Autism: C'hele's Story

March 18, 2017

Spring Break, day 5: A Letter of Advocation

Filed under: Uncategorized — C'hele @ 02:06

This is not a perfect letter.  I wrote it at 7:30 in the morning and I am NOT a morning person. I think I got my point across though…..

March 17, 2017

 

(School Address)

Re:  Culinary Arts Program

 

Dear Mr. (?),

I would like to bring to your attention a questionable procedure with regards to the year one exam in the Culinary Arts Program.  It was brought to my attention that questions within the exam pertained to information yet to be covered in year two.  This put many of the students to a disadvantage.  It is biased and unfair. I understand that both Chef (?) and (?) have spoken to the (name of the trades people) regarding this many times, with unsuccessful outcomes.  It is clear, that the (name of the trades people) must develop new exams that DO NOT set every single student up for failure.

My daughter Michaela (last name), the only student with Autism and other developmental delays and has exceeded my wildest expectations in this course. She has maintained a B average.  She considers both Chef (?) and (?) mentors (and kitchen gods, lol).  I think Michaela would have passed this exam if it were not for the questions that had the two year curriculum within it. She has been busting her butt despite all of her challenges to be an equal and I think she has succeeded.  I cannot applaud Chef (?) and (?) enough for their professionalism and consideration regarding Michaela and everyone else for that matter.

May I please offer a suggestion:  It would be wonderful if the Disability Centre were more pro-active within the campus.  They do not check up on these students- what do they need?  How they are doing? And if they have any concerns.  I understand that this is University.  However to be fair, many of these student like my daughter often forget that they have other resources within the campus due to their challenges.  It would be nice if teachers/administrators would follow up on these students.  So many of these individuals are intimidated and many of them are not strong advocates for themselves. I know my daughter completely forgot about this center being available to her.  The goal for many of these individuals is to be independent and I personally would like to take that step back.  No one on campus says anything or follows up. It would have been advantageous if she had a reader during the final exam that she just completed. Michaela was never taught study skills in school (I had to teach her) and is not experienced with the language that is often used during final exams.  Until this program, she has never done a final exam like this.  She found the language confusing and being autistic, she is a literal thinker.  Michaela and I currently have an appointment with ? to arrange a reader for Michaela when she re-does the exam.

I would like to personally thank you and to your colleagues for allowing Michaela to enroll and find success within the program she is in.  It is my hope that future students with autism (and other developmental disabilities) find incredible success like my daughter has so far.  I can’t say enough, how grateful I am for what this has done for my daughters self esteem and confidence.  She left high school, unprepared for life.  She was told that she would not amount to much career wise.  When I discovered the (?) Program and (the person who runs it), it was immediate that Michaela must enroll.  This program was incredibly structured well.  I found out very quickly, what Michaela was able to do and learn.  She earned many certificates that I hesitated that she might even complete. This program showed my daughter’s worth as a human being.  That she indeed had a place in the world.  I her mother, can tell this to her until I’m blue in the face but it took a compassionate, friendly, & trusting professional like (the person who runs it) to draw the best out of her and other classmates like her too who are finding success in life (like a friend of Michaela).  This program, is the answer to all individuals who developmentally fall in the cracks and are often forgotten and left behind only to become drug addicts and alcoholics.  I know.  I’ve worked at (?) and I’ve seen it.

So thank you to you and your colleagues like (?) for giving my daughter a chance.  It’s made a world of difference in her life in more ways than one.  Now that I’m on a roll, I have one more request:  I cannot say enough, how wonderful if  (name of school) would become a cut above all other universities to create a teaching degree/program in special needs for low incidence students like autism/FAS etc.  High schools are doing their special needs populations a disservice by placing regular academic teachers in resource rooms.  This field so unique comes equipped with a whole new language that regular teachers are unprepared for.  I can honestly admit to assisting and guiding a new graduate teacher from (name of school) to the principal of the school. She burst out crying in front of a group of special needs students because she had no idea what to do for them.  I am a specialized educational assistant and have been for eleven years and I can honestly say that there is a need to start placing specialized teachers who share a love for this population of special needs. I don’t understand the “need” of making people do a full degree in academics plus two or more years in special ed.  I do understand the importance of knowing basic academics in order to assist those who have a mild, intellectual delay.  But Resource rooms are a whole new world. If such a program should exist, I would be first in line to become such a teacher!

Again, I thank you for taking the to read this.  I wish (the school) continued success regarding the special needs field like the (?) program and it is my wish that in the future I will witness more unique and remarkable programs to advocate for, for parents, their children and students of all developmental and physical disabilities alike.

Have a great day!!!

Michelle (?)

Parent of Michaela (?)

(A (name of school) student with Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, A mixed receptive/expressive language disorder, an anxiety disorder and other developmental disabilities)

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