Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's all in the Wording...

For me, wording is everything.  I have a background in anthropology, and truly believe that the words we choose cannot be seperated from our viewpoints, understandings, and perspectives.  It's kind of like how the Inuit have like a gazillion words for snow, because snow plays such a large role in their lives.  Their language reflects that.

It's why I so hate the word "autistic".  I don't just use person first terminology because it is politically correct, I use it so that my language reflects my thoughts, that a person comes before their label. 

The latest word that is beginning to fall harshly on my ears is one that you might not expect.  It's one I didn't always mind, but really irks me now.  Inclusion.  It's not the practise that bothers me, but the word itself.  (although I do have my own view points of full inclusion, which is a different issue altogether.)

What does it mean to be included?  In my mind it would involve accomodations being made so that all people could be participants.  By its very nature, we have to assume that the enviornment or activity is, under normal circumstances in some way non-accessible to those being included. 

When I was a little girl, my older sisters were often reminded to 'include' me in their games. 

Call me a word snob if you like, but I don't want my boy to be just included.  I want him to belong.  It feels like if you have to be included, it sends the message that you are being pulled in from outside the group.  Outsiders being allowed in.  I don't like that word.  I don't know a better one yet, I'm still thinking about it....  I do not see people with exceptionalities as being outsiders, I see them as full bodied, equally important human beings.  Like my favourite line from the HBO Temple Grandin movie..."Different, not less."

Again, it's not that I am in disagreement with the practise of inclusion itself, I see the world as being for all, and the more we can make all places for all, the better.  It's just the word. 

And the wording is everything.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Front Page News!

We've had a pretty exciting couple of days here!  Earlier this week I received a message to contact a reporter from our provincial newspaper, The Telegram.  To say the least this caught me off guard, but they had gotten wind of Aiden receiving his handwritten letter from Minister Kevin O'Brien. (You've Got Mail)  I agreed to the interview, but was floored when our story was printed on the front page of the paper today! Even his sweet little pictured appeared for all to see.

While I'm not a big fan of attention, we really felt the need to agree to the story so that Minister O'Brien would get the public attention his good deeds deserved.  I only hope that The Telegram's readers enjoyed their little bit of good news this morning.  There are good people out there... and little boys still dream big.
Click to view full size and read

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grade One...Here we Come!

There's no denying that the sweet days of summer have come to an end.  If you don't believe, just peak out the window.. 

We officially start Grade One tomorrow, although himself doesn't really know that I actually started it at the end of June...just didn't call it by name.  We did homeschool throughout the summer, just a lighter version of it, enough to keep the routine in place and to avoid the loss of skills.

It's amazing to me the difference that a year can make, and I don't just mean Aiden.  I feel a lot more relaxed going into homeschooling this year, and I know what the difference is.  It's no longer unknown territory for me.  I know that it is great, and I know that it works.  I also know a gazillion other people who are doing it, so I don't feel like quite the renegade that I did last year.

I have some goals for myself this year...  Firstly, to relax, enjoy the beautiful experience of home education, because even though it is a lot of work, it is truly worth it.  I know we will achieve all the outcomes, and I know there will be good days and bad days, I plan on enjoying and celebrating the good days, and taking the bad days with a grain of salt.  And moving on.

Secondly, I am working hard on always letting himself know what to expect, and what is coming next.  I have found that this has helped enormously with behaviour.  It's the classic use of visuals, schedules, checklists, etc.  Helping him avoid  "not knowing" and having to worry about new events and activities.  It really does take a load off.

Thirdly, I am going to let go of a lot of uneeded stress I put on myself.  If an upcoming event seems like it will be too difficult to manage, I am giving myself permission to avoid it.  Socially, we're doing great.  Why sabotage that?  I will keep pushing for social experiences, but I will find the ones that are good for us. With no apologies.

Grade we come!