Posts Tagged ‘ASD’
Do you start out the day asking, “What is my purpose?”
Sometimes that question will motivate me. Sometimes it is whispered in anger or despair; sometimes as a prayer for direction. But I wonder how I would ask about my purpose in life– if I could not speak with my voice. Like most people, I take so much for granted.
How would I feel if no one ever listened or thought I had anything important to say?
Perhaps you have already seen these videos on YouTube, but they are new to me. In the comments I hope you will share what you think, did these videos communicate new ideas, new questions, rock your world, move you to actions?????
Being able to communicate is like winning the lottery.
We usually think about winning money when we think about winning the lottery. But what would be more precious than money?
Andrew is a 13 year old young man who has the label of autism. He is communicating by pointing a pencil to a letter stencil board made by his grandfather. Andrew and his mom have been communicating this way for over 4 years. Notice how they pass the pencil as each takes a turn communicating.
Andrew: Non verbal autism + communication Part 1
Part 1: Script
Mom (M): I thought it would be interesting if you could talk a little bit about the difference that being able to communicate has impacted your life—like if you could not communicate and now that you can communicate.
Andrew (A): Yes. Now that I am using the letter board my life is having more meaning.
Since I was a little boy what I really wanted was to be treated as a normal boy
with pieces of my sensory system out of functioning.
M: Can you talk some more about that?
A: All autistics think
What is my purpose if no one thinks I can learn?
Then my mom found I am learning more… (con’t in part 2)
Part 2: Script
A: …then she thought.
M: This is good keep going. This is really good.
A: You see all autistics have motor issues that limit their ability to communicate.
M: Keep on. You need to move your elbow, pick it up.
A: So once I had a new way to communicate
M: Keep going.
A: I felt like a kind of Lottery Winner in Life.
M: That’s a good way to put it.
A: So now I’m hoping to graduate from high school and lead a fulfilling life.
M: So, if you had any words of wisdom for parents and your teachers, what would you say?
A: See each individual as a respecting individual who deserves to have an education and live in their communities as productive citizens.
The Right to Communicate
The right to communicate is the means by which all other rights are realized and is, in itself, a basic human right. (TASH resolution on the Right to Communicate.)
When I watch these videos, I am struck with how much we can learn from people with autism. The classic definition of autism talks about “difficulties in social interaction, social communication, and stereotypical behaviors.” But as Bob Williams wrote so brilliantly in his poem “What if,” maybe the difficulty in communication is our problem.
There have been many breakthroughs in communication showcased by The Wretches and Jabberers movie and new technology like the IPad and new applications.
Call to Action
My son Aaron used to type when he was in high school. Then, he graduated and his facilitator moved away and he didn’t want to type with me, his mom. But now we’re taking action. We hope to begin Aaron’s augmented communication again this month. It’s time.
We’re going to be getting an IPad and some applications. If you have any advice, let me know.
Share your thoughts:
Some people still think this is all a hoax. Some people think it is a miracle.
What do you think?
What did you think of the videos of Andrew and his mom? Do you think Andrew was really communicating? Do you think Andrew is smart? Was his mom manipulating him? Is there any person you know who might be able to better communicate with some technology?
Do you agree that the right to communicate is the most basic of human rights?
If you couldn’t talk, would you think being able to communicate was like winning the lottery?
Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward
All my best,
Parents and advocates of people with disabilities have a love-hate relationship with professionals because they don’t give up.
I’m Thankful for Parents and Advocates
You know the ones.
They never give up.
They ask the tough questions.
They demand answers.
They show up at budget meetings and want copies of the agenda and handouts.
They show up at board meetings and introduce their child.
They study the friggin’ law and quote it at you.
They call the State Department when they can’t get what they want at the local level.
They are politically savy–not politically correct.
No matter how many times we tell them, “You are not credible because you are too emotionally invested,” They won’t give up.
They don’t care the budget has been cut.
They don’t care we are sharing offices and there is no toner for the copy machine.
They aren’t reasonable about “waiting”… or accepting excuses for shoddy performance…or people who don’t call them back.
They embarrass us by going to meetings where they are the only unpaid person in the room, and they are more prepared then we are. And they go to more meetings… and more meetings.
They just won’t give up.
If we try to slip one by, it’s like they have built-in radar. They just seem to know when we filled a staffing gap with an inexperienced person, or if the caregiver had a beer.
If we tell them the “research says”–they want to see the research.
They give us copies of new research.
They call the researchers–collect.
They even have the nerve to point out flaws in the research studies and want their child in the next study.
If we tell them they can’t possibly understand the research, they read books, network, take courses until they become the experts. Some even get their Doctorate degrees.
They insist we don’t give up.
When we do something right, they tell us we are wonderful and they are thankful, BUT….
Damn, there is always a BUT.
When we tell them to “Trust Us,” they smile and tell us that is like asking GreenPeace to “trust” the oil companies.
They just won’t give up.
Damn, they drive us nuts….
But we know that after we retire and get our pensions, they will still have to be harrassing our replacement because their child will always need someone to advocate for them.
We respect them because we know they force us to do a better job.
We know that when they are helping their child, they are also helping all children.
We love them because their motives are pure and they make the world a better place.
And most of all, we admire them because they don’t give up.
This is dedicated to:
Mary and Oliver Triplett
They were the parents who ignored advice from the professionals and kept their son Donald home from the institution. Their son became the famous Donald T. in Leo Kanner’s research article identifying the phenomenon he named autism. This article in The Atlantic shows how Donald is living today. Though the story is about Donald–I think it is his parents’ love and advocacy that is the REAL STORY (click here).
Anne McDonald and Rosemary Crossley
Anne McDonald and Rosemary Crossley kept teaching us all about the right to communicate, and they didn’t give up.(click here).
Jon Morrow is an associate editor on CopyBlogger whose blog article: On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas went viral. He is a success story and has done amazing things, but when you are reading this, think of his mom.
Nina and Joseph Marcellinos
Nina and Joseph Marcellinos knew the word “retarded” hurt their daughter’s future–and they didn’t give up until they changed the Federal Law. (click here).
Tell us about your experiences:
Do you know any remarkable parents and/or advocates? Do you love, hate, respect, admire, despise them?
When you are reading about great advances for people with disabilities, the elderly, children… do you look underneath the headlines and see the parents and advocates? Have you done something where, against the odds, you didn’t give up?
Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward
All the Best,