Friday, March 5, 2010

Washington Post: article/2010/ 03/03/AR20100303 03286.html
New York Times:
AP: com/hostednews/ ap/article/ ALeqM5ieMm1HL- n7kt8tm- 2vEIC5-wK9AD9E7D F9G1

I tried to get all the spaces out of these articles, but if I did not do it, please look over these links carefully to see if there are extra spaces in them.

I believe that we need to hire additional aides and teachers, keep class sizes much smaller than some are (so that we can place every child in the least restrictive environment), and then raise our standards for education. We have lower standards in school, because we do not want anyone to feel frustrated, and consequently misbehave. So, we try not to have too much material in class on a given day, and this works for most students. Of course, other countries have better programs. We bemoan the fact that we do not have good programs that teach as much as these other countries, but we forget that in those countries, they are not dummying down the curriculum so that nobody gets frustrated, because they are not dealing with the discipline issues that we are.

OK, so what else can we do? If we lower class size, and have aides and parent volunteers where needed, when someone does not understand, we will be able to take the time to explain it. Then, our students will feel more reassured that they can learn harder subjects.

When we have students who have disabilities, if we actually have the staffing that is mandated by current laws, then those students will have staff to help explain things to them where needed- and in addition, it will help bring down walls, because typical classmates will have more contact with atypical classmates than they currently do.

I believe that restraint has been applied in some truly awful cases because of money issues. I feel awful for all of the children who had to go through it. I feel that using restraint as a punishment is simply not good teaching.

I am very glad that there was bi-partisan support for a bill today that passed the House, in relation to limiting the application of restraint and seclusion in schools, because to me, this is about being a person and caring for other people, and being willing to try to see the world through the eyes of each child. All children are people.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thinking Nonverbally

I think in pictures, and promised Susan, an NT friend, that I would try to explain to her how I do it in a way that she could relate to, even though she does not do this. I had to think for weeks, and then, as I was driving down a road with a fence next to it and imagined how a person could get to the other side of the fence- nonverbally, of course, I realized how I could generate images like what I was thinking/ seeing in my mind's eye. I finally explained it to my friend as I envisioned it that evening-- it is as if I had drawn my thoughts out on a tiny tablet of paper- the kind of instant animation one can put ones thumb against and flip, to make the pictures come up rapidly one after the other, so that a visual image appears, like a silent movie, of a tiny situation. When I was a kid, one could find things like this as prizes in Crackerjack boxes.

Later, it occurred to me that there is plenty of nonverbal thinking I do that is not visual either- and I have no idea how to explain any of this to an NT. Some is strings of rotations and directions and numbers- the way I remember directions physically most easily, for example- and other parts are full of brilliant colors doing things- the colors are my code for words and ideas and other things that would take much longer to think about in words than they do in color- and other parts are logical sequences and chains of ideas and logical inference.

Just a week ago, I was in a conversation about feelings and realized that in dealing with mild anger, I have a shade of orange-brown that denotes that feeling- and do all manner of constructive things in dealing with it- but had not really ever verbalized it- and did not even connect those actions to dealling with feelings till I was in that conversation.

I am sure that there are other ways I think without words, and have yet to realize it. Things like this are so natural for me that I don't stop to examine them sometimes.