As a special education teacher, I hold any month that celebrates and educates others on students with disabilities. Some  disabilities are easier to understand and accommodate.  Everyone knows about Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy, and the fact that they can SEE the disability, but there are a lot of misconceptions about Autism. We need more education in the schools as well as in the community!
Mrs. D's Corner says it so beautifully!  Let me fill you in on a few misconceptions that I hear in the education world.

1). That kid is spoiled, his parents are creating the problems 

Myth:  Children are born with Autism. No parents, educators or kids can cause Autism.
Think about if you were the parent of a child with a disability. You fight for your child ALL the time. You take your child to therapy after therapy as well as make sure he is in school as much as possible. By the time you get home from work and he gets home from school everyone is exhausted! That little kid holds it together all day and when they get into their safe environment they will usually release that frustration and anxiety that they worked every so hard to hold in. The parents are the one's that receive the brunt of the behavior. So what if they give in and turn the TV on for a few hours for their kid to calm themselves down. Don't judge until you have walked a DAY in their shoes!  

2). Why does this kid get rewarded for NEGATIVE behavior

MYTH: We are NOT rewarding negative behavior!
I hear this ALL the time and I don't know how else to explain this so people understand, so let me give it a try again! We are not rewarding the negative behavior we are rewarding the student for the positive behavior and when the student  changes their behavior.

Example: 
A student is refusing to go to class and is laying on the floor. Student has a behavior plan which includes a token economy, earning a certain amount of tokens and then receiving a reward, but staff does not want to give them a token for getting into class.  
We aren't rewarding the laying in the hallway we  are rewarding the child  when they get up and go to class on their own, which is following the direction..

 Our goal is not to do this for the rest of their life, but we need to shape positive behaviors before we can take away a simple token economy. The goal is for the student to work and have to earn a larger amount of tokens before reviving a reward but we have to start small and frequent at first. They need to buy in and know that you are someone they can trust.

3). Just because the child doesn't talk doesn't mean they aren't intelligent. 

MYTH: If we are not getting through to the child academically or socially the question should be "what can I do differently?" 

NOT:
  • "What is wrong with this kid"
  • "They have no clue what I am saying"
  • "How could they know their ABC's they can't even talk"
It is your job as an educator to find ways for that child to show you what they know! If you are not sure how to do this ask the special education teacher in your school or a specialist who works with the child. 

I am trying to raise awareness at my school by educating others on Autism.

I have done presentations, staff meetings, shared information and knowledge with any teacher who has one of my students or any teacher who is willing to learn. 

This year I gave all of my teachers these adorable hair ties I made with a quote or saying about Autism. A great way to get them to hopefully think a little differently or look at a student in a different way!

ENTER TO WIN!

I am giving away a set of the hair ties I made:

A $5 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Certificate
A set of amazing Autism Color Street Nail set. Color street is 100% nail polish, no dry time, no tools,  just peel and stick to nails!


I am not affiliated with this company in any way shape or form and receive no commission from them for this post.
 
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I have a celebration


I am so excited! I got a full ride (tuition, books, conferences, etc) for two years at my local college through a federal grant. When I graduate I will have another master’s in education with an emphasis on Autism and be able to sit for my Boards to become a BCBA!  So, let me take you back three-four weeks!

Our special education supervisor sent us an email the day before this application was due! I hadn’t updated my resume since I first started looking for a job so that was one long night. It also meant I needed to have the university send people a form to fill out for my reference, as opposed to the letters I had! The flier was very confusing and I wasn’t exactly sure what it was all about.  I even debated applying because the application fee was $50. (Thank goodness my husband told me to do it!)

Once that was complete the next step was interviews. We interviewed with eight professors that would be overseeing the program.  Once again, we were given no direction and I had no idea what they wanted to see or talk about.  Just like my resume my portfolio had been updated but that was about 10 years ago.  Another few late nights of building a totally new portfolio and I was ready. The interviews were intimidating and I really thought I blew it. One of the professors didn’t seem like I had the training to hold the title in my current job and that was a massive blow and myself esteem at that point went in the toilet and I thought that they all felt the same way.  To top it off they didn’t even want to see my portfolio.

The program is only taking 6 special education students and 6 psychology students. There were close to 20 in the interview and they shared with us that there where phone interviews with another 6 or so that would take place.  

I saw an envelope in the mail from Western Michigan University and I was thinking they are sending me a no thank you letter but it was actually a letter giving me my student number, passwords, etc.  I still didn’t think I got in I just thought they sent that out to everyone.  About a week and a half later I got the official word that I was accepted!! I already hold a master’s in education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Developmentally Delayed so this will be my second (wondering if you can trade two in for a doctorate degree 😊!) Once I am done with this program I will have another master’s in education with an emphasis on Autism as well as sit for my boards for my BCBA!! I love my job and what I do but this could possibly open new doors to me!

I am so nervous but excited about this program! I know this will put a lot of pressure on my family and that scares me.  I work part time so I can take my daughter to therapy during my time off and I pray and pray that this will not affect her.  Someone wise told me that it will be a great opportunity for my husband and daughter to form a special. I will only have classes 2 nights a week, and I keep telling myself that it won’t be too overwhelming.  

I have put a few things on my list of musts and cannot do’s
·         I will only do school work when my daughter is not awake or she is occupied with something else.  I don’t want to take anymore time away from her.
·         I need to get some amazing crock pot recipes because I don’t cook and this will be putting a tremendous amount of stress on my husband.
·         I need to stick to a cleaning schedule.  I feel like the worst wife ever! I don’t cook and my cleaning skills are not the best!
I need to step up my game because I have a wonderful husband who supports me!

I can’t wait to share all the great new things I will learn!