1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured Let's create our own dream school for autistic people and not only..

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by SageRose, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,125
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2018
    Karma:
    +861
    I don't think this would fly I say to the OP with all due respect. I, for one, enjoy getting out there and meeting people.
     
  2. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,110
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,809
    This is the topic. The fixation on practical matters such as money or realism isn't relevant to the OP.
     
  3. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,037
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Karma:
    +2,461
    Teachers are trained to recognize and teach to individual needs and learning styles (in teacher-talk, it’s “differentiated instruction.”). They are taught to regulate their classroom to create the proper learning environment. There is a preponderance of research showing that this is the right way to do things.

    Teachers already have the training to make a utopian school system. What they don’t have is support from school administrators and the government. Quite the opposite, every government solution for poor school performance is more testing and more training for the teachers, and punishment if they don’t perform well enough.

    I think that we could create an environment where everyone can be accepted and learn with a few “simple” (but politically difficult) changes:

    1) Keep the teachers. As I said above, most of them know their stuff. Most teachers are very passionate about teaching. Why else would they work so hard for so little?

    2) Pay the teachers more. Seriously. Pay them enough that they feel respected.

    3) Reduce class sizes. This will do wonders to enable the teachers to manage the classroom and make each child feel welcomed.

    4) Consolidate and reduce testing and red tape. Testing can’t be completely eliminated, but we have waaay too much of it right now. In my children’s classes, instruction stops for a solid week every two to three months for testing. It’s overkill and nonproductive.

    5) Urge parental involvement. Not all parents can dedicate daily time to reading, tutoring, helping with homework, etc., but schools can emphasize to parents how much even the smallest efforts at involvement help.

    6) Make counselors more available. Most school systems have counselors trained to assess children for autism, learning disabilities, behavioral issues, etc. But they are stretched so thin that some children wait months to be assessed. Counselors other workloads (e.g. paperwork, red tape) need to be reduced or offloaded to assistants, so they can be more free to do the good they’re hired to. And maybe hire more counselors.

    I don’t think we need to change the school system to accommodate autistics or anyone else - the system already trains teachers to accommodate. The system just needs to get out of the teachers’ way.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,110
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,809
    Are you a teacher or close with a teacher?

    I'm guessing "differentiated instruction" is a somewhat recent development. My parents are teachers and are baffled by diversity, just as most teachers were when I was growing up.

    And I believe requirements are different from state to state and the credential only allows you to teach in the state they earned it in, so it could also be a state thing.
     
  5. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    4,556
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Karma:
    +8,565
    The problem with the educational system is that schools are asked to improve their performance while at the same time make cuts to the budget. Hence the lack of counsellors and staff with supporting rolls, and the oversized classes. Something's got to give, and usually it is special needs education that suffers. As with all other government-funded services, it all comes down to money, or lack of it. Schools struggle to provide even a basic education, let alone budget for extras. It's no good saying that the government should provide more money, because that's not going to happen, perhaps those parents who can afford to could make a voluntary contribution.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  6. Starfire

    Starfire Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    779
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2016
    Karma:
    +965
    It is relevant, otherwise one could say teaching should be on a 1 - 1 basis, the chef in the school restaurant should have Michelin stars, children should arrive at school in a limo with built in sensory room, there should be a room with beds in case a child feels like a sleep, exams should be taken in bite size sessions in case a student is overwhelmed, school chairs should have built in massage options for use during stress if required, Elon Musk or Branson’s Virgin should fly interested students into space etc etc.

    None of this will ever happen, therefore a school not based in realism and with no consideration of practical matters such as funding and paying wages, is pure speculation and a fruitless effort in fantasy and the sky or ones imagination is the limit!
     
  7. SageRose

    SageRose Active Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2019
    Karma:
    +109
    I understand, the opinions vary in this anyway. But I don't think this idea would stop autistics from interacting with other people...not any more than it stops them when they go to a general ed school and get isolated to 1-2 people/buddies anyway.
     
  8. SageRose

    SageRose Active Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2019
    Karma:
    +109
    The idea that my view is unrealistic is strictly your opinion though. We haven't analyzed or discussed how the schools would be funded. If society wanted to create a proper environment for ALL kids and people, it has many ways to reduce extra expenses from unnecessary things and push them towards more necessary things such as a better educational system for all. This is a major topic and it shouldn't be analyzed here because it will take up all the space and topic. You might think it is unrealistic but I disagree and one could find pros and cons for it as much as they will if they actually consider it more carefully. Plus, as I also mentioned on the thread, it doesn't have to be a complete list of special schools for autistics, it could be just a kindergarten-elementary- high school system, which are the most important stages of education for a child to begin with a good basis and not bullied their entire life. By the time they reach uni/college, they'd have all the skills and education they need (I never said that the curriculum would be in a way that would make them incapable of joining uni or anything-the point is to give autistics the same type of education as NT, but in a way that highlights their abilities and helps them with their difficulties, something a general ed school can't do), and they will be able to join and succeed in them too.

    As for the 'social interaction' with other people part, I think we already covered that part. I don't see any 'social interaction' that is even remotely satisfying for most autistics in general ed schools. Even if we suppose that a child doesn't get at all bullied, as long as he/she is anything less than high functioning, kids will always isolate him/her, which means that the social interaction part is either too weak or non-existent in general ed schools. Whereas in their school, the child would be able to be accepted in a community that doesn't isolate them and THAT would encourage the child to develop a healthy identity and personality and be given the confidence to later interact with NT kids as well. How will an autistic child have the confidence to be social when it has been isolated and rejected socially by the very first stages of his/her school experience? One of the reasons why ND kids don't have any social confidence is that. Because even when curiosity takes the best of them and they TRY to interact, they get rejected for their differences and that causes them to double whatever insecurity they might have and avoid any further social interactions in the future with symptoms such as mutism, avoidance, hiding in 'secret places' of the school and many more...so HOW EXACTLY is the general ed school going to supply the ND child with any more social or life skills that a special ed school won't????
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. Starfire

    Starfire Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    779
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2016
    Karma:
    +965
    My comment that this idea is unrealistic was directed at @Fino, who gave the impression that what you were suggesting was entirely imaginary, thus had no basis in reality. I had the impression that this was something you were realistically considering looking into trying to accomplish, which is correct?

    “the point is to give autistics the same type of education as NT, but in a way that highlights their abilities and helps them with their difficulties, something a general ed school can't do)”.

    This is incorrect, I have a child with an ASD diagnosis who goes to a general ed school. She is allowed certain allowances such as sitting exams in a separate room and being given extra time. She is also allowed cool off time and can leave the class when she is overwhelmed. She has a ruler which is red on one side and green on the other which indicates to the teacher if she is struggling or not without bringing attention to herself. My daughter is also well aware of her strong and weak subject and the school is good at encouraging her strength and supporting her weaknesses. So, my child for one is receiving the same education as an NT child.

    As for kids at school bullying, being on the spectrum, overweight, glasses, hair colour etc etc, kids who want to bully will always find a reason and if there isn’t one, they will invent one neurotypical or neurodiverse!

    “One of the reasons why ND kids don't have any social confidence is that. Because even when curiosity takes the best of them and they TRY to interact, they get rejected for their differences and that causes them to double whatever insecurity they might have and avoid any further social interactions in the future with symptoms such as mutism, avoidance, hiding in 'secret places' of the school and many more...

    Many ND children do have social confidence! You do realise that not every child on the spectrum is a victim cowering in a corner? Also, many children on the spectrum have anger management problems and can become very angry or aggressive very quickly, and can be a threat to the NT children they are around. You do know staff in special ed schools are trained to safely restrain autistic children who become violent towards them or other children. There are techniques to release a child’s jaw who is locked on another person while biting etc.

    The spectrum is a spectrum for a reason, so a school aimed at ‘the autistic child’ could never be a one size fits all.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
  10. 55853

    55853 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    186
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Karma:
    +204
    I believe it's more a case of the more visibly severe your issues, the more likely you are to get diagnosed. I imagine that even today, there are autistic children with no diagnosis as their difficulties are not being recognised. Behavioural and learning difficulties are visible, social communication difficulties aren't always obvious.

    Yes. But again, I don't believe that segregation is the answer. I would have benefitted more, I think, from (non-academic) support to prevent isolation, rather than segregating me to prevent isolation.

    There are issues with functioning labels, which I suggest you look into, if you are not familiar with them.

    I am "highly functioning", but I assure you, I did not blend in. Academically and behaviourally, I was fine, but not socially, which became obvious as a teenager. I would be surprised to hear if anyone, "high functioning" or not, managed to blend in socially when they were teenagers.
     
  11. SageRose

    SageRose Active Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2019
    Karma:
    +109
    The topic's purpose was for each of us to give ideas as to how we imagine an ideal education system, designed for kids in the spectrum. It isn't a plan that will be taken to the governments for approval or anything, it's just a thread for the mere sharing of ideas. However the ideas don't have to be unrealistic, at least not 100%. Many of our ideas are applicable.

    I get what you're saying for your child but your child is one case. I speak for the majority and the majority of kids in the spectrum face a lot of issues and difficulties in general ed schools. Also the example you gave me is of your child's school, however not ALL general ed schools have those qualifications and not in all countries. Plus isn't the point of general ed school, to have ALL kids adapting in the same way? So what use is it for your child when it has to receive different/special treatment and still be in the 'general ed' education? Isn't that kind of ironic? Are we opposing to a special ed school but we don't find any issues with having an autistic child having SPECIAL treatment in an otherwise general ed school? So what's the problem here? The real problem I mean. Is it that we have true issues with the special ed because we consider it 'unrealistic' or we simply have prejudices and feel 'threatened' by the terms and meanings of special ed? I've met a lot of parents who react badly just at the thought of taking their kid at a special ed school...they obviously fear that it will stigmatise their kid and themselves. There is A LOT of prejudice and secret 'shame' on behalf of many parents and students when it comes to special ed, I don't know if the same is true for you, but I don't see why one would have a problem with a special ed school but no problem having their child receiving special ed treatment at a general ed school??

    No, every child in the spectrum does not suffer and yes I know bullies will bully for any reason. However you have to recognise that regardless of bullying, kids on the spectrum are neither recognised nor really accepted in general ed schools. Most of us have grown up unable to develop our own identity and personality fully, merely because we've always felt 'sick', problematic and incapable of doing all the things that NT kids were doing successfully. It is suggested that the majority of kids in the spectrum develop emotional issues from a very young age because of that. How can a child grow up to be happy and feel comfortable in its own skin when the environment it is put in, makes it feel like an alien? Surely, you don;'t think such conditions are better for a child's mental health than having it in an environment that both accepts and promotes its uniqueness right?

    A school aimed for kids in the spectrum would be a 20 times better choice than a general ed school that accepts nothing more or less than NT kids who are easily adaptable to its standards, stereotypes and qualifications.
     
  12. SageRose

    SageRose Active Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2019
    Karma:
    +109
    I agree. High functioning in no way means that you are capable of blending in. What I meant to say is that high functioning autistics can be more..'adaptable' to the general ed school in the sense that their difficulties aren't very obvious but people around them still 'sense' the difference, hence why many of us end up being lonely during those years too or with a few occasional hang out buddies.
     
  13. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,037
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Karma:
    +2,461
    My wife just got her teaching degree. I heard all about everything she was learning, and picked up some of the concepts.

    Yet another problem with the current education system. I don't know of any other job where you have to jump through so many hoops to earn so little money.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,110
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,809
    I've just begun the process! Time for some hoop-jumping! ;)
     
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  15. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,110
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,809
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe it was stated anywhere that such a school for autistic children would be a one-size-fits-all, and you seem to imply that all children would be forced into it like some sort of concentration camp.

    I get the impression that people are inventing flaws in a "dream school" and then arguing against the flaws they invented. It's a dream school. Just dream your problem away.

    And it's wonderful that your child has a school like that. Please never have the assumption that all schools do anything of that nature.
     
  16. Starfire

    Starfire Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    779
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2016
    Karma:
    +965
    Ok, thanks for clarifying, that is helpful and the aim of your topic is much clearer to me now.

    Of course my child is only one case, but she is not unique at her school. There are other children there too on the spectrum. It may surprise you that they don’t hangout together in an ASD group. They have their own circles of friends and are integrated in school despite their difficulties which are helped by accommodations. We are in 2019, things have moved on, a lot!

    No, you don’t speak for the majority you are only qualified to speak for yourself, as am I. Actually every school in the UK is legally required to make “reasonable adjustments and accommodations” for children with special needs or an official diagnosis such as ASD. I imagine things would be similar in the rest of Europe and the USA, but I can’t be sure about every school in the world obviously.

    The use of my child going to this school is that she is with children she has known and is familiar with since primary school hence a continuity in faces. It’s a 15 minute walk each way. She likes the school and fits in well, and they help her and are in regular contact with us concerning her education and wellbeing.
    It is in way ironic that she exercises her right to what she is entitled to in order to do well at school, besides I think you seem very naive regarding special ed schools. I couldn’t get her into one if I wanted she simply wouldn’t qualify. Despite having autism she would not be considered ‘autistic enough’ for the additional funding by the local authority.
    I would have no problem with her going to special ed but that is a luxury she is not entitled to.

    Kids diagnosed on the spectrum for example, most certainly are recognised in law and by general ed schools in the UK at least. I have an official diagnosis and never felt “sick” or or “incapable” growing up. Actually, it has been a boon to me having acute attention to detail and an unwavering ability to single pointedly concentrate on a task, being on the spectrum has been a real help in my work life and without blowing my own trumpet, I am considerably better at my job than many of my colleagues.

    Anyway, I like your passion and enthusiasm and you have created a very interesting topic. I’m glad that we can have a blunt but respectful debate on such things as education and children, which all too often can turn sour quickly, unfortunately.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,110
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,809
    Do you believe any of those would be beneficial? I could argue why they wouldn't be, but I'm aware you're being facetious. I'm not sure anything fanciful would be ideal.
     
  18. Starfire

    Starfire Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    779
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2016
    Karma:
    +965
    I most Certainly am not suggesting all children be forced into anything, quite the opposite actually!

    However now it has been conclusively confirmed it’s a dream school only, I’ll let you all dream away. Unfortunately for me I’m a very ‘nuts and bolts’ person and very logical and down to earth, I don’t imagine, dream or invent like that without considering practical issues or problems likely to crop up.

    I don’t assume anything, and my children go to very typical UK schools, nothing fancy but I am aware that things here are better than in other countries, but they weren’t always...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Starfire

    Starfire Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    779
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2016
    Karma:
    +965
    They may be to some, who am I to say!
    You are correct though I was perhaps being unduly facetious in order to make a point, the op kindly cleared up it was a dream school not destined to be realised which I admittedly was unclear about.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  20. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,110
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,809
    I'm glad to hear they're doing things like that over there! I had no idea! I'm in the US and, although Autism is frequently discussed, the measures taken have so far, in my area, been less than desirable.
     
    • Friendly Friendly x 1