Finding your own voice


Quote of the day:

. . . if the solution you’re trying to use over and over with a child isn’t working, then don’t presume the problem is with the child: Consider that the stumbling block lies in how we understand the problem in the first place, and that the first place to start to better understand the problem, is by letting the child find their own voice; in whatever manner or language that voice may take. We need not fear those other voices; just like learning a new language, those voices may even enhance the strength of our own. Autism and Oughtisms

This doesn’t just apply to children.



We never had to tell our sons they had disabilities.

They both had brain disorders which left them profoundly handicapped and as far as we could tell they couldn’t understand anything we told them.

But we did have to explain about disability to their sister who was aged two when her first brother was born and four when the second arrived. We also had to explain to lots of other people – children and adults.

We tried to do it simply and honestly, describing the severity of the disabilities without in any way taking away from our sons their humanity and right to be treated as people in their own right.

The question of what to tell children who have a disability,illness or other condition which makes them “different” and when to tell them, is one of the many challenges facing their parents.

The best example I’ve seen of it is The day I told him he was “awesome” part one and part two at Autism and Oughtisms.

Awesome is an overused and often misused word, but in its true sense is the appropriate one for these posts. I am in awe of the sensitivity and creativity the mother showed.

Apropos of this, I recommend two very good novels.

Crash by William Taylor – the story of Poddy who has Downs Syndrome and Yes by Deborah Burnside – the story of Marty, a teenager with autism.


Last place wins hearts


Every now and then a heartwarming story circulates by email telling how a young boy with disabilities lost a race but won hearts.

I’ve no idea if it’s true, but the last placing winner is:

Yesterday I went to watch my five year-old son run the cross-country at school. On the way home in the car I was shuddering and wiping tears from my eyes. I’m going to tell you what happened.

My son attends a mainstream school, as far as the school grounds and school uniform go. But his class is a “satellite class;” all the students in that single classroom have special needs, and the classroom resources and teachers are from a special needs school based at a different location. The whole mainstream school – including the classroom my son attends – took part in the cross-country during the school day. Parents were invited to attend.

The children run by age group, so my son’s grouping was early on in the day. He was in the second “heat” (basically, the second rather large grouping of children for that age group). The group included only a few children from the special needs class, the rest of the many children were all mainstream.

As the starting gun fired he set off, me on the side-lines watching on proudly. Proud because he understood what was required of him on this occasion, and proud because he was able and willing to do it . .


You can read the rest at Autism and Oughtisms.

Dear Sleep


Blog post of the week – Autism and Oughtisms writes a letter to Sleep:

Dear Sleep,

We haven’t spent much time together lately, and I miss you like crazy. No, that’s not quite right. Missing you is driving me crazy.

Maybe you feel I abused you when I was a child; pretending we were together when we weren’t, just so I could get out of doing things I didn’t want to do. . .

You can read the rest here.

Anyone who has had children will know exactly what she means, anyone contemplating havng children might consider it as a warning.

Critical Mass – grammar, scribe’s manifesto and autism


Jim Mora and I began our discussion on critical mass where we finished last week, discussing the elements of clunk.

We moved on to a manifesto for  the simple scribe.  Tim Radford’s 25 commandments for journalists are a good guide for anyone else who is writing or speaking. (Thanks to Quote Unquote who led me there).

We finished with a quick look at Autism and Oughtisms, a blog written by the mother of a five year-old who has autism. The writer also deals with other autism issues and admits to having a special passion for revealing bad arguments.

A blog like this could be therapeutic for the writer but it is much more than a journal. 

It would be a very valuable resource for anyone who has a child with autism in their family or circle of friends or who works with children with autism. It is so well written I think it would be of interest to people who have little or no experience of autism too.

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