I have been reading a new book, Empowered Autism Parenting, written by William Stillman (who has Aspergers) and I feel that I have learned even more about these kids (adults too) than I could have learned from some therapist that has never physically experienced it. While Autism is different from Aspergers in many ways, which Mr. Stillman never disputes, he still can use his own experiences to help. He does not go into an evaluation to help the person with Autism. He goes in to help the caregivers who care for the person with Autism. It’s amazing what can be done if only you understand why something is happening, or why the person “behaves” that way.
This past Sunday, I was able to sit down and have a more in-depth talk with a woman who teaches children with Autism. To say the least, I am heartbroken and disgusted. Not in this teacher but with the parents and the lack of steps that the Cincinnati Public Schools is allowed to take to protect them. I am not sure that I have it in me yet to put into written word what I have been told regarding the abuse from the parents so that will take time. You can only imagine. Although, I hope not.
What I am thinking though is that there has to be something more that can be done in the school. Most of these kids in the public school system are low-income families. No matter what your view on the parents, I am talking about a child. Just because you were born in to a family that is poor, doesn’t mean that you cannot be happy and pull yourself out. What happens though when you are born with Autism and you do not have the same opportunities as others and most likely you do not have the ability to care for yourself enough to “pull yourself out” of your circumstances without someone’s help?
This particular teacher (name withheld for safety reasons) prints pictures off of the internet, colors them herself and laminates them. All for “her” kids as a way to teach them. The thing is that some of the children with Autism (adults too) could benefit from a machine that would help them communicate however, I have been told that they are very expensive. After hearing the horror stories, I wouldn’t trust sending them home with these particular students but what if they were available to the students in the classroom? What other improvements could we make available to help them become the independent people they would love to be if only given the opportunity?
Benefits are taking place every day for different charities and disabilities and that is great however, it doesn’t help the individual families while all of this research is going on to find a cure that may or may not ever come in their lifetime. What if there was a non-profit that adopted a family or a school to help the here and now? Would you be willing to trade in your Starbucks coffee each morning or your elaborate holidays to help another person that physically cannot help themselves without you if that’s what it took?
I am looking for ideas and possibilities of what can be done. What do you think? What are your experiences, questions, comments? Anything. I too am looking for guidance here. I feel lost and helpless and I am not even the parent or caregiver of a child with Autism. These people are amazing to me and there has to be more we can do to help these intelligent loving human beings be all that they can be.