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Is anyone watching the bright and quirky conference?


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The first video was on whether we should fix what's wrong or scale what's right with Jonathan Mooney who I don't know but he apparently wrote a book and is dyslexic. I'm kind of grumpy that you have to pay to watch the entire thing and it's honestly frustrating me because most of the conferences like this give you the whole interview but that's not the point of my post...he makes an interesting argument - a quote from his book was given: "I didn't have a disability, but experienced a disability in an environment that could not accommodate my differences" he then went on to say that "disability is a social construct" or something along those lines. His point was to get you thinking about what it means to thrive, and how to focus on strengths rather than weaknesses.

I feel like a lot of our conversations on here are based on how to remediate weaknesses, and while yes, I see the argument for ADHD being more pertinent (let the kid move etc.), how does that fit into something like autism, when the social, language, fine motor, narrative (etc.) deficits really have an impact on a child and it's not simply "accommodating" for their sensory needs, or need to move, or what have you. 

I feel like dyslexia, too, is something that while you can capitalize on strengths, you also have to focus on the disability and remediate it. Because reading is just that important in life. So while it may be a social construct, so is society and there's not actually that much wiggle room for differences and if we want our kids to hold jobs and be independent, we have to focus on the disabilities too? Am I missing the point somewhere?

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I don’t think you are missing the point when people can (IMO) take it too far, because there are a lot of practical things that are important.

But I think it’s a good point to bring up too, because I think it’s about not having a deficit model, looking at the whole child, seeing the good things and not only the bad things, etc.

I think it’s one of those things where balance!  And moderation!  Are needed.  

I think age matters a lot too, I think when kids are younger it’s easier and then when they are getting older it can start to be risky to focus too much on things they don’t do well, because it’s hard for kids.  

I think too, with a lot of things, if you are already open-minded to something, it’s not blowing your mind to hear certain things said, and it might even sound obvious, and then “what am I missing that this isn’t obvious.”  But it could be really new and important for another person.  I think that can happen for sure!  

I have talked to parents sometimes and thought “that is a revelation to you, really?” and it’s just something where I had already heard similar things or something, by chance.  

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I see your point. And yes, I love focusing on strengths, we often have discussions about what "our superpowers are" at the dinner table, since we all have areas we struggle and areas we excel. I suppose I was mistaking the point he was making to be only focusing on strengths and never work on deficits. If I had been able to see the entire interview maybe that would have been clearer.

I agree, balance and moderation are important!

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There are also bitter self-advocates grinding axes.

I HIGHLY doubt you're not thinking about your dc's strengths, but I agree I find it helpful to STOP every semester or so, as I make our new plans, and just ask myself if it's in there or if strengths and passions got shoved out. It's easy to have happen.

But nah, I wouldn't be feeling guilty on this. We've had some threads on it, and people tossed some suggested %%%% they've read or been told. Like 30 or 40% strengths that kind of thing. Maybe higher. Just to hit 30 or 40% you really have to be VERY INTENTIONAL. 

But like I said, odds are you're doing it. I don't even have all our stuff up and running yet, so I haven't really addressed the question myself for this semester. Really though, we kind of have a groove where that happens. For me it's about spending money on his passions and not only on Barton, kwim? 

2 hours ago, mamashark said:

"I didn't have a disability, but experienced a disability in an environment that could not accommodate my differences"

I've read that before and it's a complete, total, utter crock. My ds has a disability, even in the most accommodating environments, and he knows it. And since I can't keep him in a BUBBLE, he experiences astonishing incongruity between what he wants to do or would do and can do. That is not only poppycock but an EMBARRASSMENT and discredit to the community. It might be that the audience of B&Q "merely" has whatever, but my ds SIGNIFICANTLY has disabilities. And he's gifted. And he hits walls all the time of social expectations that can't work, inability to blend in because of expectations. And it sucks. And the world is not going to stop being who they are.

I actually try really hard to normalize ds' reality in our world. In my home, I can do that. Here, he actually seems normal, because I revamp everything. But outside these walls, it's over. It's probably the only reason he has any positive self-concept. And I don't let anybody near him who approaches him any other way, not for academic instruction. But for LIFE, give up, I can't fix that.

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3 hours ago, mamashark said:

I see your point. And yes, I love focusing on strengths, we often have discussions about what "our superpowers are" at the dinner table, since we all have areas we struggle and areas we excel. I suppose I was mistaking the point he was making to be only focusing on strengths and never work on deficits. If I had been able to see the entire interview maybe that would have been clearer.

I agree, balance and moderation are important!

He could be trying to advocate for balance but coming across as overcorrecting, or he could really mean that you don't on deficits. There is one of those in every crowd, sometimes more than one.

I tend to stay away from talks like that, but I am decidedly oversensitive on this topic--my son has a lot of strengths, and he's going to be a great adult with options, but there are things that come out of nowhere and body slam him without notice. If anything, his strengths tend to make people expect more of him than is fair given his disabilities--right now we're getting the "Are you sure you want to let him become x when he's got so much potential?" Well, those other options are beyond his reach in some ways, and the suggested "better" careers are ones that tend to be high-pressure with long hours (not okay for him--he needs downtime to flourish). 

I also know people that are finding the reality of undiagnosed ADHD and such to be a huge burden. 

HOWEVER, I know you are looking at both sides and making sure your kids have what they need. The strength/remediation thing is not either/or. Sometimes, the strengths can be tapped to help remediate the deficits too! That's certainly true for my son, even though it takes a lot of work. 

We do prioritize areas where deficits are less of a problem (autism is a pervasive developmental disorder, so, it does tend to permeate everything), or where our kids don't perceive their deficits in a significant way. For our kids, that's music lessons, volunteering, etc. Now, are the deficits gone in those areas? No, but they are not an obstacle with the right approach. My kids have music teachers that "get" kids with quirks and are amazing at making it all work. 

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9 hours ago, kbutton said:

I tend to stay away from talks like that, but I am decidedly oversensitive on this topic-

I can understand that. I honestly have listened to talks before that were mixed helpful and unhelpful and this one, at least this week's talks, are all unhelpful. They were so focused on kids who are behavior problems because they are bored in class and how we need to ask their teachers to test them out of parts of the curriculum and let them do projects in the back of the classroom.

And I see ADHD or even straight up gifted with asynchronous development being the main "quirk" that seems to be the focus. Guess I just see my asd kids as quirky, so I thought there would be more substance to the talks.

maybe for a lot of parents watching, it's eye-opening stuff, but I already opted out of the system that couldn't meet my kids needs. I am hoping the talks next week on executive function are more helpful, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.

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1 hour ago, mamashark said:

I am hoping the talks next week on executive function are more helpful, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.

Seth Perler had some stuff last time that I liked--are we implementing it? Not exactly, but we do some similar things. Anyway, he has some kind of Sunday evening makeover (can't remember the name) that can be done anytime during the week, but it's about getting on the same page and slowly having the kids take more responsibility for things. It's helpful depending where you already are.

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