Autism and Education
When do we get away from recycling the same information and presenting it as new? I recently read an article in a prominent educator’s magazine that was talking about autism and mainstreaming. The point of the article was that early intervention and inclusion are the answer for children with autism. The article made it sound like all parents need to do is get early intervention and push for inclusion for their child and all would be well.
This particular article also promoted ABA. One specific school was mentioned that has an autism program based on ABA. The children start at age three, and the first two things they are taught are eye contact and staying seated in a chair. I don’t know about any of you, but I’m not too concerned if my three year old doesn’t make eye contact or stay seated in their chair for long periods of time. Now, do I think that eye contact and being able to sit in a chair are nice, and that as children get older these skills do become more appropriate, yes, but I don’t think these things are crucial for a quality of life.
At what point does the education world wake up and see that what is needed is remediation not compensation? That what we should be focusing on is development from where a child is at instead of just trying to find new and different ways to teach kids skills that they have no foundation to put them on. When do we see that if inclusion were the only answer we would have a lot fewer children with autism at this point? I also don’t think that it is fair to make parents feel like they have made a mistake if their child was not diagnosed until 8, 9, 10 years old which did not allow them to receive early intervention. That is the great thing about CORE Approach we know that in order for inclusion to truly make a difference we first need to establish a relationship between parents and child. We also know that while early intervention means there is less time that the child has been off the developmental track, all hope is not lost and a quality of life can still be obtained. We can provide children with a “do over” and our brains don’t turn to “concrete” after 5.
I’m just frustrated that we continue to present a compensation model to educators, and then can’t figure out why the majority of our kids on the autism spectrum have no idea of how to take care of themselves or how to obtain a quality of life when they graduate from high school.
I am so glad that many of you have chosen the path of remediation for your children!
Talk to you soon,