Showing posts from June, 2012

Life and Floors

Some observations on floors and life. Seriously. My wife and I are renovating an older home with the hope of having it on the market by mid to late July. At the same time, today a crew is coming to our new house to repair some early water damage to our kitchen floor. Ideally, our new house is back to prime condition by month's end. In the old house, we found there is once-beautiful hardwood flooring in the front half. The flooring, however, was covered by carpet in much of the house, linoleum in the bathrooms, and a lousy stain job in the dining area. Worse, years of pet damage exists in the form of dark stains with white crystalline edges. Curiously, you can see the supports and beams where walls once stood. The living room is divided in half where a long-removed wall had created two rooms. A six-inch beam of plain, unstained wood down the middle of the room means we likely cannot leave the hardwood exposed. When you look up through the basement, it is clear the hardwood wa

An Interview with Heather Conroy, Autism and Education Specialist

I met Heather Conroy just before the 2011-13 school year. The university where I teach had asked me to reach out to two students diagnosed on the autism spectrum and consider how we might support those students. I contacted a Pittsburgh organization specializing in supports for high school and college students, which led to a meeting with Heather and one of her colleagues. I encourage readers to visit her website, , for some information. - - - 1. I'd like to begin with a short introduction to my readers. How did you decided to specialize in helping young adults with ASDs navigate the school setting? A: I began working in the field, as many practitioners do, by working with young children with autism. Later, when seeking a field learning placement for my social work degree at The University of Pittsburgh, I wanted to do something slightly different and was amazed at the astounding capabilities of the college students I worked with at AHEADD (Ac

Being a Generalist, Feeling Lost

Readers know that my first passion is writing, followed closely by a dozen or more other interests. From computer programming to typography, my interests are broad and lack a "disciplinary home" within most academic models. When I'm not writing, I'm trying to learn more about the dozens of topics that interest me. I am a writer, but I hate to be limited to one label as if that's all I can or should want to be. Modern universities are discipline-based, with departments and programs hiding behind ivy-covered ramparts. The concept of a computer programmer and Web designer with a passion for creative writing isn't easy for the university model to embrace. You're supposed to have a narrow research specialty and a similar teaching interest. Few professors are fortunate enough to teach across the disciplines, even though many institutions market themselves as "integrated across the disciplines" and open to unusual mixes of talent. In private indus

Ask a Question: Teachers and Families

This question was posted to the "Ask a Question" page: I currently have a bachelor's degree in Special Education. I am working on getting my Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis. I am working on a Family Perspectives Assignment. I would love to get our input on what children and family needs are not met and what I can do as a future teacher. I have read some of your posts and feel that your [insight] would be very valuable. Specifically, I am looking for what teachers and educators can do to help families as a whole. There is no single answer to this question. Every set of families is different, depending on where you teach, the grade level(s), school district policies, and much more. Helping families in urban Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, or Detroit is not going to be like teaching in a "Super Zip" suburb dotted with McMansions. I live in a rural area with above-average median incomes and respected school districts. There are two autism specialists nearb