Sunday, July 15, 2012

Severe Autism and Education: Conor Doherty Votes Yes! to FLEXIBLE Inclusion

Conor receives what full inclusion advocates call a "segregated" education because he receives his ABA based instruction, for his autistic disorder, in a quiet location outside the regular classroom. (Although he does have many activities with other children for outings and other events, such as swimming, apple picking, visits to the Playhouse in Fredericton)

As his father, I consider the combination of individualized learning environment combined with group outings and activities to be an evidence based approach to accommodating Conor's severe autism challenges that is done in his best interests. In the yellow board picture Conor votes YES! to this evidence based, flexible inclusion approach that has worked so well for him.

Conor loves his schooling as it now is and loves attending school.  Summer vacation is difficult for Conor and he gets very frustrated at times.  One of the tools we came up with for managing his frustration is to have him write on a board the number of days until school with Conor changing it each day.  At 6 am every day Conor jumps up, unprompted, and changes the number.  It helps him understand that school, and the so called "segregated" education he loves, will return. 

Conor has been well accommodated with his individualized learning environment combined with ample opportunities to mix with other kids at school outings.  He loves school and he knows a lot more about his own needs then the full inclusion ideologues who dominate education policy in the current New Brunswick government and who would take the schooling Conor loves away from him.


Shannon said...

First, you have an extremely adorable son. But I suspect you know that. :o)

Second, it's wonderful that he not only looks so forward to school, but that you've found a way to make the wait seem less difficult by allowing him to count it down himself. My daughter has similar issues to Conor's and she attends ESY, which helps tremendously. If there is a program available that would allow your son to attend classes during the summer, I definitely recommend it. It keeps their skills current and it helps alleviate the anxiety that comes with breaking their routine. It's been great for both of my children, but my daughter enjoys it more because she really seems to need the classroom experience.

AutisticWisdom said...

If only the rest of the country could figure this out, congratulations Harold on getting a proper education for Conor. Let's hope N.B.'s new government doesn't undo it. Sorry to hear about UNB-CEL too - my experience has been that "internal" training translates to poor quality and either saved costs, pocketed costs (given to internal staff for no improvements in services), or transfers of dollars to other areas. Having UNB-CEL ensures quality. For us, we are going to have to flee Ontario for Alberta to get a shot at such an education.

megan said...

Agree with Shannon, you have a cute son and it's great to hear that he looks forward to school.