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

My needs are not “special”

Michelle Sutton

Have you seen the comments about people with “special needs”? You know, the ones where people point out that having “special needs” kids is a “gift” that makes us “stronger”, “better people” and is “so hard” but “definitely worthwhile”?

How about the conversations about how supporting an adult with “special needs” makes a person “heroic” and “patient” and “good”?

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

And Now... For My Next Trick!

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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a diary of a mom

When Brooke was three, we enrolled her in the preschool that her sister had been attending for the last two years. We loved it and were excited for her to join her big sister.

The school, located in the basement of a local church, was as cute as they come and, to me, was exactly what preschool was ‘supposed’ to be. It was a family operation – run by two sisters and their mother, all of whom had clearly found their calling. They loved the kids as much as the kids so obviously loved them. But as I would soon learn, my version of what things were ‘supposed’ to be was very often radically different from what my daughter actually needed.

While they adored her, and she them, they just couldn’t provide the kind of environment that she so desperately needed at the time. Despite the fact that we’d found the…

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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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