What are they talking about?
Navigating Autism Education Meetings I could tell something was wrong. My husband, Ivars, was typically very involved in discussions that pertained to our son. He was not afraid to ask questions of the professionals who knew autism far better than we did. We were so new to this diagnosis. Driving home from the meeting at school my husband was unusually quiet. In my head I created a whole host of paranoid thoughts about what was going on in his mind. Maybe he couldn’t handle the pressure of raising a son with autism? Perhaps, he was angry with something I had said – or not said. After what seemed like an eternity, he blurted out:
“I have no clue what you people were talking about!”
Unsure as to what he meant, I pushed for more information. “I come to these meetings Jenn and I feel so stupid. You and the educational team spit out terms that I have never heard before. I feel utterly useless in advocating for my kid when I don’t understand many of the words being spoken.”
Relieved that he wasn’t actually considering bailing out on us, I laughed out loud. I know, not a very empathetic response! But, I took action. That evening I produced a list of terms that we regularly used in special education meetings along with what each meant. Over the course of that year Ivars and I added to that list as we identified words and descriptions mentioned by professionals that we didn’t understand. Little did I know at the time that that list would grow right a long wit our son and eventually morph into a book about educating students with autism: my first book.
Assuming that my husband might not be the only one who felt left in the dark as far as the language used in special education, I decided to create a short resource that I could share with others who find themselves just as lost and overwhelmed with the language of autism.
Many of the terms included in this download relate to an autism diagnosis. Of course, this mini dictionary is far from comprehensive, but it should serve a useful function since it is short enough to bring to a meeting as a reference. I must admit that many fellow educators have found it to be useful as well, since special education terms are not often explained to regular education teachers. I hope you find it as useful as my husband has over the years.
If there are terms or definitions that you don’t know what they mean, please share in the comments section and we’ll include in the next version of this valuable resource.
If you know someone just starting out in this autism journey, please use the links below and share this blog post so they don’t feel so alone.
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