Making the Most of Every Opportunity

The great educational experiment of my life is about to begin .
This is so exciting and nerve wracking too. I want to be included.  The school gets to have my uniqueness and I get to have a chance .

Working and making really good grades is one of my goals .
My other goal is to be friends with many other students.
I know this will not be easy but I am determined .

Education in a school setting has never been great for me .
I am grateful to Northwestern . They are doing more for me than they will ever know because they see past my body.

All of my dreams are coming true .

Have A Say

After listening to the following podcast (the first story), G wanted to reflect on it and wanted her reflection posted here. 

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-moth-podcast/e/the-moth-radio-hour-live-from-dublin-43311285?refid=asi_eml&autoplay=true

Graciela’s reflection:

I want to try to be more like the woman in the story who has found a way to strongly work towards her goals in spite of her differences. Many times I say that I want to do something and want to also amaze others but then I flounder because dreams are hard to achieve. Making my dreams come true all together depends on me and my ability. my autism will not hold me down and will not be an excuse. Autism is a difference; not some absurd derangement. The autistic brain amazes me and should not be dried up with lack of use.

Careless Body and Brilliant Mind Trapped Together: A Parable

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(video of Graciela spelling out part of this blog…)

One day a happy and beautiful couple found out they were having a baby. Talking to the baby was part of their daily routine.

Life changed after the baby arrived. The baby life was hard on the couple. People made comments about the baby’s development and the couple grew concerned.

Wanting to make the baby as normal as possible the mom started talking to many therapists and doctors. They gave her a lot of advice for the baby.

The mom and dad made many sacrifices for the baby. They appeared to always have everything under control but at home they let the truth out. They were both afraid for the alternate path of the baby. But they kept putting one foot going forward.

Years passed and the baby became a beautiful girl. Then the couple decided to make a major life change and move to Georgia. People thought they were crazy. The girl thought so too.

From the girl’s perspective the couple had made a major mistake that would make her life even harder because she was brilliant but no one could see this because her body is so hard to control.

Then an amazing life changing event happened. The girl found a way to express herself and all of the brilliance was able to come out.

People now respect the girl for her intelligence.

Many people still need to understand that a lot of kids like the girl have so much intelligence that is trapped in an uncooperative and hard to control body. They must be given the gift of communication.

To Dare To Believe

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Sometimes having autism is beautiful and sometimes it is awful. Autistics are caring and hard working kinds of people and are trying to get the respect they deserve.

Sharing my story is not easy for me because I was silent for many years.

Silence was good in some weary ways. I was able to get good at listening and was able to get good at determining my response to conversations being held around me.

Staying silent would have been awful. can you imagine never being able to say really important things? Being unable to speak as an autistic is awful because many think you form no opinions or have any thoughts.

Staying silent would have been awful in another way. Calling non speaking autistics retarded is quite common but we are so intelligent and have no way to get it out.

Many times I have thought about my life as a beautiful sad non speaking girl and feel that something strong and amazing is going to happen in my life . Autistics have much to offer the world and want to get some acceptance and really want to be truly included or asked to be part of the world.

The really important thing people must understand, teachers especially, is that really the problem is our bodies and not our minds.

 

 

Getting a Fair Education for Autistic Savants

MANY AUTISTIC SAVANTS ARE UNDERSERVED IN SCHOOL. THAT REALITY IS PROBABLY THE MOST CHALLENGING OBSTACLE FACING AUTISTIC SAVANTS TODAY. PEOPLE ARE OFTEN CONFUSED BY SAVANTS BECAUSE THEY MANY TIMES APPEAR DISINTERESTED IN THE WORLD AROUND THEM OR CANNOT COMMUNICATE WELL WITH OTHERS WHICH MAKES IT HARD FOR MANY TO RECOGNIZE THAT THEY ARE MORE INTELLIGENT THAN THEY ARE GIVEN CREDIT FOR TIME AND TIME AGAIN. OPEN MINDS AMAZED BY THE RARE INTELLIGENCE OF SAVANTS ARE LEADING THE WAY TOWARDS NEW EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS FOR SAVANTS.

DARING TO PUT GOALS THAT ARE BASED ON COMMUNICATION AND INTELLIGENCE GIVES SAVANTS THE FOUNDATION THEY NEED TO HAVE A LIFE WORTH LIVING . HAVING TO LIVE TRAPPED IN A BODY THAT DOES NOT COMMUNICATE WITH THE BRAIN IS FRUSTRATING. THIS MAKES IT HARD FOR ANYONE TO REALLY UNDERSTAND THE POTENTIAL OF NON SPEAKING AUTISTICS. MANY FIND THEMSELVES DIAGNOSED AS RETARDED BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT GIVEN A RELIABLE LEGITIMATE TEST TO MEASURE THEIR INTELLIGENCE. IQ TESTS ARE MADE FOR SPEAKING PEOPLE WITH FULL CONTROL OF THEIR BODIES. AUTISTICS WHO ARE NON SPEAKING MAKE THESE TESTS NULL AND VOID BECAUSE THEY ARE UNABLE TO DEMONSTRATE THEIR MASSIVE INTELLIGENCE ON THIS TYPE OF TEST. FINDING BETTER WAYS TO MEASURE INTELLIGENCE IS CRITICAL. THIS WILL GET SCHOOLS TO GIVE MORE THOUGHT TO THE GOALS THEY HAVE FOR THESE STUDENTS. SAVANTS HAVE RAPID PROCESSING SPEEDS. THEY MUST BE TAUGHT AT THIS PACE.

RARE INTELLIGENCE IS BEING WASTED EVERY DAY IN SCHOOLS THAT DO NOT PLACE ANY VALUE ON THE INTELLIGENCE OF AUTISTICS WHO ARE UNRELIABLE SPEAKERS. THIS PUTS THE ONUS ON THE CHILD TO PROVE HIMSELF ABLE TO HANDLE MORE THAN PEOPLE ASSUME HE CAN. GETTING THE SCHOOL TO BELIEVE IS NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF STRONG WILLED TEACHERS WITH DEGREES FROM TOP UNIVERSITIES WHO CALL THEMSELVES EXPERTS BUT DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE COMPETENCY OF THEIR STUDENTS. ALWAYS ACTING UNDER THIS VERY SKEWED PERSPECTIVE MAKES EDUCATORS FAIL TO GET TO THE HEART OF THEIR STUDENTS’ GIFTS AND INTELLIGENCE.  GETTING THESE TEACHERS TO ACCEPT COMPETENCY AND TO ACT ON IT IS KEY. WITH PRESUMPTION OF COMPETENCE SAVANTS WILL COME CLOSER TO GETTING THE EDUCATION THEY DESERVE.

THE AUTISTIC SAVANT IS OFTEN RARELY EDUCATED . THIS IS A SHAME. GIVING LIFE TO AUTISTIC SAVANTS SHOULD BE TOP PRIORITY FOR MANY WHO WORK WITH AUTISTICS IN AN EDUCATIONAL SETTING. AUTISTICS BECOME LESS AND LESS ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN WORK AND EDUCATION BECAUSE THEY ARE LEARNING THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER IN SCHOOL. SAVANTS ARE LEFT TO ROT IN THE IGNORANCE OF OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IN THIS COUNTRY. LIFE HAS BEEN UGLY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE AUTISTIC AND NON SPEAKING. . STORIES HAVE BEEN TOLD OF ABUSIVE SITUATIONS IN FAMILIES, SCHOOLS, GROUP HOMES AND OTHER PLACES BECAUSE THE AUTISTIC HAS NO VERY GOOD WAY TO DEFEND HIMSELF. OPENING OUR GREAT SCHOOLS TO THE REALLY INTELLIGENT, UNDERSERVED, AUTISTIC SAVANT WILL MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR EVERYONE.

EDUCATION OF AUTISTICS CAN CHANGE THE FUTURE. WALLS MUST COME DOWN AND MINDS MUST BE OPENED. WITH MANY LIVES AT STAKE IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT PEOPLE QUESTION THE CURRENT PRACTICES. THEN THEY MUST  WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES TO CURRICULUM OR ELSE THE AUTISTIC, REALLY INTELLIGENT SAVANT WILL BE FORGOTTEN AND MANY BRILLIANT MINDS WILL GO TO WASTE.

Making Resolutions Towards Life

Making your many New Years resolutions takes a lot of thought. I put a lot of thought into my resolutions for this year. Take some time to write your resolutions down. This wants to go to really have an impact on you.

Many resolutions are kind of things that are personal. Many resolutions get thrown out when life gets busy. The saving hard fact in my life is that life is many challenging moments put together into days, weeks, months and years. Making resolutions is maybe the saving thing in my life because they give many many thoughts direction.

Talking more with my mouth is my biggest resolution this year. I want to rally my brain going together with my body. I really have to work hard. I want to make a life that is livable and full of the things all twelve year olds want for themselves.

I am always making some resolutions to go to school. I want to go to a secondary school that will make me feel challenged. Right now I do not like being home schooled because many of the living opportunities are missing. Having this change this year would be great!

Outsiders think that I am a very simple minded person but in reality I am so beautifully intelligent. I want to be able to show this to others.

Interview Questions Answered

Note from mom: Graciela’s Australian friend and fellow RPMer, Bella, wrote to her and asked her to answer some interview questions for a school  project. Here are Graciela’s responses to Bella’s questions….

Bella: Remember when you were not communicating with RPM?How was it like for you?

Graciela: Making this answer upsets me because some of those days were kind of like being trapped in a prison with no way to get out. Life was hard. Really making myself understood was all consuming. Can you imagine understanding daunting reality of your situation but not being able to do anything about it? I am always making myself forget about those days having no plausible means of communication. Really want to forget that these days marked my childhood.

Bella: What kept you, my friends?

Graciela: My gentle faith and hope in God had freedom in it. Marvelous faith can move mountains.

Bella: What words are really the most descriptive of your personality?

Graciela: Life changer and life giver

Bella: My last question is, can you tell me of your rescue?

Graciela: Making my thinking known was hard because I could not get out what I knew. Learning RPM happened at a time when I was feeling totally desperate because I was at a new school that kind of thought making my body calm was more important than teaching me. I was losing all hope. Then life and love calmed my really livid mind and put my fears to rest. We went to see Soma. Can you kind of imagine how awesome and freeing that was for me? Understanding how to use RPM to communicate was finally the moment I had been wanting for so long. Having the opportunity to see Soma was life changing. Lastly my mom completely devoted herself to making sure I had access to RPM every day. This gives me a voice and hope every day.

To learn more about Bella and her journey, check out Bella’s Walk at https://www.facebook.com/Bellas.Walk/.

Also, Bella and Graciela’s mutual friend, Phillip, was also interviewed. You can read his responses at www.faithhopeloveautism@blogspot.com

 

 

Caring and Sharing

Note from mom: We have a tradition in our family when we share a meal of going around the table and discussing something we are thankful for, something we learned that day and an act of kindness that we did that day. This blog post came out of one of these discussions last week…

Really thankful for whoever helped me to make it through this year. Mom you have helped me dare to dream big . Dad you have made amazing progress on the boards.
Very thankful for dad daring to try the boards.
Most importantly I am the feeling of happiness because outside of my family I normally soften other people not because they stare at me and cringe but because I’m sharing my light each day with others. Now great things are possible.
Getting the great message of love out to the world makes me massively happy.

Me and my dad doing RPM
Me and my dad doing RPM

Many think that you are helping me type but the truth already is out that I am smart and have many talents. You dream big and we will really fly. Assume and believe that I am always listening and learning and can really think you voice your opinions too much . The freedom of not being able to speak allows for really daring dreams peoplee have never cared to get in their minds before. Saving the world is my dream.