Background to My Interest in Teaching Children with Autism

Letters to Young People – On Conceptualization – Relevence to Teaching Children with Autism
Now, I am going to take a detour from spousal abuse to mention how conceptualization also has its pros and cons in the psychosocial and medical fields – in this case, autism. No two people are the same; everyone is unique. Yet, when it comes to diagnosis, we have a limited number of conceptual “boxes” into which we may group these unique individuals. Virtually no one fits!
A member of the church congregation that I attend was diagnosed with cancer about 15 years ago, and given two years to live. He was fortunate to have spoken with an oncologist who reminded him that the “two years” was only an average for the group and was not about him personally. Fifteen years later, he still has cancer and (eventually) he is still going to die but, for this present moment, he is still going strong! There are no guarantees in life, except for death and taxes. But don’t be mislead by anything that anyone says about the group to which your child may have been assigned.
And while I am on this rant, don’t be passive about your child’s outcome. When I was a “working man,’ before I “retired,” most of my colleagues wouldn’t go to a conference unless our employer paid for it. I always thought, “There is no way that my conference attendance is going to be determined by what my employer will pay for.” Usually, I ended up paying my own way and taking vacation time to attend, but it sure was fun and informative when I did. I would not have missed it fore the world.
When I first became interested in autism, there was no government program available to help defray the cost of treatment, but that didn’t deter the parents of the children with autism that I happened to know. Many families were working on second and third mortgages, but their children were being started on ABA, and most of those have been successful. Educate yourself about what works – no running madly after every anecdotal “success” – and get busy teaching your child everything that he/she needs to know to be a successful adult (and that he/she doesn’t learn automatically).

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