Thursday, May 29, 2008

ALEX (Barton that is) Is SPECIAL

This story really disturbs me, you can hear it on The Early Show as well. I cannot fathom an adult who would think it o.k. to stand a 5 yo up in front of a class, let all his peers say the things they don't like about him, and then VOTE on if he should be in the class. She meant it as "discipline" have to say that if this is the sort of socialization the "experts" are after, I think my children will fare just fine in their home. Of course, before the mama bear in me completely takes over I will admit that I still believe this teacher's lack of discernment is the exception and not the norm.....and I AM woefully uninformed as to current trends having never seen any of the reality shows that are all the current craze. I do know children; and this appears cruel to me.
Since the incident in class Alex has been saying over and over, "I'm not special". Barbara, at Mommy Life, has started a campaign to collect cards from children and adults that specifically tell Alex he IS special. You can click either the photo of Alex or the link above to get the address and read more about this drive.
While I do not think this treatment is appropriate for ANY child in ANY school , at least not elementary school, I find this even more unthinkable as the young child is in the process of being diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrom and the teacher knew this.



Melissa said...

oh how sad! This is soo terrible, but I wonder why this autisic kid was going to a normal public schoo. My nephew was autisic and he went to a spend needs school. But this is just so sad

Anonymous said...


Very SAD and not necessary for a teacher or any other adult working with any age school child. There are many, many schools this day and age who have departments for
"Special Needs students"... As many of you know children with special needs can be a challenge.. BUT there never is a need to belittle students..... the schools in our city (Springfield) are super great and all staff are very aware of all the ways to really help these students. Hope the family of Alex can find a good school for him to attend that will be a big help to him instead of causing him such pain.

We'll be praying for him and his parents. Praying the school will now be forced to take a good hard look at their program... etc,

love/prayers Mom T

Romany said...

This has been circulating the UK Special Needs groups I'm part of, too. It could easily happen here, as well, I think.

But people have been saying that there is what has been described as a 'storm' of anti-autism sentiment in the US recently. Do you know if that is that true? How has that been manifesting itself?

Should I be girding my loins for the arrival of the 'storm' here, I wonder?

I wanted to ask this at SHS but thought I'd better not right now.

all in the family said...

I am also commenting on my blog on this. My heart breaks for him. Been there with my brother, unfortunately. Hopefully, we can garner support for this little guy. Seeing the video just breaks your heart, hearing him sing and all.

Dorothy: I don't think that the US is anti-autism. It is a not understood disease and people are trying to get to the bottom of this complicated disease. Right now the focus is on Vaccines. When people go up against the "precious" FDA, there are going to be fireworks IMHO. When I recently went to the dr for my gallbladder, I mentioned that I had done a colon cleanse/liver flush and he blessed me out because "it wasn't approved by the FDA".

Jen said...

I am not aware of an anti-autism storm. But, I can imagine that if there is one it is because biomeds, and anti-vaccine campaigns and a lot of autism awareness is really hitting the media lately. I am sure that ruffles some feathers.

Jodi said...

This poor boy, that teacher has broken the golden rule of teaching.

Well, I don't think there is an anti-autism storm in the USA. I think and hope this is an isolated incident.

I haven't noticed an anti-autism feeling at all, more the opposite. More research, more acceptance. As have a young teen on the spectrum I have started looking at college options (even though I don't think he plans to go to college) and find that many schools have such helps as a way for AS students to have notes from class if they can't listen and write at the same time. Special accomodations to have longer to take tests and other helpful accomodations. I learned of this in a special needs parenting class.

These days I find that if my AS son does have a meltdown in public there is more acceptance. A lot more people know about autism, as in the more functioning, verbal types, than did when he was little. Now I simply have to say he is autistic if T has a meltdown or acts innapropriatly for age in public and the stares (you are such a bad parent) turn to sympathy.

Our own doctor practice in this small area is installing a hyperbaric chamber center for their autistic patients as there are studies showing this may help. Unfortunately insurance won't cover it but I doubt that's anti-autistic, more anti- people Insurance doesn't seem to cover anything these days!! LOL

Last thing even in our homeschool co-ops they are accepting if a child needs to go in a lower grade level class due to autism or other learning disabilities. My NT dd was not allowed to go down one grade level to take a needlework class but if she'd had an LD she would have been allowed.

I won't pretend that it would be easy or even do-able or a good idea to have some autistic individuals in a typical classroom, I know it would be a disaster for all if my AS son was in a typical classroom. That doesn't excuse what this teacher did though. She should have asked for the child to go to another class or have an aide or something (surely there must be a plan in place for these times)before she got to her end of patience with it all and involved the whole class.

Again I hope this incident for little Alex is isolated and that the teacher in question is educated about her mistake and makes amends in some way.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

**'storm' of anti-autism sentiment in the US recently. Do you know if that is that true? **

Hmmm....Dorothy here are my thoughts - scattered though they are.

1. When discussing Zander's challenges I have been told that docs are way over diagnosing children these days - and that some things are simply personality quirks. I agree probably with both sentiments.....though these folks have never seen Zander when he was in a full-fledged, twirling, repetitive, non-communicative mode.

2. I have seen a LOT more awareness of autism in the past few months over here. Big series on news type shows, guests on talk shows, articles in the paper and most are positive. Much focus on the vaccine connection right now.

3. Schools over here try. Mom could speak more to what she sees. I'm not sure what they call Mom's position but in her city and in her school district she is an aide for autstic high school children. They have their own program, but they also attend classes at the high school. She goes with them to class to make sure they are accomodated, to help the teacher's with anything that may come up, to explain the work in a fashion they will understand, to help them do the work, to make sure they aren't bullied to and from other words each student has their own adult - in my mind that is a HUGE accomodation by the school district.

4. It gets complicated as some parents push for "equal" treatment and that means to them that their child should be in the very same classes, with nothing special added and sometimes these children simply need "different" than the main stream. When parents don't want their child labeled, but then want special treatment it can be hard. OR on the other hand....they do want their child labeled but then want the school to ignore the challenges or differences.....but I see most schools really working at this.

5. I've not experienced what I would term anti-autism. I have seen a bit of a backlash to what is considered overdx. But that holds true with so many things over here - ADHD, OCD, ODD, depression - many think any label is over-used.

6. Personally, folks are fairly accepting. I don't often tell them "zander is ASI, an Aspie, ODD".... I got tired of having to defend the dx each time I brought it up, honestly. However, as he gets older he doesn't have bad days in quite the same way....more often I get things like "if that was my child I'd spank him" and maybe if I simply told them "this is an Aspie thing" they'd back off......but I don't want others to assume I'm excusing all I usually tell them I don't believe spanking is appropriate for his behavior. ::snort:: Which rasies eyebrows.....I wouldn't label it as a sweeping problem.....isolated incidents from time to time?

7. There seem to be more treatment options and awareness all the I think that any bias is being addressed.

8. We found diet to be such a HUGE thing for Zander that we tend to forget ourselves what we are dealing with for days on end. LOL

I've not been as involved in the spectrum scene as others (Jodi, Jen, Mom) maybe they'll have more to say.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

LOL - comments are funky for me.....I see now that Mom, Jen and Jodi already responded. ::snort::

Romany said...

Oh that's a relief! I'm glad that struggling parents are not having to face a whole lot of anti-autism attacks as well.

I wonder what the comments I've been reading have been arising from then? Perhaps it's just fearfulness about a possible backlash.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...


About others saying there is an anti-autism storm......

1. First I thought maybe different parts of the country are different.....however, the comments here come from OR, MO, NH, TX ::snort::

2. Maybe it's about perception too. I know that many quiverful take ANY comments about their sort of different family as an attack.....and some do the same with homeschooling. I was asked by an "authority" lately if all 9 of my children were from the same father. 15 years ago I would have seen that as an "anti-large family" comment, this week I laughed it off, said "one mother too" and went on my way. Who knows if the person was trying to make conversation or trying to express disapproval....but my perception colored what I thought about it.

Other than that - I don't know. I think though, that it would be personal experience that would help you define this one. LOL