Skip to main content

Reading Temple Grandin.

All y'all moms of kids on the spectrum have probably read Temple Grandin and loved her. Isn't she convicting? I'm reading her new book, The Way I See It.

She says the worst thing you could do for an autistic child is nothing. Interact with the child even if he hates it. Teach him turn-taking and personal grooming. Sure, give him time to stim and be himself, but be sure to help your child be as functional as possible.

She also goes a bit into genetics and postulates that the more "severe" autistics probably won't be around so much in 100 years, but the less severe people on the spectrum are going to be necessary for society. I found that kind of scary to think about. Could you imagine being given the "option to terminate" an autistic child? Or to have your autistic child be the only one like him at the special preschool, knowing his peers didn't make it?

She discusses thinking in pictures. How do you think? Usually, I think in words. In print. Sometimes I think of the root word, and the history of the word, and the connotation of the word and how the connotation of the word may have changed over time... and wonder which exact flavour of the word the speaker is implying. Then I have forgotten everything you've said for the last three paragraphs... I do better with written language because then I can go back, look for context, and prevent stupid things from flying out before I hit the send button. :]

"As a society, we equate intelligence with language. Smart people are verbal people; verbal people who can express themselves better than most are assumed even more intelligent. People who can't use language well are perceived as dumb. We don't usually stop and question whether oral motor skills, rather than intelligence skills, might be causing the language impairment. No we do just the opposite and almost instantaneously judge the nonverbal person as being mentally impaired. Poor kid/adult; he can't talk. And, in our minds we continue with the most damaging thought of all: and therefore he has nothing to say."

"This is very true within the autism community. We assume those who are nonverbal - especially children who have been nonverbal since birth - have reduced or limited cognitive abilities. The DSM-IV definition of autism states that 75% of these individuals function at a mentally retarded level based on IQ scores. This sets up a vicious cycle; we expect less from these kids, so they receive fewer opportunities to learn. We don't challenge them to learn because we've already decided they can't. We test these children for IQ, using testing instruments that are largely ill-suited to this population, and then point to their low scores as confirmations of impaired mental functioning."

"The way I see it, it's time we rethink nonverbal individuals with autism and realize that the preconceived notions under which we've been relating to and educating this population over the last twenty years may be flat-out wrong. Luckily, other professionals in the autism community are coming to the same conclusion, and research is shedding light on the hidden abilities within this population... It is true that many highly impaired individuals with autism exist who also have accompanying mental retardation. But that percentage may be far less than we currently assume." (p. 85-86)

I have to tell you that Woodjie almost certainly must think in pictures. He still, really, doesn't speak, but is choosing from a field of FIVE PECs to tell me what he wants. And matching. Oh, it took us a long time to communicate with him (several months) what the concept of "matching" entails. But now he can match almost anything.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post. My son is 6 and nonverbal. He uses the pecs and is learning to comunicate with the pecs. I love pecs and think they are wonderful. Take care. The stimming spot

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi! Thanks for commenting on the birthday blog. Those pics were taken two days before I left to Mexico. I wasn't hurting then. :) IT's been six days since the trip and the pain is still bad. I just stay on meds as often as possible and stay in bed. I can't wait till it's all done. :P

    ReplyDelete
  3. What an awesome post. Its nice to know that there are people out there working on this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really want to read that book (it is on my Amazon wish list!). Thanks for giving me a taste if it. It sounds so insightful, and encouraging!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Non-troll comments always welcome! :)

Popular posts from this blog

Reading Curriculum: ABeka Book and BJU Press

Did you know that in the state of Missouri, homeschoolers must teach reading as a separate subject?  I don't know how anyone could homeschool well without teaching their child to read... but OK. 

I got many of my ABeka books used and collected them over time.  I'm glad I came across these readers early in my homeschooling years.  It teaches children to read step-by-step.  I don't think I've seen a more effective reading program for the elementary years.  The children love the stories, and what I appreciate about them is that there is a rich and varied language even in simple-to-read books in this series. 

My set is pretty old, and some are even from the 1960's and no longer listed in the reading series.  I think if I had to do things over again somehow, I think I'd just spend on a curriculum set and be done with it.  That's the thing, though, with homeschooling.  By the time you figure out what the perfect curriculum is for you, your children have graduate…

Homeschooling is NOT So Hard.

I wish I'd have known this starting out. I wish I'd have known that it's actually LESS work to just homeschool your child, than to be an "involved parent" at school.

We've enjoyed elementary school with our older boys. *Most* of the teachers were actually pretty competent and caring (the others, I save for another blog post, another day...). We had the children involved in extra activities like the Spanish Club or Service Club, or choir, and they got a fair bit out of the experience.

But it's a LOT of work.

You get about a ton of worksheets that must be done by a certain time. Usually on a day when you're sick or have no time. You get the phone calls about this or that, and about a zillion sheets per day that sometimes contain important news, so you MUST go through them daily. The schools also *love* to throw in half days, teacher in-service days and early dismissals. Not so bad, unless you have children at more than one school and the schedu…

Holiday Gifts for the Homeschool Teacher!

Merrymaking hint:  leave this post up on your phone/ computer for your family to "accidentally" find!  Let the magic begin!

 All teachers love a little appreciation every now and then, including homeschoolers.   I don't know about you, though, but I don't want any apple crap.  So first rule:  no apple crap! 

Otherwise I'm pretty open.  I love getting gifts, even if it's just something small or simple.  One thing I love is when my children want to help out and make lunch or clean up or put their laundry away.  Or just behave themselves and get their math done.  This is a really big thing when you think about it.  

And from the adults in my life, the gift of coffee always shows love - or rather, someone not wanting an "I need coffee" emergency in the middle of winter after a big snowstorm.  Somehow, I always have a lot of coffee in my pantry during the winter months.  (Guess why.) Thanks, D! 

My gallery of homeschool appreciation pics: