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Check out The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism!

9 Jul

I was hoping that the next post I was writing would be all about the new job I found and the excitement involved in looking forward to a fresh new start in a fresh new place.

I hasn’t happened….yet.  I have had several good interviews and I walked out of each of them feeling like I had hit it out of the ballpark.  These were positions that screamed my name as far as the skills required and my background, experience and desires.  I was wondering “How am I going to choose between them…they all seem great!”  But then days turn into weeks and no follow-up call comes.  One did send an email stating they had hired someone else, and that is totally fine.  It is possible there are some other highly qualified, experienced people who are also looking might be better suited to some spots.  But Some of these seemed SO tailor-made for me.  I’m scratching my head, but continuing to pursue what pening there are and trying not to get discouraged.

You can only imagine Jane’s anxiety.  And my two boys also know that this summer is different because we are not taking any real long trips or vacations and holding on to the money a little tighter.  They know it is all about Daddy’s job.  At least we still have medical insurance for a couple more months.

But I DO have some good news to share!  Liz Ditz has been a sort of guardian angel of my blog since its earliest days, linking, commenting and promoting articles she thought were good, and driving a lot of readers my way.  She is just a dynamo of reading and writing and promoting the cause of disability advocacy.  Every blogger should be so lucky to have a Liz in their readership!

A few weeks ago, she emailed and asked about an article I had written from my IEP series and wondered if I would be interested in participating in a project of contributing it toward a book she and some other folks are working on.  And so after doing some editing and updating, we finished it and you can read the revised version of my article on IEP goals at the Thinking Persons Guide To Autism which will eventually become a print book!  How cool is that?

I invite you to seriously check the blog out, because it has many awesome articles written be some very accomplished bloggers.  I totally wish I had a resource like this in the earliest days of son’s diagnosis.  It is a common sense and scientific look at autism issues without the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth that I see in so much autism literature and articles by parents and professionals in the field while being sensitive to the emotional overhang associated with autism.  There are some great articles there that are worth a look as a professional as well as a parent.  This blog is decidedly parent-centric written by and for parents but is a great resource for teachers and othe professionals too.

PLN for SID/PID Teachers?

22 Feb

PLN = Personal Learning Network and it is the latest buzz word buzzing around. Or at least it’s the latest thing I’m running into when reading about teachers who are into technology and all the latest, greatest stuff.

I’m still trying to figure out what it is, exactly. It’s not exactly cut and dried. Funnily enough, the concept is older than most of the technology that is spawning a lot of the conversation. But there is some good sites helping to guide teachers on how to make one. And David Warlick seems to have the authoritative site on the subject.

So do you have one? Do you need one? Patrick Woessner does a good job of describing the current state of affairs in education. Few people know what it is, let alone have one. In a way, I do have one in the form of the folks in my blogroll and RSS feed. But I feel like it’s not very tightly knit. I’m beginning to see where Twitter might be helpful. But again, there’s that info overload, because of my various interests.

I joined the Classroom 2.0 and there’s some promise there. I invite you all to look around and let me know what you think.

View my page on Classroom 2.0

What really got me thinking about this was a recent wave of comments from colleagues who have referenced the isolation involved in teaching students with severe disabilities. Like our students, we are often in need of the greatest support but are segregated off from the greater teacher community. We can join in extra curricular concerns (if we have time) but we rarely get to connect with others who also do what we do. It’s rare that there is more than one SID/PID teacher in the building and some districts may only have 3 in the whole system! So providing support and ways to get support becomes a real challenge but the technology is there if we want to use it.

Oh well, back to work on finishing up the GAA!

Welcome eLearn!

6 May

Yes, I will SO be blogging you!

Yes, this Thursday is my refresher session for what our county calls eLearn, which is actually Moodle. Moodle is actually the centerpiece of the course that I’m developing for paras and teachers of students with severe and profound disabilities. The videos, the podcasts and this blog are all resources that I’ll be using and Moodle will help provide the instructional format, content organization and assessments in order to actually put it together like a real course.

At least that’s the idea.

Last summer, I attended an eLearn class and was sort of excited about it. Trouble is, I had no idea of how to use it, because my kids can’t read, write and most can’t manipulate a mouse well enough to navigate around even with Moodle’s efforts with accessibility standards because most are reliant on single switch access and do not attend or track with that level of detail. It was a bit depressing for me, because I saw all sorts of possibilities with this great tool, but I wouldn’t have much of a chance to develop it or to use it. This lack of application and interface with the web 2.0 technology that I know and love has been a big driver in pushing me out of the SID/PID setting and driving me toward a higher functioning population. I want to create content and be out there, which I’ve sort of been doing the past couple of years with my blog. But I want to leverage the internet as a platform to provide students with the opportunity to access content easily and repeatedly at their own pace.

My audience in this course is not kids, as much as it is other adults which hopefully will have some sort of multiplier effect in helping many more students with severe disabilities learn. In a sense, it’s just me, self-marketing myself. Otherwise known as pimping myself out… for the greater good. I could see some parents tapping into this material, too. And for anyone out there so inclined, you could also contribute to the cause by posting some content that might be useful. You can read this post to see my wish list!  So maybe some folks will tune in from the workshop and get turned on to blogging and maybe some of my other readers will find some of this interesting.

I’m looking forward to getting out of class for a day, and it will be a nice break from the hectic schedule and noise and chaos that seems to go along with this time of year. I was here until 8:00 in the evening doing a bunch of IEPs last night. I think one more big push and I’ll have them done for the year.

I look forward to the day when I have time to read more posts by the good folks in my blog roll!

D.

That’s kind of scary…

8 Apr

Wow.  The story of Kathleen Seidel being subpoenaed is kind of scary, especially in light of what  I’m trying to do hereLiz has been all over the story coverage and it is racing through the blogging community, as it should.  It isn’t just about autism, it’s about freedom of expression within the blogging community and the ability of some over zealous person or attorney to reach out try to silence, harass and intimidate an individual simply on the basis of that expression.

I noticed a lot of folks on my blogroll were named.

Every blogger should be standing beside Kathleen, and I’m proud to be one of them.  It’s about community, and this is simply unwarranted and vicious.  We need to be free to disagree and voice our disagreements in a free and open exchange.

Kathleen is an educator and all educators need to mindful of this attempt to do what all despots do: enshroud the populace in ignorance.  As educators, ignorance is our sworn enemy.  It is at the root of every other war on the planet, so few wars are as important as the one we fight.

As for me, I will keep fighting in my own small way in my own small space.

dd