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Showing posts from October, 2007

Why a Ph.D Program

I wish I could educate far more teachers on developmental disorders and brain injuries so we don't keep pushing away some of our most gifted students. Autism spectrum disorders, frontal lobe traumas, and other conditions can cause an individual to struggle with a great many social situations, while also apparently contributing to "savant-like" gifts in other areas. The problem is pedagogical, but educators have adopted strategies for more than 30 years that encourage groups, collaboration, role playing, and other valid techniques that isolate and even alienate those with ASDs, lobe injuries, etc. In the past, we dismissed these students as "super geeks" — and like me, many were placed on "independent study" projects because teachers ran out of options. We really need to find ways to use technology to get past the social barriers, which I compare to being a non-native speaker of English. Probably a bad comparison, but I often feel I do not speak the sa

Online Confusion

I recently left two "Yahoo Groups" for autistic individuals and their families. Now, before you dismiss this as being hypersensitive in general, understand that I still read posting on several political, philosophical, and academic forums. These forums deal with controversial issues with some regularity. The difference seems to be that the autism forums were not able to moderate differences and find common ground. Instead, a passionate debate about religion (of all things) derailed one group for two weeks. If I were the moderator of a mailing list and forum dedicated to issues of autism, I would have put a quick stop to any discussion of religion with a "It's good if your church helps you, but let's refrain from discussions about faith." Instead, the agnostics, atheists, and believers kept insulting each other. Useless waste of time, if you ask me. Instead, we should be asking what services that were complete non-religious were offered and how t

Mapping and Me

For a graduate course in curriculum, we have been asked to experiment with "mind mapping" software. As my previous post reflects, I've never been comfortable with such maps personally, though I realize many people find the exercises useful. I'm clearly in a minority. It is important that teachers understand any potential tool, whether or not they are comfortable, because students are not homogeneous in learning style. I love outlining... most people do not. I also like flowcharts, graphs, and charts. Order, lots of order, works to my advantage, even when my artistic output isn't "organized" in familiar ways. Background As an example of how to integrate new technologies for composition across the curriculum, I am proposing a series of units relating to radio. As radio has shifted to the Internet and podcasting, radio theatre has remained a part of the tradition, from rebroadcasts of classic "Old Time Radio" programs to original plays. Mapping I

Long Weekends

Some weekends are long, even when they technically aren't that bad. They just seem to pass slowly, while I get nothing accomplished. I don't know why I am so exhausted by the weekends, but I am. It's like "playing normal" drains me so much that I need to decompress and can't. I have to be "normal" around so many people lately, and I'm doing it so poorly, that I'm frustrated and exhausted. There are signs of the exhaustion physically, too. I notice that as I type this, it is in sharp focus if I concentrate and stare, but the moment I relax even the slightest bit, the text blurs into a meaningless pattern of grey stripes on an off-white background. The situation with my back and shoulders is similar. If I focus, I can straighten and work past the pain, but the moment I relax, I slouch and feel the sharp needles that have been there all along. I should have worked on several school-related projects this weekend, but was too tired to th