Monday, April 9, 2012

About the people who take care of our kids.

We are so lucky to have such amazing people in Dominic's treatment team - from his bus driver and aide to his school district para / sped teacher, to his one on one therapy team at Alpine.  I knock on wood every time I think about it, because not everyone has such a good set of people to take care of their kids.

My online friend Kim has had a different experience.  The bus aide for her 9 year old non verbal autistic daughter assaulted her a while back, and the original story is here.  They are taking the next steps now, to maybe get the attention of the bus companies to make sure they train aides, etc.  The entire autism community is watching, because – as Ginger Tayler says, Kim is a nationally known activist and author – if someone is bold enough to abuse her daughter, none of our children are safe. Certainly while Dominic could not actually TELL us if he was being abused, I think/hope that his behaviors would change dramatically and he would refuse to be around a person.
Jess over at Diary of a Mom talked this previous week about how to start teaching her autistic daughter about appropriate physical boundaries.I have no idea where to start this with Dominic, but its constantly in the back of my mind that soon we need to do something.

All of the therapists at Alpine are younger… most of them are in their early to mid 20’s (if my age guessing ability stands), compared to our school district teachers and aides who are all well seasoned and close to retirement..   I had originally been thinking that age difference was because of the energy required to handle the stress levels of working with ASD kiddos one on one all day long, BUT, this post over at thinking moms revolution of a letter from a 21 year old autism activist makes me wonder if its not an awareness level thats different in the younger generation of teachers. That older teachers don't have the resources because children with Autism (a complex brain injury) are so very different than children with genetic alterations (eg, Downs)

"First, most teachers, like me, had never seen autism until recently, and so when presented with it, they face it like they would any other disability. That’s a problem. Second, teachers, don’t usually have super close relationships with the parents of the children they work with. They don’t have the luxury to pick their brains for hours a day like I have in the home setting. These thinking moms do countless hours of research and are a wealth of knowledge. This is where the real learning happens. Another problem. Thirdly, teachers are overworked and underpaid. They bust their ass all day with little thanks, and even less pay. Their classrooms are overcrowded and under supplied. When do they have time to spend hours pouring over the latest research, and if they did have the time what incentive would they have to do so? ....... Those who do care, and want to help the children in their classes are faced with a lack of support, education, and training. THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM."

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