25 04, 2015

The Gift of Feeling Incompetent

Do you ever feel totally incompetent and powerless in the midst of an interaction with a child with autism? Good. It is precisely the willingness to be ‘naked’ (figuratively speaking, of course) and to risk showing others that we don’t have all the answers that is a sign that we are still open to authentic human experiences – still connected and very much open to growth. Don’t get me wrong: feeling vulnerable can really suck – yep, I think that's the best word to describe it. Self -doubt, uncertainty and a lack of answers can be downright miserable. But, the opposite – to be guarded, to offer cookie cutter expertise and self -righteousness responses are “suits of armor” that are far more destructive to relationships and progress. Egos tell us that we should be in control; we should know what to do – we should not be weak. Egos don't

9 04, 2015

Check Your Advocating Attitude

Let me start with an admission. As a parent of a child with autism, I hold very strong convictions and opinions when it comes to raising and educating my children. Anyone who has worked with me and/or my son, will attest to that fact. At times, I have been strong-willed, determined and persistent. Indeed, I knew my son best. I knew a lot about autism in general and his autism specifically. I had made it my mission to learn - and to keep learning. But, two decades in the ‘trenches’ as a mom and a teacher of students with autism has taught me that expertise can really get in the way of serving a child’s needs. I have met my share of professionals whom I disagreed with because they did not take the time to truly know my child. I am quite sure that many parents would agree with me. What

2 04, 2015

Wanted: A More Inclusive World

Today I wear blue. Today I join the world as it aims a spotlight on Autism. In my family and in my work, autism is a part of everyday existence. I love my child with autism and I love my students with autism. But today I stand in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of people (maybe more). Today I celebrate the fact that we are talking: talking in our homes, communities, work places and schools. We are talking about autism all over the world. I celebrate the fact that since 2007 Autism is talked about openly at a global level and in places where it was never acknowledged. I celebrate the fact that when I explain a seemingly odd behaviour that might be construed as ‘bratty ’is actually autism, the look I get in response is not ALWAYS a confused stare. More and more people have heard of autism. That’s