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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Thinking Bloggers

This will be a rambling post. Contrary to the title, it is not "thinking" about much, really. It is not an essay with a point. It is a post reflecting the state of the world as we feel it today.

I want to thank This Mom for mentioning me in her post today. I've recently noticed this Thinking Blogger nomination memes going on, and I happen-stanced upon Kyra's post today.

As Kyra noted, there are too many wonderful bloggers out there and so much to read. I don't think I have the time to read everyone I would like to, particularly how I am trying to write a lot more these days on other topics elsewhere.

Yesterday, I spoke a little about Adam and how well I think he's doing. I have been thinking about all the fretting we have done, and how at peace we are these days. Is it spring? Sunshine? Summer quickly approaching? The great school we now attend where Adam is integrated and happy? The new approach we take at home in respecting Adam , his innate intelligence and building learning programs that really address his learning style?

I reflect that it has taken us nearly four years to get to this point -- dealing with therapists coming from ABA backgrounds and keeping the ones who really want to learn how to teach -- nearly fighting with some of them about Adam's needs and HOW to teach him respectfully. We need this combination of background and flexibility when teaching kids. And then, at Adam's school, there is no background but the right method for his needs. (I will not disclose his school for safety and privacy reasons).

Yes I Can! nursery school lost their funding for summer camps yesterday. I am very sad about that as Adam used to attend that camp when he was a very little guy. Adam attended Yes I Can! for preschool and camp. While he outgrew their teaching style, it was a warm welcoming place when he was very little. This was where he learned how to paint, where he wore his first Halloween costume. Janet MacDougall really cared about our Adam. Many camps have had funding cuts -- the funding goes towards camp counselors -- special needs camps were not specifically cut. And Yes I Can! was not just for special needs kids. It was for all kinds of kids. This is why we loved it there too -- a marriage between understanding the special needs child and inclusion. The Toronto Star reported that the government said that Yes I Can! scored poorly on quality of service. I don't know if anything has changed because it has been three years since we've attended Yes I Can! But our early memories are positive, and then we had to move on.

Apparently, the government wishes to direct funds to counselors with disabilities. The Toronto Star reported:

Program funding gives priority to organizations in high unemployment areas as well as those that hire students "with disabilities, aboriginal students, and students who are visible minorities," Lesley Harmer said in an email. "It is unfortunate that every year there are always more applications for funding than money available," she said.

There is nothing wrong with that goal. The places I want for Adam include:

-access and inclusion;
-camps that take shadows or can provide them;
-affordability (some families should receive financial support);
-understanding autism outside of the behavioural box;

There is no reason why camps should limit access to kids with special needs, or not have special needs counselors.

Anyway, as I meander down the contented path the past few weeks, I will sit down and write my book, a couple of essays. We look forward to camp, to some lazy summer days, and just, well...rambling along.

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