Monday, January 27, 2014

Challenging and Changing Perspectives


By Edlyn Pena, guest blogger

As a researcher who studies ways to support the access and success of students with autism in higher education and a mom to a handsome six-year old son who uses an iPad to communicate, I aim to help Ido advance his message to educators, professionals, and caregivers. My objective here is to provide context and encourage you to learn more about approaches that enable nonverbal individuals to spell and type to communicate. I’ve received criticism for endorsing approaches like Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) because they are not evidence-based. There is still much speculation in the autism community about the legitimacy of RPM and other approaches that teach pointing to letters and typing. Research on these methods are lacking. I understand that professionals will continue to question these methods until they are rigorously studied and published in peer reviewed journals. I am the first to believe in well-designed research studies. As an academic, I also believe in being open to new possibilities, ideas, and presuming competence in individuals on the spectrum. Without this openness, I would have never exposed my own son, Diego, to RPM. He would not be where he is today with regard to sharing how autism affects him daily (e.g. “Paying attention is tiring”) and to articulating unusual ideas (e.g. “Eight elephants play in a new kind of ecosystem”). I would not know the level of depth of thought and curiosity hidden in his mind. Diego’s voice is now being heard.

Ido is a pioneer in advancing our knowledge about autism and people with complex communication challenges. Ido's book, Ido in Autismland, is by far the most powerful book I have read about autism. Other authors write compelling books about autism, prompting us to think about those on the autism spectrum. But Ido is different. He is extraordinary because he changes the way we think about autism. He disrupts our misguided notions that lack of speech equates to lack of intelligence; that students with autism are impoverished of expressing or recognizing emotions; and that all students who are non-verbal belong in special day classes without the opportunity for inclusion. Contrary to many of the messages the world receives on a daily basis about people with autism, Ido’s book tells us that the minds of people with autism are as complex, creative, and intelligent as yours and mine.


On a personal level, reading Ido’s book was transformative and allowed my relationship with my son to turn a corner. I now talk to Diego like I would any other smart and capable 6-year-old. I make efforts to talk to Diego, not about him, when he’s in the room. Ido, Diego, and children like them are nonverbal, affected by autism, and brilliant. By typing to communicate, they blow us away with their complex insights, imaginative ideas, and witty humor.

If you are a professional in the autism field, I invite you to think outside of the box about what “conventional wisdom” on autism tells us. Without doubt, this takes courage. It means acknowledging that we do not know everything about autism. You might learn, as I did, that our perceptions about the capabilities of non-verbal individuals are wrong. Rather than dismiss RPM or other approaches to support typing, I encourage you to educate yourself about the approaches. Interact with individuals who have learned to type. Read Ido’s book or watch videos of children and teenagers who point to letter boards or type independently. For example,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wvn7kYJyOFM

And, of course, Ido has posted great video clips of him typing on this website. For example,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLtQWXdDCFo

From one professional to another and from one parent to another, I urge you to take a chance to learn more before dismissing approaches to support our children who otherwise have limited means to communicate. We have the power to make real change by enabling the individuals we care for and serve to communicate in rich and meaningful ways.

-Edlyn Vallejo Peña, Ph.D.
www.EdlynPena.com
Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Education California Lutheran University

7 comments:

  1. Dear Edlyn,
    I completely agree! Professionals must expand their thinking beyond behaviors and begin to redefine how we treat individuals with ASD and their families. I am part of a like minded community committed to doing just that and spreading the word. We have a conference in Pasadena next weekend! We have to listen to intelligent and bright leaders like Ido and Naoki Higashida and create new paradigms, the time is now.
    Best,
    Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
    www.thevisibleparent.com
    www.profectum.org

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  2. Great article Edlyn. I can't agree more with your idea. Professionals should think beyond their imaginations about how we treat ASD and their families. Child behavior and autism.

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  3. I am Sophie from Canada, I once suffered from a terrible and Chronic autism ,since i was bone , the doctor told me there was no permanent cure i was given medications to slow down its progress, i constantly felt my health was deteriorating as i constantly go out of breath,and this illness was really terrible especially when am going out with my friends, i have this constant disorder for about 31 years which result to epilepsy, this was really a terrible ailment ,on thin one day that i was going through the internet,and i came across a post of Mrs Kate on how his son was been cured from autism through the help of Dr Williams herbal product, I contacted this herbal doctor via his email and explain everything to him and make purchase of his product,few days later he sent me the herbal medicine through courier service, when i received the herbal medicine, i used it for 1 months and two weeks as prescribed by dr williams and i was totally cured of autism within those week of usage,on thin now i have not experience any sign or characteristics again . for more information you can visit his blog autismepilepsy.blogspot.com for help

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  4. HOW I WAS CURED TOTALLY FROM AUTISM
    I had my first attack of (AUTISM) when I was 20, I wasn't diagnosed until seven years later when I was totally experiencing speech delay. It was so terrifying that I began dropping things and losing sensitivity to sounds, having severe fatigue and muscle weakness. A horrible poor eyes contact began. I sometimes can't walk straight and fall onto walls and I get leaning disability, the English medications i used proved abortive. i was so frustrated that i had to contact My neurologist,he told me about a new RRMS (relapsing-remitting MS) drug which was only in its trial stage, CAMPATH. I started the chemo-type treatment and some prescribed drugs like: RISPERDAL, EFFEXOR XR, GEODON and MEMANTINE. which resulted in 1st seizure of my life, thereby adding more salt to my injury. As a result to proffer solution to my problems, i started going online in search for a cure, i came across a testimony of a woman who got her cure through HERBAL MEDICATION, at first, i doubted because of the misconception that autism can not be cured. But i later contacted the Doctor through the email provided, and I used his Herbal product, after 1 month of use, I noticed tremendous improvement in my health, 5 months after, I can proudly say, I've been totally cured by Dr.williams Herbal Medication from AUTISM..., If you have the same health issue, you may contact him for a total change of story, Via:autismepilepsy.blogspot.com . I believe your predicament will be a thing of the past just like mine.

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  5. As a sign of gratitude for how my son was saved from autism, i decided to reach out to those still suffering from this.
    My son suffered autism in the year 2013 and it was really tough and heartbreaking for me because he was my all and the symptoms were terrible, he always have difficulty with communication, , and he always complain of poor eye contact . we tried various therapies prescribed by our neurologist but none could cure him. I searched for a cure and i saw a testimony by someone who was cured and so many other with similar body problem, and he left the contact of the doctor who had the cure to autism . I never imagined autism has a natural cure not until i contacted him and he assured me my son will be fine. I got the herbal medication he recommended and my son used it and in one months time he was fully okay even up till this moment he is so full of life.autism has a cure and it is a herbal cure contact the doctor for more info on drwilliams098675@gmail.com on how to get the medication. Thanks for reading my story

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  6. DR WILLIAMS HERBAL CURE TO AUTISM.
    I was always praying to have a testimony when ever i saw people sharing their own testimonies which really took me years but today i am the happiest father on earth.My son suffered autism for 5 years, after taken different kind of western medication without been cured.All these years my son was like a death person but today he is been cured.and you do not know how i feel having my son back to normal because it was not really easy for me having just two son and one been abnormal.I took time to search the internet which i found a lot of people thanking Dr. williams concerning the same problem and i discussed it with my wife and she agreed we should give a try so we order his product which my son took for 28 days and he is very much okay now.I will advise you to stop wasting time on all these western medicine because they only work for some times and the problem bounce back again.Contact Dr.at drwilliams098675@gmail.com for advice and for his product and be the next to give your testimony.

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  7. Doctor Williams Natural Cure to Autism,I have ever prayed to share my testimony so others would read and have a reason to fight on for there sons. I know you receive hundreds of testimonies; I pray mine will be published one day.I was a High School teacher until my retirement from classroom.

    Back when I was a teaching, I prided myself in my excellent memory.my son Having the ability to recall facts, speak eloquently, and mentor others, was all I lived for. my son was having a nice life, life was going fine until one day I noticed that my son memory wasn’t what it used to be. he was struggling to recall and retain facts. This was what he did with ease. he struggled to increase his study time and pace, because he felt he was not doing enough. As the year progress, he discovered that the more he studied, the less he recall. we all thought It was something normal, he had spent part of his life sitting down reading everything on ink and print. As time progressed, symptoms became frequent with other complications. As a result, I visited my doctor who advised I should visit a neurologist for my son proper diagnoses.My visit to a neurologist proved he had what is called classic" autism . Well before them, I have heard of children with autism, but classic" autism wasn’t a familiar word I had associated with autism. I went for further search in the internet; talked to doctors I know and even talked to autism foundations to broaden my knowledge of what my son we be facing.
    There were lots of constraints living with autism. he had to abide with certain do’s and don’ts he wasn’t used to. his autism were getting worst. Phonation and other drugs which are Anti-autism drug were prescribed to try and stop his speech delay, but none proved suitable. Instead his liver reacted badly to the first drugs. The second drug failed to control the autism. he began to feel very dejected and for the first time started to feel depressed.On these autism days of his life, i took care of me son, drove him around and ensures he stayed on his meds.

    I was told by my doctor never to take a single break without him taking his meds. Hell! I obeyed. I don’t want anything to happen to my son. But ironically, these Conventional Medications were killing him base on the side effect. I know they were,but was afraid of stopping it so the condition wont get worst,In desperation, I started visiting neurologists looking for a cure. Because he had stayed on these English medications long enough and he have not gotten a cure except more complications.

    I wanted other natural alternative devoid of side effects created by Phonation and other anti-autism drugs. Well, my search continued until someone suggested Herbs as a better alternative to treatment. But what do I know about Herbs, I am not an Herbalist so I know little about Herbs. I did more findings on various blogs where I saw lots of comment where people shared testimonies’ of being cured from autism , Herbs had cured people diagnosed of autism, so mine son won’t be an issue.I needed to get Herbal medication for my son autism. So I read a lot of blogs where people who shared their testimonies kept mentioning WILLIAMS Anti-Autism Herbal medication. I searched for a blog on Williams didn’t find one. I just followed the email address of Doctor Williams that was shared on these testimonies; I got lucky when I got a reply from Dr. Williams on how to get the medication from his customer service, I followed his instruction, which my son use in less than 1 months, his frequent autism reduced drastically. Within a period of 1 months, he was cured. I went back to my neurologist, where my son was checked up and marked autism free.Long story right… I can’t say all this in 10 lines, but if you are reading this, I want you know that Williams is the main drug for you in the cure for autism. It worked for my son; I believe it will work for you also. for more information on how to get his product you can email Dr Williams on drwilliams098675@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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