Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Talk: Autism

Barb: "Dear utk, autism is my prism not my prison."

Autism appears to the world to be parasitic, but the world needs autism. Autism is a valuable part of human existence. Life can only be understood backwards but must be experienced forwards. We need to learn how to deal with and process those with autism so that we can better understand their needs and abilities. Children with Autism are destine to take a lifetime of endless care and resources. The outer world should value those with autism, as we need to discover our own shape and connect with others, we also need to discover our interactions with those who have autism. Discover is defined by Barb, as finding out who the person is and helping them become the highest version of that. She defines perspire as remembering we are all the same. Understanding that those with autism sometimes need chill time or free time for them to be inside their autism at some point during the day. Open is defined as keeping an open mind when working with a child who has autism. Empower is defined as the autistic person having choices and power in the decision making of their daily schedule.

Nero-diversity is then talked about in the sense of simplicity in discovering diversity. Barb is here to share that there is a flip side to the neurological coin. Autism is a type of neurology. No comparisons, no judgements. Their are many challenges with children who have diverse needs or disabilities, but that does not mean they should be ruled out or disregarded as possible contributors to their community, or even their society.

There is then this discussion on students with ADHD and how they think best by moving. So as teacher we should let them move. This example leads to other discussions on students with diverse needs and disabilities. We cannot keep medicating these students because we do not know what is being medicated away. The medications stop what the child is going through with their diagnosis but by stopping that we stop their creative processes, their thinking, and their moving.

Dolly Parton said, "Find out who you are and be that on purpose." Help students do this. Start where they excel and help them be who they want to be and figure out what they like to do. As teachers we do not lose our expertise status by learning from those we serve. Be open and meet these individuals where they are. Get on their level and communicate with them through the way that best suits them. Figure out how to communicate with your students through what they are interested in and what they want to talk about. Build on those strengths, other forms of communication, and be patient because it takes time to get through to these students.

This talk was interesting in that Barb wanted others to read parts of her book on a video taping. This gave insight to it being beyond her and to thinking about anyone with autism. As the title of the book states, "I might be you." Know your part, be your part, play your part, hold your head up and project your voice. This is something we have to aid our students in learning to do. Barb's book is saying that her autism could be anywhere, in anything, or in anyone. We each know the meaning of life. We each make that meaning for ourselves. That is the meaning of free will. The most important thing is to help those you are with at the moment, and to help them in that moment with what they want to do and who they want to be.

After this lecture I feel more informed about autism and how it could be addressed in my classroom. While I cannot go into depth with those students who have diverse needs or disabilities, I can learn how to interact with them and communicate on their level. I am so surprised at the methods for communication today's lecture presented me. I was unaware that we could communicate or help students with autism communicate in such a variety of ways. When you choose your words carefully, what you are trying to say seems to come out a little more wise and succinct. This is what children with autism will learn and use in their method of communication.

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