a path. We’re hoping to find something that resembles the image Jean Winegardner conjures in this essay. some quotes from the essay: “It is made up of dirt and rocks and it winds through and up a mountain pass.” “Some days, when we trip and fall, we see a beautiful flower under a rock that we wouldn’t have seen had we not stumbled.” “Sometimes the path is dark and scary. And sometimes its beauty takes our breath away.” If we select your image, it will be used on the cover of our book! Please see our…

What Now? Ten Tips for Families with a New Autism Diagnosis

Squillo http://confutata.wordpress.com I’m sure the person who said hindsight is 20/20 didn’t have a child with autism. (Actually, I’m sure he or she didn’t have a child of any kind.) You’re never finished being a parent: as the Jason Robards character said in the movie Parenthood, “you never get to spike the ball and do your touchdown dance.” I have no idea if some of the things I’ve done will end up having helped or hindered my attempts to attain that Holy Grail of Parenthood: happy, healthy children. Of course, this has nothing to do with autism, and everything to do with just being a parent, but there are challenges (and joys!) specific to parenting a child with autism, hence the birth of this group and this website. Shannon, one of The Thinking Guide to Autism’s founders, asked me to put together a list of things I wish I’d known…

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(Extra) Ordinary Days

Kristen Spina http://kristenspina.wordpress.com/ I hang back, following but not too closely, watching my son and his two best friends through the viewfinder, my face hidden behind the awkwardness of a zoom lens. As I watch the boys cross the red wood bridge, I snap half a dozen photos. And then again, as they settle in on the dock, taking turns casting, tossing pieces of bread to a giant turtle bobbing on the lake’s surface. There is little to show here for my son’s differences. He is simply one of the guys, enjoying a bit of freedom and fun on a weekend in the Catskills. I scan the lake and the mountains beyond, the grey clouds sitting low in the sky, and think about how remarkable the scene really is — how its very ordinariness is something to celebrate. I take a few more pictures, then leave the boys to their…

What is Neurodiversity?

Mike Stanton actionforautism.co.uk When I attended the National Autism Society’s first International Autism Conference in London in 2005, I heard Professor David Amaral tell the story of a young man with Asperger Syndrome who visited the MIND Institute at UC Davis. The young man was asked what he would do if they could develop a pill to cure autism. He thought for a while before replying that he would take half the pill. I think this illustrates a real difference within the autism community. There are many who pathologize autism as a disorder that afflicts an otherwise healthy individual. If you hold this idea you naturally look to understand the causes of autism in order to find that “autism pill.” The idea of neurodiversity was developed by autistic people in opposition to the pathologizing model. According to them autistic people are not disordered. They have a different sort of order.…

Coming to Terms

Kev Leitch www.leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk Its now been nearly seven years since Megan, my eldest daughter, was diagnosed with both autism and a comorbid “severe learning difficulty” (known in the US as mental retardation — it means her measurable IQ is less than 70). Those six years have been a personal journey for me as I first came to terms with Megan’s autism, got lightly involved in the ‘cure autism at all costs’ movement and then as I saw the results (or non results) of this movement, genuinely came to terms with the fact Megan was autistic and got involved in the neurodiversity movement. In those days, 2003, there was very little online regarding autism. No blogs existed that I could find, very few forums and little to no email lists. In order to get your “Google PhD” in those days one had to dig very hard indeed. And boy did I…

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The Autism Path

Jean Winegardner www.stimeyland.com I feel that when I got my son Jack’s autism diagnosis, it was as if I had been given directions to a trail head that started us down a path. The path was different than the one I’d planned on and this path was rockier than the one I left behind, but still, it was a path. Walking along this autism path was better than milling around aimlessly in a meadow, unable to find a trail head of any sort. When I think of Jack’s autism and where it takes us, I can actually see this path in my mind. It is made up of dirt and rocks and it winds through and up a mountain pass. I’m walking it with Jack, and my other children walk on either side of me. Sometimes the rocks in our path cause only Jack to stumble, but sometimes they are…

Thoughts on Prognosis From a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)

Jordan S. Sadler, MS, CCC-SLP http://www.communicationtherapy.net/ Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) sometimes ask, “What is my child’s prognosis?” and that is understandable. As a parent, it is likely that I’d be asking it myself. However, it may be as difficult for therapists to answer as it is for parents to ask. For one thing, what do parents mean by “prognosis”?  Does it simply mean, “What will the outcome be for my child after all this therapy? What will his future look like?” Or is it a way of asking, “How close to typical do you think my child will become? Will he eventually blend in with his peers more?”  I always ask families to bear in mind just how broad the range of “typical” really is; it’s a moving target. Is your typical the same as my typical? Is “quirky” as okay with you as it is…

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Autism, Parenting, and the Importance of Attitude

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com www.canisitwithyou.org www.blogher.com/blog/shannon-des-roches-rosa Consider the same day, the same circumstances, the same children, the same parent – but filtered through two different attitudes: Leo and I had the worst day ever. Leo and I had the best day ever! Why does Leo always wake up so early? His sisters sleep until we shriek at them to get up, like self-respecting children should. I’m so irritated that he’s sometimes wet in the mornings. He’s never going to be fully self-sufficient. Leo got up at 6:30, but that’s certainly better than yesterday’s 6:00, and then it was his dad’s turn to attend to our early riser. And how amazing that Leo now spontaneously asks to go to the bathroom when he gets up, and is frequently dry. If you’d told me three years ago how well he’d be doing with his self-care at age eight, I wouldn’t have…