Lessons Learned: Part 2

Lessons Learned From the Kids with Diverse Abilities:

            I say diverse abilities because one thing that I have learned from working and playing with children and adults with developmental disabilities is that they understand more than neuro-typical children and adults do. You may understand if you’ve ever heard the phrase “Dance like no one is watching,” and if you crave the freedom and joy that behaving that way can bring.

Silhouette, group of happy children playing on meadow, sunset, summertime

           They live their lives like no one is watching. They may not even have the ability to sensor their thoughts. This really brings a sense of freedom and joy that no one else (I know) can truly understand. It is the rest of the world who has a problem with what a child like this does and says. If society could be “okay” with this, than they could be “okay” with truly BEING authentic with who they are. These children taught me so much about being authentic and not worrying about what other people see or think. It was years later, when I became a mother again, that I realized just how much they taught me.

Is Higher Education Ready?

In 2013, to fulfill the requirements of my doctoral degree, I surveyed disability service professionals at 578 degree-granting, four-year public institutions of higher education. The survey was designed to determine the current readiness of higher education to support the academic, social and communication, and independent living needs of college students diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder.

College Students with Asperger’s: Academic and Campus Accommodations Necessary

 

40% of the institutions surveyed (230 colleges), participated in the survey. The survey was designed around the Benchmarks of Effective Supports for College Students with Asperger’s Disorder (Ellison, Clark, Cunningham, & Hansen, 2012), a checklist of efforts determined by experts

Combo Strategy: Checklist + Self Evaluation

Since the inception of this blog, we have explored a variety of specific strategies. I encourage all educators and parents to be creative, and mix and match to best meet the individual needs of your child and/or student. In a previous blog, we learned that mini-maps can help to prevent behavioral difficulties related to academic tasks.

Often, teachers note that a common antecedent or trigger to behavioral difficulties is the presentation of academic tasks. The behaviors can range from a verbal protest to a meltdown when students feel overwhelmed by school work. The first question to ask, of course, is what is there about the work that makes the student feel so overwhelmed? Does the page look too busy? Is too much handwriting involved? Are there too many problems? Is it too difficult or too easy? In future blogs, we will discuss ways to adjust the format and/or content of academic tasks to increase student success.

The schedule says it is time for math. The student struggles consistently with math and typically puts his head down and produces little or no work. But with a mini-map, the student feels more able to get started and move forward. The mini-map is often a small checklist and can be decorated with a student’s interest to increase focus and motivation. This checklist then breaks down the expectations during math into smaller chunks. The mini-map or checklist might say something like this:

  1. Warm up activity      ______
  2. Test Review                ______
  3. Do problems 3-10     ______
  4. Discuss with partner______

               Next: 5 minute break

Teen’s Inspiring Video Shows How He Overcame Autism Odds

Article by: Jennifer O’Neill

When Michael Whary was diagnosed with Autism as a child, doctors told his parents he wouldn’t be able to drive a car or even ride a bike. “Well, they’re wrong,” now 16-year-old Michael declares — while two-wheeling, behind the wheel of a Hummer, and speed cruising around on an ATV— in an inspiring video he created as his community service project to become an Eagle Scout.

The 13-minute film, titled “Autism Awareness,” has scored nearly 2,500 views on YouTube since it was posted in December. It’s also been featured in local news coverage in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. What makes the high school sophomore’s film stand out, though, is that he addresses parents in the piece in an effort to “send them a message of hope,” he told WKYC.

 

Lessons Learned: Part 1

I know that this blog is about Aspergers and Autism but I think my job here is also to help people make connections in their life experiences, and how they can relate to other people’s lives. So I will begin with this story.

Lessons Learned From Gang Kids:

Helping Hand

            After the arrival of my eldest son and finding myself as a single mom, I decided I needed to go back to school and get an education. When I was in High School, no adult had ever made me feel that an education was an option for me. In fact, my guidance counselor advised me to seek out a trade school or business course such as bookkeeping or typing. I explained that I wanted to become a psychologist or a counselor and he would always comment, “well, that would take a lot of years of college and quite a bit of tuition.” This was a conclusion he did not make from my inability to learn or my aptitude for empathy for others.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Aspergers101 is proud to present our first Medical Vlog entry! The first, in an on-going series, is on the topic of Sensory Processing.  Adrienne Gaither, OTR, C-SIPT with Autism Community Network, addresses 9 questions on this subject. The first vlog (below) answers the question…What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

Take Our Advice: Part 3

Continuing our occasional theme of listening to the advice of college students who have “been there and done that,” please join me in listening to recommendations provided by four graduates of Marshall University.

Bradley, Nathan, Stephen, and Brian, each 2013 graduates of the university, responded to questions about personal goals, their experience with support programs, what they liked about campus, etc. But it is the final question I’d like to focus on for this essay.

What advice would you give the freshman “you,” if you could talk with your younger self prior to entering college?