Saturday, November 29, 2008

Two Tribes Collide

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. We had a great time at the Arnwine house. GA made a wonderful pumpkin pie to go with our Turkey. After dinner we went out to check on our homeless friends. We found out that a couple of churches got together and made them all a wonderful dinner and gave them new jackets. They were all in a very good mood and we were so glad they were taken care of.

While out we decided to go visit our Indian friends. They own a liquor store and Thanksgiving day is always a busy one for them. When we got to the store we started to talk and enjoy each others company. After about 10 minutes one of our homeless friends walked in, saw me and gave me a hug saying, "happy Thanksgiving beautiful lady."

Just then I turned and saw my Indian friends. I can't really explain how they looked. It was a mixture of shock, surprise, dare I say disgust. At that moment I felt my cheeks get red and then my Indian friends asked, "do you know him?!" I shook my head yes feeling my face get hotter as I watched my friend buy a beer. He was unaware of what was going on and waved happily as he left...

After he walked out my friends quizzed me:

Do I give him money?
Do I let them get close to me?
Don't they bother me?
Don't I know they will spend any money I give them on beer?

I tried to answer them, but it was a one sided conversation. My friends didn't like what they saw and they didn't want to hear my answers. I tried to explain that I think God loves all men. That all men are made in God's image and no one is incapable of a new beginning, a new life, redemption.

When it was all done I think the thing that bothered me the most was that I got embarrassed. I've gotten use to smelly hugs, toothless grins, and conversations that don't always make sense. However, this is the first time I was associated with the homeless tribe and the truth is I didn't like it. I don't want to be in their tribe. I want to visit, and do good things, but I don't want to be associated with them.

The bottom line is this, its easy for me to talk about Jesus. Its much harder to live like Jesus and have His motives. When I take the time to look deeply into my heart sometimes it just stinks.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

National Autism Resources is at the Golden State Mall 11/15 & 11/16 in Bakersfield

We're experimenting in branching out to the general public. We'll be at the Golden State Mall in Bakersfield CA today & tomorrow. If you are in the area come visit us!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Meat and CHEESE!

G ate a sandwich with ham and cheese.

Now we are up to:
Turkey & Bread
Ham & Bread
Grilled Ham Sandwich
Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich

I'm so excited! Two ingredients mixed together! Whoo Hoo!!!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Little More on ABA

Well I promised to blog soon, and it took me a week to recover?! I'm thinking I need to join a gym! Enough about me let's talk more about the ABA and older people on the spectrum.

As usual the Glassers cut straight to the a key point of Peter Gerhart's presentation which is this:

Success in school and even college does not automatically translate to success in real life.
It's easy to drill academic information over and over again and "show" that a person is making "progress." However, if a person can add and even balance a checkbook, but they can't go shopping, how does this help in real life?

The truth is its harder working with individuals to help them gain independence and make meaningful connections in society.

For example, when teaching an individual how to make their bed, why drill over and over again until they make a perfect hospital style bed? In real life do any of us really do that? What a waste of time and resources. Teach them to get out in the community independently. Raise the bar! Many people on the spectrum are capable of far more than they are allowed to experience.

Point two I appreciated, which isn't reflected in the slides was this:

Treat people on the spectrum as people, not tasks!

They have likes, dislikes, interests, listen to them and help them to achieve THEIR goals. There were many examples of this in Peter's talk. For example, he talked about helping people find jobs. One autistic man had asked to quit his restaurant job 22 TIMES! The case worker would not let him quit because she had "placed" him in a job. How would you feel if that were you? Finally, the man was allowed to quit when he had a melt down in the restaurant.
Peter asked the man what kind of job he wanted. In a nutshell he replied:
  • lots of money (don't we all).
  • not too many hours (don't we all).
  • not to sweat.

He was in a kitchen sweating, it was loud and over stimulating. Peter worked with him to find another job that matched what he was good at, and guess what: no tantrums, a happy employer, and a happy employee. Wow, treat people as people and watch what can happen!!!

I have lots more to blog on this subject, but I want to get some feedback from you. Unfortunately, they took down Peter's slides, so we can't access them anymore. Grrrrrr....

Let me know what you think. Come on you lurking readers. Just post a comment and choose to have it posted as anonymous I want your feedback!!!

Life - Liberty - and the Pursuit of Happiness for all!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Awesome Day

It has been an awesome first day at the conference. I've met tons of parents and SLPs. The speakers have been excellent. My favorite so far is Peter Gerhardt. You can access his PowerPoint presentation here. He talked about creating meaningful jobs for people on the spectrum. Jobs that they are interested in. He also challenged everyone to raise the bar of expectation. It was inspiring and challenging.

We've had a ton of traffic at the National Autism Resources booth and that's been great!

I've been up since four, so I'm going to bed now. I'll blog lots more tomorrow, if I survive.