Page 1 of 1 [ 5 posts ] 

eikonabridge
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Sep 2014
Age: 58
Gender: Male
Posts: 929

15 Jan 2017, 2:16 pm

Endless list of them. This last week a friend sent over the story about Jory Fleming. A recently selected Rhodes Scholar, from Univ. of South Carolina. He is autistic. He was homeschooled.

http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/meet-amazing-american-rhodes-scholar-autism-n703351

On the website, it has this paragraph: "Fleming said his mind was filled with images, not words, but Federer helped him connect them. He would voraciously process everything he saw. Fleming said he could read over his notes for an exam and the notes would just appear in his mind as he took the exam, an exceptionally advanced photographic memory that allowed him an opportunity to excel academically despite his disability."

Then I remembered about my daughter's 1st grade drawing from about two years ago. True story. It was the first week of a new school: a public school. I was nervous. I've pulled Mindy out from two preschools earlier in her life, because I really needed teachers that could work with me. Teachers that could understand Mindy...teachers that could understand me. I scheduled a parent-teacher conference on the very first week. Thursday August 28, 2014, 3pm. I just re-checked my e-mail. I wrote down a list of bullet items on what I wanted to let the teacher know. Before leaving the house, I thought I might as well bring a sample of Mindy's drawing, to show the teacher that Mindy was visual. So I grabbed from the kitchen table a picture that Mindy drew the night before.

During the meeting with Mindy's teacher, at one point I pulled out Mindy's drawing. I started to tell the teacher that Mindy was very visual and that she liked to draw pictures. I told the teacher that I taught Mindy everything through pictures. I pointed to the picture and told the teacher that Mindy drew that picture the night before, and that Mindy was all giggling when she drew that picture. I pointed out some odd things in the picture, like the teacher with antennas playing with a yo-yo, wearing a snake instead of a belt, a clock that had more than 12 hours, an upside-down foot sticking out from the floor, a boy fishing in classroom, a fish jumping out of trash can to say GOOD MORNING, a hot-dog at the bottom of the whiteboard, an equation that said 2+1=8, a picture of dog labeled with MAN, and a few other odd things. Anyway, here is the picture that Mindy drew.

Image

The teacher was really patient. She let me finish my entire speech. She then told me: "Mr. Lu, I have something to show you." She stood up, opened some folders, and pulled out a sheet of paper. She told me, there was an exercise that the class did earlier that week, and then showed me Mindy's answer sheet. Here is the image of that sheet.

Image

Needless to say, we were both shocked. Talking about making a good first impression. I brought along Mindy's drawing only as a second thought. I had no idea that would have made such a big impact. Needless to say, the teacher completely understood my message. She told me about the "Cam Jansen" book series, a fictional young girl that had photographic memory and that solved detective-like problems. At the end of the year, the teacher gave Mindy a Cam Jansen book as a gift.

And you wonder why my wife keeps saying, that even if she had a choice, she would still choose to raise autistic children? It is precisely from moments like this one, that we've had wonderful family stories.

-----

Here is the latest laundry machine that my son Ivan drew. You can start to see the level of complexity is increasing. Ivan is in his 1st grade, with the same teacher that taught Mindy before. When I tell people that Ivan learned to read at age of 2, but that Ivan is not hyperlexic, they would attempt to correct me that any child that can read at age of 2 is by definition hyperlexic. Nope, Ivan is not hyperlexic. He was taught to read. I know what true hyperlexia is, because Mindy is hyperlexic. Ivan and Mindy are very different. I know the difference. Mindy basically did not need to be taught to read, she learned to read cursive early on (age 2, if I am right). She could tell apart English words from Spanish words, by instinct, and pronounce them correctly. Mindy nowadays can virtually block-read, she reads way faster than I could ever possibly read. If you look carefully at Ivan's drawing, the word TEMPERATURE is misspelt. However, Ivan's creativity is at a different level altogether. I recently had a discussion with someone at school. He told me, that I shouldn't extrapolate. I told the person: "It's not about extrapolation. Ivan is already at the top, in creativity." Creativity cannot be taught. One can only work to preserve the creativity of children. It's the giant sequoia tree thingy...it all depends on how big a drew drop is, from a start, and whether the child is properly developed from that dew drop.

Image

While talking to some teachers in school, and telling them about drawing pictures for autistic children, I all of a sudden realized how important my elbow motion has been, to my children. It's a visual information that is not captured in writing or in drawing. The motion of my elbow was what has helped to build up the parent-child bonding. My children have come to develop a positive feeling about picture drawing, from there. I started to draw pictures for my children since their young age, so they've grown receptive to my drawing pictures for them. It's not just in the drawings per se, but it's also encoded in the body language. It's a piece of irreplaceable information that only parents can possibly provide. I have come to realize that, THAT elbow motion, is at the very core of my children's success. Even when I talk about very serious issues with my children nowadays, even when they have tears in their eyes, they would still stay next to me to watch what I draw on the magnetic board for them. I have now realized, I have not only talked to my children through my pictures, but also through my elbow.


_________________
Jason Lu
http://www.eikonabridge.com/


ConceptuallyCurious
Velociraptor
Velociraptor

User avatar

Joined: 19 Aug 2014
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Posts: 494

16 Jan 2017, 12:37 pm

Your son is in first grade, so presumably he's 6 or 7?

It's great that you're so invested in his education, but I'm not exactly sure how you've come from a picture of a washing machine with standard washing machine settings which being an ongoing interest of his, is probably something he's spent a good while looking at various models or at the very least one, to the height of creativity.

Considering that he probably spends a fair amount of time exposed to washing machine related words (compared to the average child who's probably barely glanced at them) being that he's been increasing the complexity of his washing machine pictures, the picture doesn't strike me as above average. Nor is it especially creative, considering that it looks like a bog standard washing machine.

Are you saying this is a sign of excellent creativity in comparison to his difficulties in other areas?

Where I live, these are the working towards expected standard, at expected standard (which basically means 'average') and greater depth than expected standard for the very same age group by the end of the year for writing.

So working towards is probably the best comparison if your child is average at this point in the year for the examples I found. (I've used narrative text examples for all of them, though kids are meant to write in 5 different styles. It's understood that children would have listened to a similar story and made it their own.)

Working towards expected standard:
Image

Expected standard:
Image

Greater depth than expected standard (I've provided an excerpt):
Image

I wouldn't normally make a post like this, but have made an exception as you're persistently making posts about how your method is better than others or that your kids are well above the rest in reading, etc.


_________________
Diagnosed with:
Moderate Hearing Loss in 2002.
Autism Spectrum Disorder in August 2015.
ADHD diagnosed in July 2016

Also "probable" dyspraxia/DCD and dyslexia.

Plus a smattering of mental health problems that have now been mostly resolved.


eikonabridge
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Sep 2014
Age: 58
Gender: Male
Posts: 929

16 Jan 2017, 2:11 pm

ConceptuallyCurious: This is a free forum for all. I am sure you have a lot to contribute with the success stories from yourself and your autistic students. No one needs to like my approach. As I always say: my job is simply to write down what I think is right, whether people like it or not (or whether people read it or not), it's none of my business. I welcome all other opinions and success stories. Please write them down, document them, so your readers may benefit from them. Best.


_________________
Jason Lu
http://www.eikonabridge.com/


eikonabridge
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Sep 2014
Age: 58
Gender: Male
Posts: 929

17 Jan 2017, 9:34 am

This last weekend we took our kids to the museum of natural history. We did not know there was a theater inside. It was a good experience. Last year this time, it would have been impossible for Ivan to sit inside a theater...I remember we took him to the Discovery Museum, there was a bubble show, but he just wouldn't stay because of the darkness, all the noise and light. But now, he was able to sit through two movies, the first one in 2D and the second one in 3D. He had big fun with the 3D movie. He still did not like the scenes where prehistoric monsters attacked each other: he would take the 3D glassess off for those moments. But overall we were quite proud of him. Basically, another sensory problem solved for him. Another milestone crossed.

That's what I have been telling people all along: as long as these children are intellectually developed, all issues that worry parents will disappear by themselves. These children are perfectly fine the way they are. Their only issue is that they are still children. Children behaving like children.

One thing that bothers me is, a whole bunch of children receive more speech therapy or social development than my own children. Yet they are far less verbal and social. After 5 or 6 years, some of my children's classmates in preschool are still fully underdeveloped. But another thing that bothers me even further is that, most success stories in autism have no clear explanation.

It's interesting to observe Jory Fleming's mother's comment:

"I don't think there was a magic key," she told NBC News. "There was a whole lot that I tried and didn't work."
What did work was "Federer," a small bird mom gave her son when he was younger.


Autism is fairly unique in that, there are a lot of success stories. One would think that with so many success stories, psychologists/therapists would have figured out how to replicate these successes in other children. But that is not the case. Even after 74 years of autism research, we basically don't have a clue on how to replicate success stories. You ask the parents of the successful children, and they will typically tell you: "It's not one thing, it's a whole lot of things." The more honest ones would tell you: "I don't know what happened, my child just got better." Or, "my child's ADHD just gradually went away." Some of them would tell you, like in this case, that a small bird worked. Or that a horse ride worked. Yet when parents rush to use the same approach, it just doesn't work with their children.

I have talked to a psychologist, she told me that, after working so many years in the field: "I just don't know what works and what doesn't." That pretty much summarizes it. Some kids just all of a sudden take off, while some others are stuck forever.

Now, it's been 74 years, since the formal discovery of child autism. If you are a scientist, how do you explain all that? We obviously are not understanding autism, at all, even after 74 years. Where are we making the mistake? How do you explain that some methods work for some children, some methods don't? Are we going to need thousands of different approaches, and then try them one by one on our children, until we figure out which method works for a particular child? If that is the case, are we really doing science? Or are we subjecting our children to experimental abuse, wasting our children's time, due to our own ignorance?

Are we doing science, at all?

After 74 years repeating all the experiments, it's about time to take a sober looking at ourselves, and ask whether maybe, just maybe, we've had it all wrong.

In these 74 years we have been trying to look at autism as a problem. Children have sensory issues, we see it as a problem. Children have rigidity issues, we see it as a problem. Children are late in potty training, we see it as a problem. Children have food pickiness, we see it as a problem. Children throw tantrums, we see it as a problem. Children have ADHD (hyperactivity), we see it as a problem. Children don't talk, we see it as a problem. Children don't have eye contact, we see it as a problem. Children don't socialize, we see it as a problem.

Let me write down the list of problems again here:
- sensory issues
- food pickiness
- tantrums
- rigidity issues
- potty training
- hyperactivity, ADHD
- lack of eye contact
- speech delay
- lack of social skills
And I will list separately here one more item
- stimming, repetitive behaviors

What if in reality none of those issues is a problem? What if all those things are simply reflecting children being children? What if WE are the problem?

We attempt to "fix" all these issues, while neglecting to develop our children intellectually, in the visual-manual direction. These kids then have to do all their growing up on their own. Most will fail, because they are growing up basically in solitary confinement. Some are lucky and will succeed, because their giant dewdrops are lucky to be triggered. These children then develop their intellectual capabilities, basically all on their own. Then, magically, all the autism issues above disappear, one by one. They become success stories. Yet, their parents have no idea what happened. The children themselves have no idea what happened. They have no way of tracing back. Some will say, it was a pet animal. Some will say, it was a Disney movie. They tell their stories, people try the same methods, and the success stories just cannot be replicated.

Where is our blindspot?

I think our main blindspot is: We have reversed the causality. We think that these children's autistic "symptoms/issues/problems" need to be fixed, before they can achieve development, when actually it is the opposite case: these children must be developed first. After they are developed, all those autistic "symptoms/issues/problems" would disappear on their own.

It's precisely because we have reversed the causality of things, that we don't have a universal way of developing these children. We have been wrong all along. There is ZERO need to deal with those symptoms/issues/problems that people worry about. All those issues are simply children being children. We waste all our energy in trying to solve problems that are not even problems.

It's best to describe the locations of these autistic symptoms/issues/problems in terms of the Connected Development Graph, or the Giant Sequoia Tree.

http://wrongplanet.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=335129
http://wrongplanet.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=296628

What happens is, a whole bunch of these symptoms/issues/problems actually at the top end of the tree branches. Things like:
- sensory issues
- food pickiness
- tantrums
- rigidity issues
- potty training
- hyperactivity, ADHD
are almost sitting at the terminal ends of the tree branches. Things like:
- lack of eye contact
- speech delay
- lack of social skills
sit at the upper branches, whereas
- stimming, repetitive behaviors
sit very close to the root, if not being at the root themselves.

None of those issues is an impediment to a child's development. We've been wrong all along. Matter of fact, stimming/repetitive behaviors are the door to the development of an autistic child.

We've been wanting to have our Hallelujah Mountains, and forgetting to realize that Hallelujah Mountains can't happen in real life. Mountains can't float in mid air, they need a foundation.

Autistic children CAN be developed, here and now. It's the parents/therapistis/educators' fault that adults spend their focus elsewhere, instead of developing these children in the visual-manual direction.

To summarize: why are the success stories in autism not replicable?

The answer is: we are misled by accidental correlations. In many cases, due to chaos theory, some children do respond to certain triggers. But in most cases, success happens because of the child's own merit, they have managed to grow their own giant sequoia trees, despite of the useless things the adults have been trying on them. Doing the growing-up all on oneself is an inefficient way of growing up. You are relying on luck: you are relying on statistics.

Mother Nature works on statistics. Certain percentage (1%?) of people have innate resistance to HIV. In the old days, Mother Nature would solve the AIDS problem by letting 99% of the population die. Starting from the next generation, everyone would then be immune to AIDS. Similarly, for autism, Mother Nature only needs the success of a very small fraction of autistic people. The rest were destined to perish. Just a few geeks could make a huge difference in the survival of a whole clan. You didn't need many geeks. That's the way it worked.

As with AIDS, we don't need to follow Mother Nature's statistical approach. We don't need to rely on chance. Autistic children can be developed here and now. We just need to shift our eyes away from those Hallelujah Mountains, and start to develop these children from their visual-manual foundation. That's all.

In real life, the majority of parents/therapists/educators will continue to work on their Hallelujah Mountains, no matter how many times you explain to them. It's sad to see them falling into Mother Nature's statistical course. But what can you do, except to sit back and watch?


_________________
Jason Lu
http://www.eikonabridge.com/


ASDMommyASDKid
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 27 Oct 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,666

17 Jan 2017, 10:52 am

Here is where I agree:

You really have to focus on strengths and you should not ignore strengths even if the weaknesses seem overwhelming.

Weaknesses resolve (when they resolve) more often than not, on the child's developmental time table, and yes, some of the things labelled as weaknesses are just differences labelled incorrectly by an NT-centric world.

I am not too into the droplet analogy, but basically there are windows of opportunity for growth that can and should be taken advantage of.

Correlation does not equal causation, and you will never know on an anecdotal basis what worked from a "we were trying something" perspective vs what just developmentally resolved itself.

This is not new. Most is pretty standard knowledge. Even my really out-of-touch school district would nod their heads at most of it.

Part of the problem is implementation. Some of the people here have access to a more flexible system than others do. Not everyone has the luxury of pulling their kids out of situations that not only do not work but are counterproductive and harmful to their children.

Therefore, most parents face problems created by the rigidity of a system which involves a protocol focusing on doing something because they are trying to fit the proverbial square peg in a round hole to make their system maintain industrial efficiency. That something tends to be what is best/easiest for the school/school district and not the parent or child, by it's nature.

There are curebie types who might agree with a lot of damaging things, but here you are largely preaching to the choir more than I think you realize.

Where I disagree with you mostly are the assumptions you make based primarily on your own kids. Your leaf illustration is not as universal among autists as you think it is; and I think you minimize the effects of differences when you state what must be done. If you had a third child, who was a bit more different than the two you have, you might see it.

You have no idea what the specific deal is with the kids getting more speech and "making less progress" than your kids. Maybe they have fewer dew drops and no matter what is done they would be behind. Maybe they are more social though less verbal. Who knows?

We did not get a lot of speech, but what we got was useful in certain ways, with regards to pragmatics and social skills, where the foundations and development was there, and when the speech teacher was a good one. When the speech teacher was not very good, it was counterproductive mostly b/c she operated as though he had skills he did not have and had expectations that were not reasonable for him, like expecting him to deal with losing games in a gracious manner, as one example.

I think that who you have helping your child can be more important b/c they really have to be willing and able to adapt. We don't push a bunch of social nonsense he is not ready for, anymore than I would attempt to teach calculus to his math-impaired cousin. I would not assume that pushing conformity is common with parents here, but yet, you seem to assume it, nonetheless. Many of the parents here are on the spectrum or BAP, and don't even care for it themselves.

Our child has an interesting set of splinter skills in that he scored very, very low socially, even for an autistic child, and very high verbally, and while he is visual has some very specific visual deficits/disabilities. Your leaf does not show his skill sets accurately and yes, in practice it matters very much. His social "leaf part" is dryer, the verbal part has larger and more dew drops, and visually he has some marked dry spots.

it is not just a,"Well of course the kids are different from each other," that you can just put aside while making generic recommendations. I have had to fight to get words included on my son's PEC cards when the pictures alone were confusing to him, expressly b/c of the stereotyping that autistic kids are all visual and words are supposed to be the confusing things.

But assuming no one develops their children but you, unless we prove it, is unfair and that all autistic kids responds to your specific recommendations is faulty.

Edited to add: Another issue is the frustration and panic that sets in when something does not resolve that is important for health, happiness or functioning. It would be nice if parents did not have to live in the real world but often there are real world concerns that makes parents want to rush things that either are going to happen when they happen, or not at all. Expecting parents not to worry about this, is not realistic.