Productive Struggle vs. Frustration

This past Friday, I gave an introductory presentation on the educational ramifications of new brain and psychological research, specifically, Carol Dweck’s Mindset. What came out of the discussion during the session, was that our school already does a fairly good job of inherently implementing most of the underlying themes in Dweck’s research.

What we realized we still needed to work on as a school, was allowing students to struggle productively. Robert Kaplinsky recently posted his ignite talk from the Northwest Mathematics Conference. Kaplinsky gives a…

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Anti-neurodiversity arguements continue to miss the point: Respect

I think it’s great that people want to analyze the neurodiversity movement. But sometimes they open their mouths without knowing a damn thing about the subject. There’s a piece by Gwendolyn Kansen in Pacific Standard called “WI’m High-Functioning Autistic. Here’s What the Neurodiversity Movement Gets Wrong About Autism.” [link is to pdf] Like every other anti-neurodiversity-movement […]

via I’m a Pro-Neurodiversity Advocate. Here’s What Our Critics Never Get Right But Don’t Bother to Correct, Either. — Autistic Academic

I haven’t melted down in years… and now suddenly…

Autistic Ultra

melting-down-minor-red-filledIt’s been years since I last had a full-blown meltdown.

And that’s pretty amazing. They used to happen frequently — say, every other week or so, when I was in rough shape… every month or so, when I was more stabilized. I had a rich history of meltdowns, from childhood on. My mother (who had her own set of issues) used to provoke and push and pick at me when I was younger, till I’d lose it and completely freak out, screaming and crying from overwhelm. She was so calm about it all… saying one thing after another that confused and frustrated me, and not stopping even when I was standing in front of her crying.

Overload. Complete. Effing. Overload. Verbal confusion. Trying to figure out what to say next. Unable to respond. All the words in my head turned up-side down and backwards. Trying to get the words out…

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Girl on the Run: you do WHAT with Your Guide Dog?

Because, why not?

Life Unscripted

Until this past year, I didn’t consider myself a runner. Before I played goalball, I didn’t consider myself an athlete, either. Growing up, I firmly believe it had little or nothing to do with my blindness, but my interests went in different directions (music and books and learning languages, mostly). But in the way of most schools everywhere, all students – including this bookish, creative blind student were made to do things they aren’t interested in, or even want to do… something I whined about at the time, but am grateful for today. I try not to think about this much, as is the way of most high school memories… but I’m sharing it with you because… well, because I want to.

Grade 8, PE class. The time of year that all the students go for a 3 mile run (the exact distance I’m not quite sure of; the…

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We Weren’t That Resilient

Maureen O'Leary

In response to the bell ringing that kids these days aren’t resilient the way their parents were growing up in the Wild West of the seventies and eighties suburban American neighborhoods and schools: I call bullshit.

We weren’t that resilient.

Those of us growing up in the seventies and eighties were not tilling Victory gardens and whittling useful things out of sticks that we found on the ground. I know. I was there.

I can only speak to my own experience, and trigger warning, I’m not prone to nostalgia.

Yes, we played outside with the neighborhood kids until the streetlights came on.

It’s true we didn’t have iPhones. We weren’t texting or addicted to screens.

We didn’t expect our teachers to give us A’s.

We drank from the garden hose when we were thirsty.

And it got pretty Lord of the Flies out there in the neighborhood and schoolyards before the streetlights came…

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New York Stimmy: Sensory Overload and Public Stimming

I – Love New YORK!!!! Stimtastic!

The Artism Spectrum

newyorkstimmyFULL Old drawing from 2010 done during my first visit to NYC. Pencil, digital color.

New York City has been exposure therapy for me in every way.

When I first moved here, I took my hometown mentality with me. I was embarrassed of my stims, convinced other people would notice, stare, and ~think things~ about me. As though that mattered.

But the city is essentially one big sensory violation. Eventually, I had to stim to survive, and through trial-by-fire I began to embrace stimming for what it really is: a life-saving coping mechanism.

The first eight months I lived in the city I barely left my apartment.

Everything I’d ever known about coping with overload was turned on its head. Taking a walk to calm down was no longer a viable option. Stepping outside meant stepping out onto a busy street, filled with honking cars, bustling crowds, and the smells of garbage…

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The Presumption of Incompetence: When Prophecy Fails — autism wars

Caution sign with the word ableism in all caps”Back in the 1950s three social psychologists joined a cult that was predicting the imminent end of the world. Their purpose was to observe the cultists’ response when the world did not, in fact, end on schedule. What they discovered, and described in their classic book, “When…

via The Presumption of Incompetence: When Prophecy Fails — autism wars