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Showing posts from September, 2014

Barriers and Space

One of my personality quirks is that I like clear delineation of "my space" in the world. I don't like fuzzy barriers between the bits of the world I occupy and the rest of (human) world.

I don't mind if my yard leads into a forest. That's great. But I do want to know where my yard ends and the neighbors' yards begin. I want lines drawn, nice and clear lines that clarify my responsibility. Admittedly, I also want others to know… "Hey, I'm not responsible for whatever you see over there!"

The same is true at work. I like my desk to be… mine. I like my desk clean, my filing cabinets organized, and my books shelves by topic and then alphabetical. Don't enter my space without asking, and definitely don't return books to be helpful — other people never seem to place them back in order!

Controlling my space, and wanting it as perfect as possible, is more than preference. It borders on a need — a desire to have a little bit of order and co…

ASDs, Anger, Violence... Advocacy

I am faced with conflicting impulses: positive advocacy vs. negative reality.

Like many advocates, I wish to remind people that most autistics are not violent, bullies, or any more "risky" than other people in classrooms or workplaces. If anything, people with special needs are more likely to be bullied and to be victims of violence in various forms, from verbal abuse to physical abuse.

But, I have met students (and adults) who engage in self-harm, have violent outbursts, and are a genuine risk to others.

When you see a young person throw things, pull hair, scratch skin, and scream, it is impossible to deny that some small number of autistic individuals need some sort of cautious, caring, protection from their own actions.

The problem is, I'm not sure how to balance the need to protect with the message I wish to promote as an advocate.

Better for Me, Better for (My) Students

Perfection and compulsive organization drive me to over-prepare for the courses I teach. I've found that some instructors, especially at the college and university level, are comfortable with a loose seminar approach to teaching, I like to have lots of notes, outlines, slides, and handouts. Without the structure, I would be easily distracted or my pacing wouldn't fit the class meeting time limitations.

I post most, but not all, of my notes online for students. Having the slides and handouts gives them a chance to review materials covered in class, something I would value as a student. Because I'm a perfectionist, as a student I reviewed materials throughout each semester. My assumption is that many students want that same ability to review and learn at their own paces.

For assignments, I like detailed handouts with all due dates at the top. I describe the assignment, the objectives, the grading criteria, and mention any additional resources available to help complete t…