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An Inclusionist’s Manifesto

Photo © Mundial Perspectives | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: A white teacher with shoulder-length straight dark brown hair holding up a globe to a group of young students of varied races, several of whom are raising their hands, all of whom are seen from behind.] Tim Villegas www.thinkinclusive.us I spend a lot of time thinking about inclusion. Most of this energy is spent coming up with ways to explain inclusive education clearly and succinctly so that everyone understands what it is and why it is essential. Because, to me, it is one of the most crucial things we can do for students (disabled or non-disabled). Here’s the challenge. You probably already have thoughts and opinions about inclusion. Maybe you have already decided that the cognitive difficulties or level of autism your child has, would not be appropriate in a general education classroom. Perhaps you have a notion that inclusion…

An iPad screen with the app Speak for Yourself, and a list of animals in the message bar: "banana, cookie, cat, dog..."

OK, So We have AAC: Now What?

Think of your goal less about “doing it right” and more about “getting comfortable with AAC.” I’ve seen fear of being wrong all too often lead to no modeling. And I promise some modeling, modeling with mistakes, modeling slowly, all of it is better than no modeling.

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Distorting DEEJ: Deconstructing A Misinformed Literature Review

[image: Production photo of David Jame Savarese (Deej), a thin white male with short, cropped hair and glasses, wearing a light blue polo shirt and beige slacks, seated at a table facing his girlfriend who is seated in a power chair back to us, facing  him. A man holding a camera is standing to their left and caught in the act of filming them. ©DEEJ movie www.deejmovie.com/press] Kerima Çevik theautismwars.blogspot.com “A distinguishing feature of scientific thinking is the search for falsifying as well as confirming evidence. However, many times in the history of science, scientists have resisted new discoveries by selectively interpreting or ignoring unfavorable data.” Wikipedia on Confirmation Bias I understand that professionals who aren’t familiar with autism and autistic lived experience may carry biases about non-speaking autistic people. I don’t accept it, but I understand it. We’re human and all of us have biases. When bias becomes a…

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What the College Admissions Scandal Reveals About Privilege Inequality For Disabled Students

Photo © US Department of Education  | Creative Commons / Flickr [image: Three students at computer workstations, seen from behind.] Shannon Rosa Senior Editor Wealthy people using their privilege to bypass regular people problems like paying taxes is nothing new. But using that clout to exploit disability accommodations—to give their college-aspiring children truly unfair and also illegal advantages—is infuriating on multiple levels. As disability policy professional Rebecca Cokley noted at Teen Vogue: “This behavior is harmful because when celebrities and others with privilege use a marginalized community’s civil rights as a ‘VIP pass,’ it frames reasonable accommodations as something ‘special’ that you should be able to buy, versus actual civil rights that give people with disabilities an equal seat at the table.” Adrienne Wichard-Edds reported on the scandal for the Washington Post, from the perspectives of several irate parents of students with disabilities: “For children who really do struggle with…

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Supporting Autistic People in Health Care, Education, and The Criminal Justice System: An Interview with CRAE’s Laura Crane

Shannon Rosa from Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and Corina Becker from Autism Women’s Network interviewed Laura Crane from CRAE, the UK-based Centre for Research in Autism and Education about her work in supporting best practices in health care and education for autistic people, and also demonstrating that Autistics, children specifically, can be reliable witnesses during criminal investigations. Laura Crane | Photo: CRAE [image: Smiling white woman with long brown hair.] Shannon Rosa: Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about the work that you’re doing for CRAE, because it seems like you’re involved in so many things. Laura Crane: My research focuses on two main areas. The first is looking at how we can support autistic children and adults within the criminal and family justice systems. A lot of that work has come from police officers and barristers and other legal professionals assuming that autistic children and…

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Despite Best Efforts, the Same Old Autism Narrative Hampers The A Word

The Main Cast of The A Word [image: A white British boy wearing headphones and looking to the side. Behind him are grouped five white adults, one white teen girl, & a black woman] Sarah Pripas Kapit @SarahKapit The most important thing to know about BBC’s drama The A Word is that it both is and is not a story about autism. On a basic level, The A Word is very much an autism story. The show’s first season told the story of the Hughes family as their young son Joe (Max Vento) was diagnosed with autism. In the second season—the focus of my review—the family continues to navigate life. Given this premise, it is remarkable how many of the show’s scenes have little or nothing to do with autism. The Hughes family, who live in rural Northern England, have a seemingly unending litany of interpersonal dramas: the marital strife,…