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18 November 2008

Aye dios mio.

Yes, my students say this. And yes I laugh (every time).

Today's dios mio moment came when talking to two parents. They are from Africa and don't speak English all that well. Enough to basically communicate, but not get down to the nitty gritty, you know? Anyways, their daughter has autism (as all of my students do), and they knew absolutely NOTHING about it. It was so eye opening and sad.

They didn't know that it was something in the brain. They didn't know that they process things differently. They didn't know that a lot of kids with autism have sensory issues (and theirs seeerriously does). They didn't know that kids with autism often echo back what they hear. They didn't know that there's no proven reason why it occurs. A doctor just told them that was what she had and that she should be in special ed. And there we were.

I felt so bad for them because they are so concerned and worried for her. I tried my best to ease their fears and reassure them that she's actually doing great and learning so quickly, but I could still see that they were worried. And who wouldn't be? Someone told them there was something wrong with their daughter and that's it! No one bothered to explain to them what, or why, or what she was doing.

They kept asking me what they could do at home, telling me behaviors and asking if it was related to autism, etc. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the whole notion of "parents in lower income areas don't care about what's going on, aren't involved, etc.". And yes, some of that is true. But sometimes there are the parents that just have no idea what to do. These parents I met with today haven't written me one thing all year in her communication book, don't send things in on time, and don't always bring snack.

At first I thought they just didn't care or didn't have the time. But now I see that they've just been bombarded. And especially with the language barrier. So much of what we send home is technical... gestural prompts, manipulative materials, hand over hand, assisstive technology, cognition, etc etc.... they have no idea what that means. So anyways, my new goal is to find some information about autism in their native, little known dialect. Wish me luck.

Oh- and work could get really stressful tomorrow with an important meeting I have. Pray for me around 1pm....

1 comment:

Miss Musing said...

I just found your blog and I'm loving it! It's so nice to find another blogger with a similiar profession! I'm an ABA therapist, but I've also taught inclusion classrooms. Do you like 1st grade? I taugh it last year and LOVED it!

I'll definitely be back!

-Jacqueline