Monday, June 14, 2010


Writing a blog expressing one's observations, experiences, etc., is not difficult at all....writing in such a way as to convey them in a comprehensible, readable fashion is an entirely different manner. Reading material in the "blogosphere" has proven beneficial; many talented, creative people are out there with proper motives, valuable insights. Autism blogs I've read are generally very personal and often emotional{understandably so, particularly on the part of parents or other care givers}. Hopefully, the perspective from a public school special education counselor will prove beneficial and sometimes entertaining.

My original stint as a special education counselor began as an act of providence-literally---a significant number of years [first teaching job was at Carrizozo,NM 1970-1975] had been spent in the classroom and guidance office when the opportunity was presented to do real counseling and behavior therapy. The world of counseling for special needs children has morphed into an area requiring specialized training. Special education counselor certification has become a thing of the past; licensed professional counselors and specialists in school psychology are in demand due in large part to the growing numbers of children diagnosed with autism. I am sympathetic toward that credentialed paradigm, so I'm updating...besides, those young adults--actually my local competition for employment averages 30 something, which is young to me-- with advanced credentials are bright, energetic advocates for kids(glossary).

Temple Grandin provided my first experience with Asperger syndrome. She had a booth at the state counseling conference displaying her books and other resources; customers were buying her books and she was autographing them....from behind a partition she had erected....she refused to come out and meet anyone; a helper would take the books to her. We didn't know what to make of her "eccentric behavior"; I hear she's much improved in that aspect of her life. A few years later a young man from an assigned school district came into my life and began to teach me about AS...he was in fourth grade, well informed about AS, willingly broadening the understanding of any interested individual. He should graduate from high school next year...he's become a dear friend.

The adventure has continued, as some twelve diagnosed aspies and PDD/NOS young people (also have two or three undiagnosed, in my view) are on my caseload. Great kids they very different from each other; about the time one succumbs to the delusion that one knows something about Autism, their uniqueness convinces him/her that he/she really knows very little. Some of us face the prospect of being humbled practically every day. The body of neuro and genetic research reveals the complexities of "higher functioning"(glossary) autistic individuals, thus making instruction in social and coping strategies a major challenge, thus explaining the humbling that takes place. Perhaps my approach makes the endeavor more difficult...we "unpack our thinking" and avoid information sharing or yes/no answers in an attempt to build some neural connections for abstraction. By the brain is gradually convincing itself (is that possible?) that care givers at all levels, parents to professionals, should take up amateur "brainology".

Thanks for indulging me today, Special edder has been in the making for years.

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