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09/26/2007 04:16 PM

Asperger's Syndrome let the fun begin!

AnnieBooks
AnnieBooks  
Posts: 20
New Member

I am finding that a lot of professionals, educators, family members, medical and mental health professionals don't understand our team. For example, a psychologist recently (last Friday) told a parent I have been working with, that her son could absolutely not be on our team (Aspie), because he doesn't lick strangers faces. Hmmm... I don't lick strangers faces... My kids don't lick strangers faces... Maybe she thought that I was suggesting the test results indicated he was an weimaraner?

Our team INCLUDES but is NOT limited to:

-difficulty with eye contact (too much OR too little)

-pedantic narrow focused perseverations (at times)

-difficulty playing well with others

-high levels of anxiety and sensory overload

-average to above average IQ and language, with poor reciprocal (interactive) language skills

-a tendency to transition poorly

-difficulty with change in routine or schedule

and more to come...

I may have to start licking people to be on my own team?

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10/15/2007 09:56 AM
AnnieBooks
AnnieBooks  
Posts: 20
New Member

Personal/Professional/Ethical Dilemma

The true question: “Is there a resolution?”

By Michelle Fattig

What an amazingly opportune time in my life to be given this particular assignment. I have, and am still, struggling mightily with this particular concern, professionally, personally, and as a parent. My professional roles have varied greatly, as I am or have been: a school psychologist, medical technologist, microbiologist, veteran of the Air Force, school board member, author, parent advocate, doctoral student, museum board member, and the list continues. As a person, I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter, and disabled. You may notice, that I did not mention friend.

The dilemma: Is it appropriate for me, as a person with disabilities, to tell others that if they provide these suggested accommodations, interventions, modifications, social skills training, medical intervention, etc., that a child will magically succeed or be happier, when I know, first hand, there is no truly happy ending for us? This is, and will continue to be, my personal dilemma.

In my professional roles, I advocate for and make appropriate suggestions for accommodations and interventions for people on “my team.” I refer to “my team,” as “our team,” when speaking to parents, educators, and students. When speaking with parents and students on “our team,” I further refer to “our team,” as the “cool team.” We are, after all, a team filled with kind, caring, creative, tenderhearted souls and; therefore, the “cool team,” label seems to fit.

The neurotypicals (NT's) are those people, them, the other team, or simply NT's. Ironically, I have had many adults tell me they prefer not to be the one labeled, and would I please just use the child's label instead, i.e., learning disabled, ADD, or ‘bad kid,' (as a school counselor informed me just last week.) Some, NOT all NT's simply refuse to believe that I may know what I am talking about. Some, NOT all NT's prefer to blame the child for his or her behaviors, rather than listening to the behaviors and finding the underlying cause.

Still, struggling with the original dilemma; therefore, is the good fight to gain interventions, supports, and accommodations for the students, in a world that is not yet ready to understand or accommodate for us?

As a part of my professional role, specifically as the Response to Intervention Facilitator for our district, I have created a support group for parents of students with disabilities, and any person who wishes to join us. My goal in creating the group, is to establish an open communication network between parents and educators, along with education and support in parenting a child(ren) with disabilities. I know from personal experience, the majority of advice I have received about my own children has been, “If he would just apply himself.” “If he would try harder.” “He is so smart, but his grades just don't reflect it.”

Hmm… One might wonder; are they actually grading for knowledge, or for disability?

But I digress…

During my Kindergarten through Second grade years, I was placed in a box at school. I don't mean a figurative "box," I mean a real "stove" box. A hole was cut out in the front to allow me to see the teacher, but it was meant as a preventative measure for my incessant need to chat with my neighbors. Being young and happy, I had a lot to say. I just assumed that everyone else enjoyed my company as much as I did! As I moved into upper elementary, I became more, anxious, shy and self-conscious. My social ineptness became more glaringly apparent, and my seeming inability to make or keep friends, caused me great sadness. We moved a lot, and I experienced five school systems prior to middle school. My extreme shyness and discomfort gave way in high school to a "cheerleader smile," which I used to keep anyone from asking what was wrong. Asperger's Syndrome (AS) girls are excellent at "masking" our difficulties.

I excelled at sports, academics, and leadership activities, but I could never figure out why I felt different. The meltdowns I experienced in response to random over-stimulation (could be a great basketball game or a fight with a boyfriend) became more and more extreme. My hyperactivity and impulsivity gave way to anxiety and depression. During my sophomore year, I began to believe that I was stupid, and started threatening to quit school. Six weeks after graduation, I left for the Air Force. It was during my service in the military, in night school, that I began to realize that I could be a learner. I found enjoyment in the pursuit of education.

I became a single parent at a very young age. Working fulltime during the day as a microbiologist and medical technologist, I completed my undergraduate degree and my graduate degree in School Psychology. When my son started school, he was a happy, smiling, outgoing little boy. The day he stepped into his classroom, the light in his eyes dimmed. His teachers bemoaned his inattentiveness, and seeming inability to focus.

My son was in second grade when he began labeling himself as stupid. We had many afternoon and evenings of the, as I call them, "Why can't you just(s)?" Why can't you just focus? Why can't you just get started? Why can't you just put something on paper? It took me years to understand, if he could … he would. I started reflecting on my own, "Why can't I just(s)?" Why can't I pay attention? Why can't I just be normal? Why can't I just be happy?

Working as a School Psychologist, I found enjoyment and my professional niche with inner city emotionally disturbed children. I could work with all of my students and diffuse the most volatile circumstances with understanding, support, and acceptance. However, having recently moved back to Nebraska, I am finding that my eccentricities are less than tolerable to coworkers, and the focus has become a pattern of familial or female bullying. Rather than being able to blindly do my job to the best of my abilities, I find myself ‘back in high school,' so to speak, amongst nitpicking and backbiting clutches. The biggest complaints about me, “too strong,” “too much of an authority,” “too much of a parent advocate.”

Obviously, even as a 'successful' adult, my inability to 'get' the unwritten rules of social niceties, continues to plague my interactions with same age peers. I do, however, find extreme pleasure in working with children, parents, and senior citizens.

Friday was a breaking point for me, as I struggled with this dilemma. I was actually told that I am too overwhelming for the team, so they would meet without me, and then the principal would meet individually with me to benefit from my expertise. I will only be allowed to meet with parents if the teachers agree there is a problem, and if parents request my help, it will be ultimately up to the teacher if they believe that there is a problem. My neck is itching just writing this! My daughter also, has AS and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Like most girls with the disorder, she is very good at masking. Masking all day, leads to tantrums and meltdowns at home. Helping these children, is JUST as important as helping those students who cause trouble for the teacher! It is, after all, the students we should be focused on, NOT the big people!

Or is it?

I am an adult, with the disability, who is fully aware of my shortcomings, and a very good ‘masker,' with the right medication, and training, and yet I am still found to be intolerable by the NT's. Am I indeed, making any difference in the lives of children, when I can look into a mirror and into the eyes of my own children and know for sure, there is nothing that can be done to make the world a kinder or more gentle place to exist for ‘our team,' until the NT's are able to view us with empathy and understanding, meeting our needs in an appropriate manner without judgment and distain?

More importantly, will that day ever come?


10/18/2007 05:41 PM
Ahsan
Posts: 66
Member

Alright I did'nt read your whole story but I will.One What do you mean by licking to get people on your team.That really cracked me up so far I think you're really cool.I have a young boy with Aspergers and from time to time I have to remember to back off you know I get lost in the reg ways of living.Because you know he is really smart,real cute tooSmileSo if you don't mind me giving your question a try answer...I dont feel lets say reg people muchless giving another reg person a real chance as no backbitting and so on.next to a person with any hardship in life a caring hand.NO! I mean look around people with soo much wealth next to people living in the streets even with children you know rich people see this but to show kindness is a shade they hide their faces in I say live your life sure take care as you know you better then anyother.You're not here to sat others you're here to keep the so called reg people from knowing when you're down.You know I grew up with a sev head injury as well my dad always in and out of prision So I was cast out for many reasoms as trash,poor,so on so on.I really did try to make friends and later relized i was the friend it was always a one way street and I could'nt understand I really was a nice,good person but I was different later I relized too I was a good person for real.They were the ones doing things I would never even dream of doing on my worst day.

But I was the outcast.You cant let people dec if you like yourself or not.If you have enough money stop trying to prove yourself enjoy the life given to you.


10/18/2007 06:11 PM
Ahsan
Posts: 66
Member

you know I really have a lot to say to you but I cant do it at one time.Is that alright?

10/18/2007 07:09 PM
liddy
liddy  
Posts: 22
New Member

Annie,

I am an NT. Before I began teaching children on the spectrum, I probably would have had issues with someone like you working in my school and getting in my face.Angry Thank goodness people and organizations are brining the mystery of Autism spectrum disorders out into the public and educating the masses. NT's just don't get it.Wassat You don't get the unwritten rules? Well, we don't get the whole lack of social intelligence (You could get it if you wanted to; You're too involved in yourself; Just try harder!). Learning disabilities? Mental retardation? physical disabilities? Those are much more tangible to us. But non-verbal language disabilities and Sensory issues are a mystery. Keep hitting us over the head. We'll get it...eventually.Smile


10/19/2007 05:15 PM
Ahsan
Posts: 66
Member

Alright,I did read your whole story.Maybe you're trying in the wrong places that being around other reg people lets say.You have sooo much edu so much exp why dont you open doors another way.Like reg are hard to teach too not just peps with dis we cant learn their way they cant seem to see understand that they just see we cant lear how they want us too.Always pointing fingers never looking at the three fingers pointing back at them.As they too are in thier own way dim witted.People with dis say hay I really cant learn or i realy dont get it.I cant even start to try i see your lips moving i understand the words but i dont know what you mean and the more you tell me over and over the more confus i get.So smarten up yourself and show some kindness and get off my back as you've already put me on the spot and stomped my into the ground right in front of others now how can i save face because tomorrow when I show up you'll get real busy and do it real good to me again.and this is only the third grade!annie,sit down use a bunny, a talking car, a bullett train, make a indepth set of dvd's and put the out to the school system for home use for ed the pub on hw their finger pointing really just pushes people w dis into a never ending mis life.people with dis dont play like they play we have little to hide we not here to do you in or take your job we here to live put food on our familys tables because disability or not the landlord still wants rent.So if you co-workers whom Iam sure set in the front church seats in sunday best.Cant set togeather with you in great respect and say you know what lets get along this way keep things short never backbitting because backing bitting is a hateful selfcenter thing done only to distroy anothes life.you dont want to be around these people anyway.do you?I'll be looking forward to hearing from you soon with the start of you DVD sets on how the reg people need themselves to learn it's a two way street.Good LuckSmileAnd I'll work harder on my spellingSmile

Post edited by: Ahsan, at: 10/31/2007 19:19


10/22/2007 07:15 PM
liddy
liddy  
Posts: 22
New Member

I'm not working on the DVDs, but I am working on educating the masses. I am starting with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classmates of my spectrum students. I gave an educational talk with a video to the classrooms and I signed up volunteers for a peer assistance program. The students who volunteer will learn more about how to be a good friend, how to be a good role model, and how to assist without being condescending. The assistants will be assigned days to invite my students to eat lunch with them, play at recess, guide during integration, and help out with projects in the special education room.

Through this program the students learn about spectrum disorders, but most importantly, they learn that these kids are worth knowing! They are great kids that are fun to spend time with. They invite them to birthday parties and want to sit next to them on the bus.

A for your spelling - You spell well enough to communicate what you mean. That's as good as it needs to be - I'm not grading it.

Liddy


10/22/2007 08:12 PM
Ahsan
Posts: 66
Member

my message was to go to The true question by Michelle Fattig.I was only joking about my spelling.If I am in the wrong place sorry.

10/24/2007 05:28 AM
liddy
liddy  
Posts: 22
New Member

Ahsan,

No, you're not in the wrong place. This is a safe place and I didn't want you to think that it was important here, or that you were being judged by it. I'm sorry if I offended you. My spelling is only perfect when it isn't wrong!

I've looked at Michelle's Annie Books and I think the series looks great. (You're doing a great job, Michelle) DVDs would be a good idea.


10/24/2007 03:05 PM
Ahsan
Posts: 66
Member

Liddy,Thanks for your kindness.Ahsan
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