The Heart Felt Hope of Autism :and why it doesn't work.
From the Blog Of Rich Shull, author Autism Pre Rain Man Autism. The following was posted online and while you think it was (and is) good advise and common sense, It proves to be one of the worst things in terms of HONEST real advise related to autism. Once again the "Experts" that invented the Modern Autism and Ignored the living working anthropology of Autism and our double blind autism experiments and our successful results. We bridge the gap between the savant and the village idiot. On the surface we are thinking Aspies and as the "only " group of Aspies to do so we are seen as idiots, for sure no experts will own up to us unless you the parents insist on hearing from us the old lost autistic of time gone by.
from the web,
Hi! Just wanted to share with you the notes I took at our dinner speaker's presentation. Her name is -truncated- Her insight was amazing! Here are her ten keys:
1) Assume Competence It used to be thought that 80% of individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder were mentally retarded! Now it is believed to be only 30% or less! Assume your child CAN do something, do not assume that he cannot do it. If at first you don't succeed, make it more visual.
Making something more Visual: on the surface makes sense if your under the idea we think in pictures and many of us do. Simply showing us MORE pictures is NOT the key to autism. The pictures we think with are invisible to you and might be something like your daydreams, they have never been in a text book before. They might be the building blocks of the human mind. We have many different levels of picture thoughts and we often need to learn HOW to convert those 'daydreams' as you would know them to words. ENTIRE autism classes need devoted to this as this is a key point to Autism but yet all of our expert friends have never had thought like ours and despite our success and figuring it out they still assume they know more than we do.
I bet IF everyone in the spectrum was taught properly even the lowest functioning people among us would do better. Your Teaching us "English" and we are thinking in and obscure from of Latin that has never been in print before and THEN we translate the "Latin" to words
All Right, If now all of a sudden 80% of us are smart; why then, does the Autism Society and Autism Guru's ignore us, that doesn't seem really smart? Physically we don't bite but, perhaps politically we do.
2) Prepare Ahead -calendars, schedules, allow for "turn around time" -use signals or icons to indicate changes in the routine (such as a neon "CHANGE" card she kept in her purse to pull out if there was an unforeseen change to the routine)
Why bother, many in our anthropology did life long before autism was a buzzword and frankly coping and having to and learning to cope with different things was HARD and it was confusing BUT doing that (unsuccessfully at times) taught us MANY lesions in real life and make HOW to make it work. Things like that even prompted many of us to develop super advanced picture thoughts like Picture in Picture Thoughts (something the Guru's have never heard of, trust me) and other types of picture thought that blended together real life and the autistic thoughts. The kid gloves approach and giving warning is nice and might help in a lot of ways but NO one in real life is going to bend over backwards like that and the Aspie will just have to learn the lesion the hard way-if he she is lucky enough to make it out of a group home.
3) Have A Schedule-Diagrams, Maps, written instructions-Review verbally, but put in writing -Give them information!!!
Oh get Real, the ONLY way Diagrams and Maps and instructions will ever work as you intended for them to is IF they are originating from within our Picture thoughts! In other words our invisible to you picture thoughts, signaled by the lack of eye contact are the thoughts we know and understand and work with. Of Course despite all the best of help we are learning all of this on our own and frankly the modern help is more work than help!
4) Teaching Options -Grading Options -what's the priority? -Homework - eliminate or reduce homework in the IEP!! It is enough that they made it through the day, and they are also learning social skills on top of everything else! Let them have down time at the end of the day. - Project Options, can they do it on the PC instead of struggling with handwriting? Can they do a poerpoint instead of speaking in front of class, ect. - Match curriculum to special interests whenever possible, make sure teacher knows their 'obsessions' or 'special interests' so that she can teach new skills that match the interests
Until Autism teaches Autism the above advise might as well stick.BUT and I mean BUT the double blind autism experiment we done would indicate otherwise. We did homework and It was Graded and it was turned in on time and you never got a gold star 'just for attempting it.' Myself included I spent many hours with a tutor after school and the quiet one on one time often allowed me to connect autistically.
SPLINTER skills our a learning hallway and it is possible to learn most of life via splinter skills. I know the guru's of autism are choking on that one BUT again if they cared to listen they would see how we finally learned via splinter skills and then those skills spilled over into life at large. This is the extra step the extra mile that made our success possible.
Handwriting by the way is a WONDERFUL exercise many of us did unknowingly that connected our picture thoughts no one ever talked about to the real world.
As for learning social skills we don't figure them out by "obonosis" like any other kind of learning experience; experience itself, is the real teacher. It seems the only thing you might learn at a special needs school is special needs ideals. Growing up before the Curse of Rain Man was our biggest asset!
5) Know Your Support Team-Know your team players! (email, extension, birthdays, favorite food was the joke!) - Behavior Problem - look at environment FIRST, Visuals SECOND - Peers are fabulous teachers!
If they under the impression I'm Autistic and I'm headed for a group home, please don't bother being my mentor. In the Olden days my support team was my parents and my teacher and my tutors. THANKFULLY not a one of us had ever heard of Autism and despite knowing something was indeed odd no one was tarnished and jaded and polluted with the word autism. No Autism 'experts' were around in those day to cry fowl. Instead I had quality people around me that worked (absently) as hard I did and We DID overcome autism by the slimiest of margins. The very slim margins that made us successful no longer exist today Modern Cursed Autism Stole them from us in the name of Goodwill.
6) Have Typical Peers Around For Modeling & Friendship -We want to have friends, we just dont know how! - NOT just girls, boys need to learn BOY social skills from other BOYS (example: girl might teach him to go up to a boy and say "That's a cute shirt you have on") - Need projects to share, common interests (such as a video game, or electric trains) so they do not have as much pressure to "talk" to the other child.
I learned lots from Typical Peers as they made fun of me, as they jaded me. I doubt that many peers will relish the idea of being forced to be friends with an aspie. It built lots of character and forced me and others like me to FIND ways to fit in. One of the VERY BEST LESIONS I ever learned, unknowingly was how to talk in a stressful situation. When I was being teased and needed to stand my ground and make a comeback I unknowingly read my first social picture thoughts and translated them to words with correct timing. That was an Autism Milestone all of is own! It is one the 'Experts' of autism need to appreciate.
Socially many of us the DID make it had a wonderful twist to our autism experience as in effect We DID get forced into a group of peers socially. While Autism people in general typically even today have few friends or friends of a "normal Nature" we had instant 'normal friends' as we grew up Gay. Anyone understanding GAY (LBT) society knows all to well in the pre stonewall era the gay kids were forced to stand up and hold their ground. We could not have asked for a BETTER autism social skills class than our gay friends. Without them we might never have made it! We all had to band together for survival and friendship. It Is indeed like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Autism needs to do something similar if it ever expects our autism kids to ever do anything in real life.
7) Be Aware Of Sensory Needs - Take breaks! -seasonal challenges, are they getting worse in the winter? encourage activity - may struggle to process all senses at once
TURN OFF THE TV turn OFF the Noise and the house is still loud as hell, just as is the Autism Class room. We hear much more than you ever do and until Autism Guru's install a decibel meter in a class room and actually hear what we hear they are truly lost. PLEASE Build Us some hearing Filters? Something like a hearing aid that cancels out some of our too keen hearing. Many old folks learned HOW to deal without keen hearing and that is especially true if we grew up rural and were better able to figure out our Super hearing. We knew the noise that made every rabbit scurry! We even learned how to deal with nose in intense proportions by having to cut the grass with a power mower. Temple's Pressure devise should be standard issue in every autism household (and School) but that might affect the drug sales.
8) Ensure Time Alone To Relax - Take breaks! -provide a "safe" place where they can be alone - During a meltdown, do not try to TEACH!
Time alone is a great idea, and we are usually never lonely even if we are alone. As we use our alone time inevitably to learn our autism-connect our autism to real life, we really do learn autism on our own by all means give us plenty of alone time. As for meltdowns especially in public we never had the advantage of a meltdown friendly environment and having to bite your lip and INSTANTLY shape up or get a whack also provided lots of Autism insight.
9) Have A. Communication System Available - Communication System should support the child's WORST day, in case they have a bad day - NEVER EVER EVER SAY "But he's done so well with the schedule, he doesn't need it anymore!" (The reason he has done so well is because of the shedule!!!) - In times of stress, language decreases.
Well, in modern times this might be advisable but really, IF ANYONE KNEW of our Autism or what it was we were trying to do and say in terms of converting our Latin to speech the communication system would be so much improved that thing like this might never happen.
In Times of Stress we cannot convert our picture thoughts, even those of us that have bridged the gap between the savant and the village idiot, we indeed know it is very hard to talk when under pressure. But we have learned to use our superior picture thoughts that allow us to keep track of reality and our brain generated images and blend them together so we can really keep up with the real world. These thoughts might very well be normal thoughts like you have in SLOW motion.
10) Have Fun! - Enjoy the innocence, and the honesty, and the sweetness of your child! - Take time for sillyness, keep up your sense of humor! Hope
Hope he or she makes it to a good group home and then you can get a much needed vacation.
Autism Sucess and Autism Failure is such a fine line and we seem to be the only autism population that has figured it out to some degree. The problem with the TOP down Autism guru's and researchers is they are not professional enough to investigate this branch of autism. Indeed we would accidentally derail the Post Rain Man Autism Empire and the only real losers are mankind the Aspies of today and our Parents. I rather doubt that anyone in Autism cares really cares or they would have found a way to figure out Autism's best performing population.