Technology News Zone aka Arts4autism wants to give the gift of technology to autistic children. If replacing your iPad or other tech equipment, why not donate your old one?
A new Nevada nonprofit corporation, Autism Advocacy and Technology News Zone, Inc., appeared on the scene last January. Their mission? To give the gift of technology, educational assistance, music, and the arts to autistic individuals and families in need. Run by David J. Berkowitz, a tech-savvy brainiac with Asperger’s Syndrome and father to three children on the spectrum, Berkowitz wants to “pay it forward” by making a difference in the lives of those affected by autism.
Do you have a microphone or DVD player gathering dust in the closet? Are you thinking about replacing your current tablet or laptop? Do you want to update your digital camera to a newer, better model? Why not take a moment and consider how many autistic families can’t afford what you’re not using, or are about to throw away.
Cost of Raising a Child with Autism Hinders Their Future Employment Possibilities
With autism affecting at least 1 in 110 individuals, the direct and indirect costs of raising autistic children in an atmosphere of continued recession here in the United States is hitting Medicaid programs hard. According to The Autism Society, because of declining tax revenues and drained budget reserves, “the vast majority of states are proposing deep and sweeping budget cuts that will hurt families by reducing necessary and proven services.”
Reductions and cuts in health insurance, support services, sensory integration therapy, specialized school programs, family training, and employment support programs means families will either be put on a long waiting list or have to pay for their child’s needs themselves. The less funding families receive in meeting these needs, the less likely they will have money to expose their child to the world’s technological advances that could help prepare them to hold down a job – and therefore benefit society – in the future.
Autism Advocacy and Technology News Zone, Inc. Wants to Take Up the Slack
David Berkowitz, President of Autism Advocacy and Technology News Zone, Inc. and regional sales manager for a technical software company, has a passion for technology, education, music, and the arts. When researching how he could personally help his fellow autistics, he found articles and studies that showed tablets were an excellent tool to replace Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. “There is a kindergarten class here in Nevada that is using them for education,” Berkowitz says. “I live, die, and breathe technology. Love it, as do my kids.”
Many children on the spectrum are attracted to technological devices. By capitalizing on that strong interest and obsession, it’s possible to give these kids a strong enough tech foundation to make a real difference in their lives, and the lives of their families. For example, last March, Fox News reported that an Apple iPad could help autistic kids deal with sensory overload.
Many children with autism have trouble communicating their basic needs, making a tablet extremely useful. With the help of apps, tablets provide these kids a way to unlock their “closed state” and communicate their desires and feelings, as well as educate.
Berkowitz shared that “One of my sons, 15-years old, has Asperger’s and is in tech theatre at his high school.” However, educational funding in Nevada is quite low. Berkowitz hopes to be able to receive enough donations that he can gain a 501c status, which will then enable him to help buy things like iPads that schools, families, and other organizations need.
What Can You Do to Help?
While Tech News Zone hopes to receive monetary donations that they plan to put towards buying tablets and other new tech devices for autistic individuals, schools, and other organizations – depending on their need – they also accept used equipment. “It doesn’t have to be the newest technology,” Berkowitz says. “If you don’t know what to do with your old stuff, you can donate it to Tech News Zone.” Examples might include:
Tablet PCs and iPads
microphones for band, choir, and drama clubs
all types of computer equipment
computer software like older Photoshop versions
PC and video games equipment
portable gaming systems
VCRs and DVD players
radios, stereos, and disc players
Basically, anything that deals with electronics, music, or the arts – including corporate sponsorships, name exposure, and anything that will help build autism awareness for their cause. Berkowitz would also like to help give autistic families tickets to plays, concerts, sporting events, or movies; and would appreciate gift cards for various electronic and tech devices.
Giving the Gift of Technology Can Change Lives
Over the past four years, each of the four houses Berkowitz rented went into foreclosure. “I have been downsized, right-sized, and left-sized,” he says. “These foreclosures have harmed our credit. My kids’ lives at times were not as fun as their peers, since we could not afford things like plays, and Disneyland.” While Berkowitz wants to reach out to everyone, his dream is to “help autistic people, their families, and Special Ed classrooms and programs.”
Before you toss away that older laptop, digital camera, tablet, or other technological device, take a minute to think about the difference you can make in someone’s life. “I have always wanted to make a difference,” Berkowitz says, “and decided to finally do it.” Like Berkowitz, you too can decide to give the gift of technology to an autistic child.
Autism Society, “The Budget Crisis,” (accessed June 14, 2011).
Fox News, John Brandon, “Is the iPad a ‘Miracle Device’ for Autism?” March 9, 2011 (accessed June 15, 2011).
Interview with the President of Autism Advocacy Technology News Zone, Inc., David Joseph Berkowitz
We were recently written about on specialneeds.com–>http://www.specialneeds.com/products-and-services/autism/help-arts-foundation-autism Please check them out, they are a simply great website with tons of special needs resources and articles.
This guest piece is written by a man passionate about his vision. David Berkowitz lives in Las Vegas, is an honorably discharged veteran and spent the last 20 years in sales and marketing. David lives with Asperger Syndrome and is raising three kids also on the spectrum. Looking to improve the lives of individuals with autism through technology and the arts, David wants to share a bit about his vision with our readers. He is trying to make a difference for autism, please help him in his efforts.
AUTISM ADVOCACY AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS ZONE
By David Joseph Berkowitz
As an individual with high functioning Asperger syndrome, a kind of autism, and the father of three kids who are also on the spectrum for this disorder, I have always felt a need to make a difference for the people with autism. I dream of establishing a national organization like the American Heart Association or American Cancer Society to make living on the spectrum better for those with autism related disorders. Utilizing my knowledge and passion for technology with my personal experience and interest in autism, I launched http://technewszone.com, on January 11, 2011. We are a state nonprofit seeking our 501c3. Our intent is to become a national Arts and Technology Foundation within the autism community.
We are a tech-focused state nonprofit. As we get funded we intend to help those on the autism spectrum by giving the gift of the arts and technology to make the lives of people with autism better, and to support their families and the educational facilities that serve them.
We are determined to make a difference in the lives of people with autism and their families.
Our intent is to give the gift of the arts and technology through donated musical instruments, arts supplies, and tablets and along with proper training to children and young adults with autism, their families, and the educational programs and schools that could make use of them. We also plan to fund applications to use with the technology. We plan to help the arts in schools as well as promote inclusion of people on the spectrum.
Tablets and musical instruments are a very kinesthetic devices and they make learning easier for many people with autism. Tablets like Apple iPads aid in education and improve the level of involvement in many aspects of their lives. However, a decent tablet runs $400-$800 which is very expensive for most families of people with autism. In addition, musical instruments, the arts such as dance classes are very costly to the individual.
We also give the gift of music and the arts, and to save the music especially for people with autism and special needs. Schools are very short on funding especially for the arts and music. Most parents of kids with autism cannot afford instruments, band trips, choir events and other arts materials. We want to help.
We will donate musical instruments to people with autism and education to improve quality of life. In addition, we will give the resources to provide help to theatre programs in both private and in public schools, as well as other arts that accept people with autism in their programs. We strive to promote inclusion and acceptance.
In order to further the quality of life for people with autism we want to expose them to cultural events. We will donate tickets, to musical events, theater, and other arts to enrich their lives.
I feel that many people with autism are talented in the arts and music. Even if not talented in the arts, I feel they can definitely benefit from the exposure to arts, music and technology.
The first help we need is funding for our 501c3, as well as a lawyer or cpa to do the paperwork properly. We also need exposure such as on TV, in the newspaper, magazines, and web based as well. We can not do it alone and need support to make a real difference.
Please help us help others for the next school year.
We need your help to donate of tech, music and the arts for the school year starting in September. We want to give tablets to people with autism, as well as gift cards and tickets to concerts to make their holidays happier. Please go to our website now and make a donation today to help us make a difference for people with autism and their families. Even a $ 5.00 gift card or a donation on our website will make a huge difference in the quality of life for people on the autism spectrum.
We are also seeking corporate sponsors who can help us in the future as well.
In addition we need media exposure so please put a link to this article on your website as well.
Our tech and autism blog is http://technewszone.com, and we will soon have our autism nonprofit site up as well at http://www.autismhelpusa.com as well soon.
To make a donation–> http://technewszone.com/tech-news-zone-and-paying-it-forward-for-autism-zone/donate-today-autism-technology-music-arts/
I am smart, different, and am going about it on my own; I am not rich and need support so that I can help other people with autism. If you are interested in helping our organization, Autism Advocacy and Technology News Zone, Please do not hesitate to contact me.
About the Author:
Autism Advocacy andTechnology News Zone, Inc. A Nevada Nonprofit Corporation
I had the opportunity to speak on Bobbi Sheahan and Amalia Starr’s Special Needs Talk Radio, Autism As They Grow’s Second to last show. I really appreciate it.
We are trying to make a difference for people with autism for quality of life, education, vocation and to help them find enjoyment in their lives, and promote inclusion as possible in schools. We are trying to do this by giving the gift of music, the arts and technology and by partnering with tech like Android, Blackberry and Apple Ipad Tablets to schools and individuals, music, and arts related organizations and people to help us get funding and reach people.
We would love to be on more shows, to gain support and make a difference.
Here is a link to the show–>http://www.blogtalkradio.com/specialneedstalkradio/2012/05/24/autism-as-they-grow-1
A bio on Bobbi Sheahan–>
Catch my new show, Autism As They Grow, on Special Needs Talk Radio, Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. EST!
Do people suggest that your child is different – really different? Are you wondering how to make sense of your child’s behavior (or your spouse’s – or your own)? Don’t despair; help is on the way! Bobbi Sheahan and psychologist Kathy DeOrnellas, Ph.D., offer themselves as your scouts in the field. They have valuable information to share – from the moment you realize your kid is different (“My, what a quiet baby I have!”), to the self-righteous moms on the playground, to holding your marriage together in the realm of routines, they candidly tackle autism spectrum issues such as picky eating, bedtime battles, potty training, speech delays, discipline, early intervention, sibling rivalry, and much more!
Bobbi Sheahan is the mother of four children; Grace, her second-born, has been diagnosed with autism. Her new book, What I Wish I’d Known About Raising a Child With Autism: A Mom and a Psychologist Offer Heartfelt Guidance for the First Five Years, has been published by Future Horizons, the world’s largest and most authoritative autism publisher. Bobbi says, “Dr. Kathy DeOrnellas, my co-author, knows more about autism than anyone you will ever meet. Since I can’t bring you to her office – and I would if I could – this book is my way of bringing her to you.” In Chapter 2 (entitled Autism 101), Dr. DeOrnellas brings you more than 20 years of experience, teaching, and research in the field of autism in a readable, conversational manner.
Autism is not only a challenge to a family’s emotions; it can also be a financial drain. Bobbi says, “With families routinely spending thousands of dollars out of pocket each year, we are here to help to point families in the direction of meaningful, affordable help.”
For her part, Bobbi pulls no punches in telling the story of her family’s road to discovering Grace’s autism. “The entire family comes along on this journey, believe me,” she says. “There is a reason that my favorite chapter heading is: Fun and Folly With Self-Diagnosis: Is Asperger’s German for Engineer?”
The book is also enriched by quotes from more than two dozen families who have been breathtakingly honest about everything, from speech delays to potty training, from doing battle with professionals who are supposed to be on your family’s side; this book is an indispensable resource for families. From reading lists to guidance about building a personal and professional support system, the authors offer a crash course to families who don’t have time to waste. The wit and humor with which the information is conveyed is a much-needed breath of fresh air for families who desperately need a break – and a friend.
Available now at Future Horizons, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and wherever books are sold!
Please listen to the show, I am on at the halfway point. Please share with people in the media.
Please help us to help others, we can not do it alone!!!
How to reach us:
Or Itechnewszone on Twitter!!
Thank you I appreciate it.
It was sad to see Skylar Laine go home on American Idol. She was quite talented. I think that she and Jessica are the 2 best female singers this season, along with Elise.
Here is a video of her and Colton as well, another star who should have gone further on the show.
I do not know what people are thinking this year, and can not agree with their choices.
If you want to help us give the gift of the arts and music we would appreciate your support, need sponsors, exposure to help people with autism.
I ran into Mari Nosal recently on twitter she is the amazing writer of several articles on autism education from Enable Kids from disabled to Enabled,http://enabledkids.ca/?p=2071
A bit about the author–>
About the author
Mari Nosal has written 12 articles for Enabled Kids.
Mari Nosal, M.Ed., CECE is a school coordinator, blogger and author. She is certified by the Department of Early Childhood Education as a lead preschool teacher, an infant and toddler teacher, and site coordinator qualified to manage school age programs. She is certified in Community Crisis Intervention by the Community Crisis Intervention Team of Bristol County. As a parent of a son with Asperger’s, she and her son show others how it is possible to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.
Ten Commandments for Interacting With Kids On The Autism Spectrum
1. Thou shall not yell when speaking to me.
My disability does not impair my hearing and I am extremely bright. Perhaps even brighter than you are.
2. Thou shall not ignore me, talk negatively about me, speak unnaturally slow, or ask questions to others in the room that pertain to me.
I can comprehend what you are saying just fine.
3. Thou shall believe in me and help me believe in my skills and self worth.
Note the good in me and do not merely point out my negative behaviors. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.
4. Thou shall not perceive me as dumb.
I am extremely intelligent. I do not learn in the same way as you, and maybe not as quickly as you expect me to. Have patience with me. Once I recall information, I never forget.
5. Thou shall not judge my behavior.
I can get overstimulated in certain environments. I may be hypersensitive to sound and loud noises may hurt my ears. Fluorescent lights are distracting for me. They have a humming noise, and can pulsate. All the noises in a room can blur together. Please make accommodations to help me.
6. Thou shall not be so quick to scold me.
Do not tell me that “I know what I did”. I do not. Tell me what my infraction was in a simple, concise manner. I want to please you, but I have difficulties inferring meaning within a vague statement. For instance, do not say please clean up your bedroom. Tell me exactly what you want, such as ‘Please make your bed and pick up your toys”.
7. Thou shall not compare me to others.
Please remind me, and note the talents that I possess. This increases my confidence and positive self worth. Learning disabled or not, we ALL have talents to contribute within society. I need you to help me realize what mine is. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.
8. Thou shall not exclude me from activities.
Please do not mimic me, ignore me, or bully me. Please invite me to play with you. It hurts my feelings when I am excluded. I like to run and jump in the playground, and be invited to birthday parties too. Grownups can help me make friends by encouraging other children to play with me. I can be a loyal friend if you get to know me.
9. Thou shall give me choices.
I do not like being ordered about any more than the other children. Give me choices so I know you value my capabilities and opinions. Make them simple and concise. Present two options or so. I get confused when too many questions or directions are given at one time due to my processing speed. For instance, ask me if I would like to wear my blue sweater or green one, rather than asking which sweater I would like to wear.
10. Thou shall not judge me by my diagnosis, but by my character.
I am an individual, just like other children. As my son used to say, “Mom my name is John (name changed for his anonymity) not Asperger’s”. A profound statement I would say. :-0)
Part Two: Ten Commandments of Parents with Kids on the Autism Spectrum
1) Thou shall not avoid my family when you see us in a public place. Autism is not a communicable disease. It is merely a way of life. You will not catch it by being my friend. Hang out with me and my family and learn about us. Once you understand our challenges it will be self-evident that we have hopes, dreams, and feelings. We love our children just as much as you love yours. Who knows, you might grow to accept us if you give us a chance.
2) Thou shall not judge my family. If my child is having a meltdown and seems inconsolable, do not assume I am an incompetent parent. You cannot always judge a book by its cover. Do not tell me that my child is spoiled. Ask me why I cannot control him, or tell me that my child needs to be punished. He is already punished enough by remarks from people who assume they know what is best for my family, even when they do not even know us. I am attempting to be a good parent. Your negative remarks hurt me greatly. Your positive remarks give me the internal strength to go on, and rejuvenate my belief in me and my child.
3) Thou shall be patient. My child may have a large expressive vocabulary. This is rote knowledge that has been memorized. In this case, he may not process (receptive language) what others say unless it is presented in a literal, concise, and direct manner. My child may lack a large vocabulary (expressive vocabulary) but make no mistake that he can comprehend you through his receptive vocabulary. Get to know my child and convey messages through his learning style. You will be surprised at what a wonderful child he is if you get to know him.
4) Thou shall not snub my other children. It is difficult for neurotypical siblings to grow up with a sibling that has special needs. My heart breaks for my children when other children decline sleepovers, parties, and more because of my special needs child. Providing equal attention to all my children is quite the balancing act.. Their learning disabled sibling occasionally requires more time and energy then them. This is not by choice but necessity. Please make a point to help out and make my other children feel welcome at your home or functions.
5) Thou shall not judge my housekeeping skills. My house may occasionally be in disarray. That mess is a sign of love; a sign of a family that has placed priorities on going to therapy appointments, doctors, social groups, and more over the importance of several dust balls. We balance jobs, carpools, and daycare, just like the rest of society as well.
6) Thou shall believe in my child. Do not call my child stupid, lazy, spoiled, selectively deaf, a brat, and more. My child has a neurological impairment which can affect processing skills, focusing, expressive or receptive speech, and internal control mechanisms, i.e. “losing it”. There is an old phrase, “We become what we hear.” The self-fulfillment prophecy is alive and well. My child tries hard to learn, control his behavior, socialize, etc. Please attempt to tell him what is right with him, not only what is wrong. Role model appropriate behavior for the child. Children become what children see.
7) Thou shall accept me and my family for who we are. My child may not appear to have challenges on the exterior. Appearances can be deceiving. I can equate this with a cast. If an individual is wearing a cast, we know they have a broken arm. Children with autism often appear the same as all other children When you deal with my child, please remember that his emotional age is roughly four years behind his chronological age. Keep that in mind when creating expectations for him. My child cannot be fixed.. He can be smothered with acceptance. His Asperger’s has created the young man that we have grown to love and admire. We would not change him for anything. He and I both needs society’s acceptance.
8) Thou shall not assume my child is being defiant. My child’s difficulties with receptive language can mimic defiance. When directions are not broken down into literal simple steps, he may appear to be ignoring you. He is not being defiant. He did not understand your directions. Tell him to pick up the books in the classroom, put them on the bookshelf, than sit down. This will most often result in compliance. Do not just say “put the books away”. He most likely will not know which books, where, when, or how. Be patient, as he really wants to please you.
9) Thou shall tell parents of autistic kids what they do well:.We struggle with our child’s special needs, attempt to carve out time with our other children so they do not feel left out, carve out time for our spouse, attempt to create a copacetic environment for our families, love and accept unconditionally, and more. We parents are occasionally insecure regarding our parenting skills. We are not immune to the glaring disapproving eyes, and mumbles of disapproval regarding our parenting style of our special needs kids. We need support and understanding from you as we feel helpless when we cannot help our child during a meltdown, etc. Please tell us what we do right occasionally and offer to lend a hand. It means the world to a parent of a special needs child to receive a compliment regarding them or their child when the parent feels like giving up hope.
10) Last but not least, thou shall remember that we are all on this earth to make a contribution to society. Children on the spectrum make contributions as well. You just have to look a little deeper. For me, my son has taught me to be more patient, humbled me, taught me to look at what is good now and not worry about what may not happen ten years down the road. I do not take things for granted because of my experiences. My husband and I learned the meaning of teamwork. Most of all, my son has taught me to never underestimate what strides he will make in our world. It may be on his timeframe and not mine. We are climbing to the peak of the mountain, with occasional slips, but climbing higher every day none the less.
Part Three: Ten Commandments For Educators Who Teach Kids on the Autism Spectrum
1) Thou shall not perceive me as a diagnosis. It is not true that once you have worked with an autistic child, you have worked with them all. There are many different degrees of autism–hence the meaning of the term, “Autism Spectrum.” We have distinct personalities and talents, just like you. We may present ourselves as nonverbal, verbal, have advanced expressive vocabularies, receptive vocabularies, be aggressive, shy, funny, or ambulatory. We may have mobility issues, be extremely social or shy, or have gifted IQs, or low IQs. Spend time getting to know me. You may learn to appreciate my talents, and the contributions that I can make within the classroom and to my classmates.
2) Thou shall not assume that I am defiant. :-0) My ears are extremely sensitive. If I am sitting at my desk and you give me directives from the other side of the classroom, I may not hear you correctly. I have difficulty desensitizing myself from sounds. I may be struggling with attempting to block out the whirring of a pencil sharpener, ticking clock, rain beating on the window pane, and the humming of the fluorescent lights. They often hurt my ears and create one jumbled sound. The sound may be so intrusive to my sensitive ears that they hurt. If you want to give me directions, please walk over to me and look me in the eye to get my attention. Be specific and concise when conveying what you wish for me to accomplish. I am a concrete thinker. For instance, ask me to get my coat from the coatroom, than go back to my desk and sit down, and wait to be excused for recess. Do not merely say, get ready for recess. This is too obscure. I want to please you, I really do, but you need to help me out with this.
3) Thou shall help me learn to socialize with my peers. I may appear to be avoiding my classmates. This does not mean I do not want to socialize. Children on the spectrum want friends and need to be included just like anyone else. My issue is that I often do not know how. Perhaps you could encourage the other children to include me in their games. You could role model proper techniques for social interaction, how to read body language, and empathize. For instance, if my classmate has a bellyache, you could point out that his tummy hurts and that maybe I should tell him I hope he feels better soon.
4) Thou shall catch me being good. Please make an attempt to point out my positive behavior, actions, and character traits. If I only hear about what is wrong with me, I will feel as though I am unworthy and withdraw. If I merely get attention from you when I am in the midst of a meltdown, or presenting inappropriate behavior, I may become conditioned to misbehave so I can gain your attention. This is the self fulfilling prophecy at work. Give me positive attention through praise, and you will build my positive self-efficacy. Help me believe in myself. If all I receive is negative attention, I will still crave it. Remember: in this case, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
5) Thou shall not attempt to embarrass me. Please do not compare me to siblings who were in your class. Do not compare me to classmates, embarrass me, or mimic me if I am frustrated. That hurts my feelings, and leaves me feeling more frustrated. I work twice as hard as my neurotypical peers to perform academically and socially. Embarrassing me will not force me to “straighten out’. That will merely force me to withdraw further within the academic environment, because I feel as though I cannot measure up to your expectations of me. Please try to remember that my emotional age is behind my chronological age. Please treat the behavior, not the child. I depend on you for external control.
6) Thou shall practice reflective observation and remediation. If I become distracted, hyperactive, speak out of turn, or agitated, please attempt to find out why I am doing so. It is easier to prevent a behavioral issue than to try and remediate it afterwards. If you notice the early warning signs, you may be able to make adaptations to prevent escalation. Once my behavior has gotten out of hand it will be difficult to assist me with getting back on task. Simple techniques may work. If I am having difficulty focusing, seem agitated, or become socially inappropriate, the bright fluorescent lights may be hurting my eyes. Please remember that my five senses are hypersensitive and I can become over-stimulated by everyday sights, smells, and sounds. Perhaps, dimming the lights in the room may calm me down. If I appear hyperactive, perhaps you could find a job for me to do in the classroom. The job could be as simple as making me a helper and asking me to hand out paper, or art supplies to the other children, pass out homework etc. so I can stretch my legs without being singled out in front of my classmates. If I am distracted by the other children while expected to take a test, perhaps you will allow me to wear earplugs to squelch my hypersensitivity to noise. I know I can be a lot of work at times, especially in a inclusive classroom. It is worth your effort, I assure you. It is a win-win situation for me and my classmates. They will learn to accept and respect differences in people through their interactions with me. They will carry this empathy into adulthood and the workplace. In turn, I will learn appropriate social skills through observation of my neurotypical classmates. With your assistance, the other children will learn to note and appreciate my talents and contributions within the classroom. I will learn how to be a member of a group who appreciates me. This in turn will boost my positive self-efficacy.
7) Thou shall not attempt to fix me. I cannot be fixed. I am not the equivalent of a broken engine in your automobile that merely needs some adjustments here and there to run like new. Besides, my mom and dad say they like me just the way I am. Respect me for the gifts and talents that I bring into your classroom (and I have many!). You can help me by teaching me compensatory strategies. For instance, teach me to go to a quiet area in the class to read, or to play quietly when I am over-stimulated. At first, I may need many verbal or physical prompts from you to recognize the signs of over-stimulation. As time goes by, I will internalize this mode of redirection through repetition and go to my quiet places independently. Remember to praise me verbally, or with a reward when I do so. I need to know that you noticed–it makes me feel proud of myself. For example, I may love to write but have issues with my pincer grip. Holding a pencil makes my hand hurt. Perhaps you could put a gripper on my pencil to increase my grasp and initiative to write so I do not go on strike during lessons.
8. Thou shall not say negative things about me. Please do not speak poorly of me to other teachers, parents, or students. My feelings get hurt when I observe you telling other individuals that I am a handful, that I take away time from the other students, shouldn’t be in your class, or push your buttons. Please do not refer to me as a bad seed, “that” one, a hateful child, unlikable, lazy, or defiant. This is unprofessional and inappropriate, especially when you talk while I am in the room. If you speak negatively of me and I misbehave, I am following your negative expectations of me, and living up to them. I may learn differently, but I can hear and comprehend your unkind conversations. I am not a diagnosis; I am a child like all the other children in my class. Please remember, I am dependent on you to help me hone my skills and succeed in life. I need your support.
9) Thou shall differentiate instruction. Differentiated instruction does not mean giving me different assignments or dumbed down assignments. Differentiated instruction is done by making accommodations so I can be included in the same projects and assignments as my classmates. If we are using shaving cream paint during art class, I may not want to put my hands in it due to sensitivity to textures. Perhaps you could offer me a tongue depressor to put the shaving cream on. This way, I can do the same art project as my peers while taking my sensitivity to textures into account. If we are doing a group history project on the colonial era, you may take advantage of my visual perception. I may not read well, but may be capable of building a scale model of a fort. Thus other children could research and present a report and I could provide the props. Perhaps you could allow me to take a spelling test which contains the same words as the other children orally if I have difficulty with handwriting. If we are presenting a play, the loud music and crowd may bother me. Perhaps I could change props, or be in charge of opening and closing the curtains during the performance instead.
10) Thou shall perceive as a human being. Please remember that every child has both positive and negative traits. Attempt to teach me what mine is are. Your investment in me will pay off in the future. Who knows, with a little help from my teacher, I could grow up to be the next leader of our country. I believe in you, will you believe in me?
I especially love her quote–>”Please join me in my utopian world where society perceives individuals as a whole, and does not judge them merely in character segments.”
I would like to thank Mari for allowing us to publish her information here on our news and autism site.
If everyone would just live by them.
Here is a video from a nice young man with autism that has a great ability to sing-->
Please check it out and share it with others.