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Fernandez
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11 Oct 2020, 6:04 am

Dear everyone,
I don't know if this is the correct place to post this, but I'd give it a go. I'm neurotypical, I work in a sen school, currently working with autistic teens, non verbal and very sensory. I love my job, and I think I'm pretty good at it, at least my guys seem to love me, find me when they need help or just "connect" together rocking or giving them deep pressure, massage, etc. . We use PECS, sign along, intensive interaction, attention autism, etc with the use of break for "challenging" behaviors. Kids are happy to come to school, but it's very curriculum oriented which I see it like a waste of time .
Here is my question, what do you consider would be the best therapy/way to help autistic people? Specially severe autism, non verbal. I'm thinking in go back to uni and study something related with autism. My favourite one is occupational therapy because it's very hands on and used in early intervention can make a massive improvement. Speach and language is also an option, but less attractive, I'm a very active person and I'd like something more hands on, I also think communication, although massively important, it comes after the sensory needs. Aba is not an option for obvious reasons.
What are your thoughts? I hope I didn't offend anyone, I genuinely would like to help. I'm all for respecting the child/person and their likes, independently of socially and and age appropriate bulshit. I just want to make their lives better, and I thought there is no one better to give me their opinion than you guys.
Many thanks!



Dear_one
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11 Oct 2020, 6:22 am

I have no advice for non-verbal grades, but I am appalled by all the programs intended to make us look like NTs, no matter how we feel inside. I'm glad I left school before getting my actual talents stunted, but what would have helped was just learning enough about social interaction to find a business partner to make them productive.



jimmy m
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11 Oct 2020, 10:14 am

One of our members, Jason H.J. Lu, wrote a book titled "Eikona Bridge" within which he describes his method for helping his two children transition to becoming high functioning autistics (HFAs)

He is an HFA and he and his wife had two children. Both were non-verbal. One was an LFA and the other a MFA. They are verbal HFA's today.

He has a very unusual perspective and approach. I recommend a read.


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Jiheisho
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11 Oct 2020, 1:12 pm

I would do a literature review to find the current state of autism therapy research. Since you used the term "uni," I assume you are in the UK or a commonwealth nation. You should find a good deal of sources for you to help you choose. You could actually also try setting up informational interviews with practitioners and researcher--be clear to them you want information, not a position. I am sure most would be very happy to talk with you.

And you should also consider whether your program is a professional or research degree. Those can give similar but also very different career paths.

I wish you luck in your search. We are not an easy bunch to get along with, but we do need the help.



Fernandez
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18 Oct 2020, 4:33 am

Dear_one wrote:
I have no advice for non-verbal grades, but I am appalled by all the programs intended to make us look like NTs, no matter how we feel inside. I'm glad I left school before getting my actual talents stunted, but what would have helped was just learning enough about social interaction to find a business partner to make them productive.


Thanks for you answer anyway. I don't agree with the idea of inclusion in mainstream schools (very used in places like my country, Spain) when the only inclusion that happens is that the children are surrounded by NT. They don't have the support they need (even having a 1:1 support, the curriculum is still what it is, with a lot of useless things in my opinion, and doesn't really take into account 1 child who is "different" when you have other 25 to teach). Social skills/not having friends/even being bullied (although this is changing now thankfully) doesn't really matter, because most nt learn how to socialise naturally . And with low functioning kids... Inclusion just doesn't happen, a lot of times the teacher doesn't even know how to deal with them, even with 1:1 support the logistics are not good (places like ot or sensory rooms don't exist), etc. The word inclusion sounds good and it would be if it was real inclusion, but sadly it doesn't happen or not at the moment.

jimmy m wrote:
One of our members, Jason H.J. Lu, wrote a book titled "Eikona Bridge" within which he describes his method for helping his two children transition to becoming high functioning autistics (HFAs)

He is an HFA and he and his wife had two children. Both were non-verbal. One was an LFA and the other a MFA. They are verbal HFA's today.


Thank you very much, I had a look at the website and it does look interesting and quite unique . I've just ordered the book in amazon.

Jiheisho wrote:
I would do a literature review to find the current state of autism therapy research. Since you used the term "uni," I assume you are in the UK or a commonwealth nation. You should find a good deal of sources for you to help you choose. You could actually also try setting up informational interviews with practitioners and researcher--be clear to them you want information, not a position. I am sure most would be very happy to talk with you.

And you should also consider whether your program is a professional or research degree. Those can give similar but also very different career paths.

I wish you luck in your search. We are not an easy bunch to get along with, but we do need the help.


Thank you very much for your answer! It has made me research papers about sensory integration, which is the one that interests me the most (although not just for autism, also adhd anxiety, etc) ,and apparently there is not that much empirical evidence even it has being used since the 70s. But I've seen it work with my kids, I just don't know about long term (and I agree maduration plays a part too). However, nowadays with neuroscience I think this is going to change (it has been proved through brain scans that sensory processing disorder actually exists) . Unfortunately because of covid OTs are not coming to my school anymore...but the internet is my friend.
I'm currently in the UK, however I'm Spanish and I plan to study in Argentina for different reasons.

Many thanks for your answers guys!



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18 Oct 2020, 6:49 am

You mention corriculum based. My personal oppinion is that education itself is meaningless in life if the basic needs are not first met. An example of what gets to me is charities which show a child from a third world country and the charity say the child will have no education... But what use is an education when the child has no food? (Sorry I am going off topic but it relates somehow).
And then I see "We must feed the children as thousands of children are dieing" when I realize "What is the point in feeding the children when their parents are dieing through starvation". Who will look after them then? As the parents will give their last food items to their children to keep them alive as parents love their children. so unless they save their parents what point is there to save the children as the children have no oe to look after them.

Sorry. I go off tangent a lot.
I will try to get back on track. Education is good but is meaningless unless the child is first able to be in a position to use it, so the key to learning is to find out how to reach the childs strengths. Uhmm. Trying to put my thoughts to words as my deep inner thoughts are not forming into words...

The cerricilum is useless unless it can be used. A child who is limited in some areas may surpass in others and could be super intelligent but not be able to use it due to other restrictions. I can't remember who this is, but someone I was speaking to (In typed form on this forum) is very intelligent but is completely non verbal. It really surprized me to find this out, and I realized that years ago this person would not have been able to express herself and would be mega bored and ultra frustrated!

The cericulum is based on the average person and it is limited as many are not average people at all. Some have high IQ's and others have low IQ's. Some with high IQ's have issues where they can't use their bodies to express their intelligence. Others with low IQ's are struggling to do daily tasks like eat, so their priority is daily life, and to educate beyond this for the purpose of a qualification is not going to do them any favours, but to help them find ways round their difficulties and provide them with a good quality of life is like gold to them!
The difficulty is that the ones with high IQ's but are not able to express themselves can look very similar to the ones with low IQ's, and for them to be treated as if they have low IQ's can be ultra mentally frustrating.
I can give a perfect example of my secondary school of this when I was around 12 years old so the second year of secondary school. I did not know this until recently but I have worked it out why in maths I either had high marks or very low marks as it puzzled me as I was very inconsistent from one exam to the other and it had nothing (Or rather little) to do with the amount of effort I had put into revising for the exams as I could fail an exam after putting in lots of revision and I could get a high mark in the next exam having done less revision.
In the last year if primary school we had done algibra and I was good at it. But primary school was a good enviroment for me to work in. One teacher. The same pupils. The first few years were stress but the last few I was in my element.
Then came secondary school. Major stress. Every class were different pupils. Every subject had different teachers. Major stress and anxiety on a daily basis.
So as by the time I reached my second year my maths teacher was puzzled as he could teach me in one lesson and I would really get it, and he knew I had got it, but the next lesson on another day it was as if I had never been there before!
My parents who did not have much money spent every last penny to send me for extra private lessons once a week in the evenings.
Now the lady was said to be a top teacher and had many qualifications. Why my parents chose her.
But to my horror, she was teaching me the 1+1's like 1+1=2. I tried to tell her but she would not listen. So I did these 1+1's. After a few months of frustration I brought in my maths book from school to show her the maths level I was on. She refused to look at it. It was a useless waste of time! I tried to tell myparents but they were angry with me through complaining. These lessons were torture for me.
After half a year or a year? I don't remember how long these lessons went on for... I took my next maths examand passed highly but it had nothing to do with these lessons. It was because my parents said that if I did well, I would not need these torturous lessons. I could not complain to the lady teaching as every time I tried I would get a slap (Physical punishment was allowed in those days and was normal though she did not slap too hard) or she would raise her voice at me (I was very timid).
But to pass that next exam I put in around 10 times the effort what anyone else was.

This year I found out why I had such unusual extreme results. My mind works in pictures, so I think in patterns of dots, which is find for numerical maths but when algibra and other forms of maths come in using letters it causes major issues in the ways I think. Strangely the last maths exam I took I had 100% in which was unheard of but I was able to notice the trick question as it came up in a past mock exam in school (Last maths exam was in night classes a few years after I left school which I took as it was offered free) and we were puzzled so we asked the teacher about it. Was about a bee that flies back and fore between handlebars of a bicycle! I like bikes so I remembered it! Haha!

But anyway. Sorry to go off subject. It is how my brain works to avoid mind blank. If I talk directly I risk getting mind blank. (Never knew why I did this until recently. Why I talk at tangents etc.)..


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