Friday, July 30, 2010


The new school year is just around the corner. If your young person is attending public school or a private one, here are a few suggestions to ease the difficulties and nervousness associated with those first days of classes.

1. Coach him/her to greet each teacher by name when entering the classroom; more challenging for secondary students due to class changes, but achievable nonetheless.

2. Take a tour of the campus with him/her; school personnel will be happy to oblige you...go over the class schedule while there.

3. Arrange a time to meet each teacher/aide during the first grading period; share helpful insights if needed.

4. Get to know the campus administrators so they will know your child by face and name.

5. Inspect the girl/boy for cleanliness before she/he leaves the house--teeth MUST be brushed. Kids on the spectrum tend to be unaware of current modes of dress, so make sure clothing is up to date...this will eliminate some social problems.

6. It is my humble, albeit accurate, opinion that every student with autism attending school should be assigned to a counselor or other support staff to monitor
progress and provide trouble shooting when--not if--an issue raises its ugly head. That staff member can also teach those necessary social skills.

7. If your child is not part of the special ed program he should be, to ensure the best possible opportunity to succeed. A personal relationship with a diagnostician can prove to be invaluable. A workable BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan) addressing social adroitness, at least, should be in place.

8. A better than even chance exists that little or no training in autism has been provided to staff...lobbying administrators, all the way to the top, may be necessary.

School districts desire and are required to try to teach every child who walks through the door of the classroom...sometimes they do need some encouragement or gentle prodding.

The year will present challenges and opportunities for achievement...This little blog will attempt to discuss them from an educator's insider viewpoint.

Two first grade boys are walking home after school. One boy is obviously feeling dejected. The other one says "It's like my grandaddy says, 'Some days you're the dog, some days you're the fire hydrant.'"

bye, now

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Specialedder is intending to offer an "insider" perspective on public schools' attempt to navigate the maze that autism presents...philosophically, practically, politically, etc.....without any "sugar coating". Hopefully, any reader will not be put off by seemingly blunt statements.

I just attended my very first National Autism Society Conference. There are amazing people serving the needs of kids on the spectrum; there are amazing Aspies out there also. One the most enjoyable sessions concerned blogging about autism;, and bloggers were featured...these highly popular sites will be worthwhile reading for anyone interested in peeking into the Asperger mind.

Mr.Bob also found pleasure in positive affirmation that he's on the right track in his efforts to enable the young people in his school district...he has much more to learn, but he's going in the right direction.

As is the case anytime groups gather to discuss ASD, public schools were a front-line topic...necessarily so, since becoming educated is part of growing up. Naturally, teachers and classrooms constituted a major part of the discourse. Many comments from parents and clinical professionals were critical of the attitudes (perceived or real), policies, and practices of school districts and staff members, in particular; some expressed concerns were legitimate....some were unfair and unrealistic. While I won't elaborate at this writing (I need fodder for future entries), suffice it to say that public education is a massive bureaucratic ship turning ever so slowly, but not always so surely. And by the way, teachers desire to properly instruct kids on the spectrum--"they just don't always know how".

George and his family were close friends with my parents and sister. I liked George also, I just didn't know how to talk to him...neither did anyone else. Being the counselor guy, I saw him as non relating due to a lack of self-confidence; so I made concerted unsuccessful attempts to converse with him. It was evident that he possessed a high degree of intelligence, he had an obsession with "balancing the books," he spent an inordinate amount of time playing with my young children. After the death of my mother it was my responsibility to move "sis" to Dallas. George and family were there to help. Well, THEY were; George was disoriented, his posture was awkward, he had no idea what to do unless someone gave him explicit directions, he was constantly in the way. I was grieving, worn out, impatient...I was unkind. George is obviously on the autism spectrum. That was 15 years ago, before knowing about ASD...on my next visit to parents' grave site, maybe I'll look him up, buy lunch...see how he's doing.

Specialedder is off to the hospital for a few days--buying a new shoulder to go with the other new shoulder.

hasta la bye bye