Life with Autism

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The color of common sense.

Brandon attended public school through middle school.  His elementary school time was the only time for us where his teachers were trained, consistent, cared, and had common sense.  I refer to them as "The Dream Team."  Not before, and certainly not after those years did we have anything like that.  What I would describe the after as, is more a nightmare than a dream.

I knew things were terribly wrong.  My son was frustrated, regressing.  Each school year a new team, a new set of inconsistent.   I knew I had to get him in a behavioral based learning program if he were to have any chance at true learning.  Even if only life skills.  He wasn't even learning those where he was.  So in making my case I would go to his classroom and observe.  And take notes.  After I did that, I understood very fully why special education programs don't want parents or outside professionals there to observe --- it's because they don't know what they are doing.  They may be the nicest, sweetest people, but they aren't trained.  They all do things different.  I felt so bad for each parent of each child in that classroom.

I've been reading all the articles on common core, all the issues with curriculum for typical students in the classroom.  And I have to laugh.  I am concerned about it, yes.  I am very glad I don't have a child in public school today.  It's just awful.  But as awful as it is, their common core doesn't consist of the equivalent of a big orange bowl.  I fought daily for just some common sense in my son's program, let alone common core, or any curriculum.

I observed over lunch one day.  I sat in the back of the cafeteria and I watched my son walk in at the same time with his peers, yet far from "with" his peers.  I saw everyone carrying their tray or their lunch bag, and I saw everyone watching my son carrying a big neon orange bowl.  The one exactly like in this picture.  He carried it through the line and in front of everyone to his seat.  Where his aides proceeded to dump all his food into that bowl for him to eat from like a horse at a trough.  Had I not gone there to observe, I would have never witnessed how someone thought that including my son with his peers at lunch would mean giving him a big neon orange bowl to carry around to stick out like a sore thumb.  How teaching life skills meant to dump all your food in one big bowl to eat from.

The bowl was no more after that day.

And just as soon as I possibly could, Brandon's presence in that school, or any public school, was no more after that day.

I don't know if common sense or common core has a color.

But if it did, it would not be neon orange.

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