SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Autism Speaks at District 75

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Autism Speaks at District 75

I got a summer school gig again this summer. Same school as last year, different building, but still in District 75.

I am happy.

Last year I did phys ed. and this year, I am teaching technology. Got a great computer room and finally able to do what I do best.

The students are fantastic. I know it is hard and a challenge to work with autistic children and students with emotional disabilities. But, there is so much support from the top down, it makes not only my job easier, but the entire staff as well.

I feel the students are so blessed to be in this school, to be in a situation where I see the students truly come first for the first time in my career. That those who wish to demean and belittle the teachers of the NYCDOE, need to open their eyes and see what great work is done not only at the school I am at, but all District 75 school across the city. I guarantee that not one single charter school can do anything that any District 75 school can do.

For the autistic students (for this blog post I am just going to concentrate on them. I have only 1 class that is standardized), I am both in awe of them and sad for them at the same time. I'm in awe that they have the ability to navigate not only going to school every day, but the joy I see in their face and hear in their voices when they accomplish something, or that there is a teacher or para that is there for them each and every day to guide and to facilitate their growth.

It is fascinating to learn about each and every student, and find out what their likes and dislikes are. There is a student that has a fascination with maps (I myself have always loved maps). When his class is done with what we are doing and it is choice time, he goes on Google Maps and I watch him. There is a pattern to what he is searching and looking at, I wish I knew, but he knows. In fact one day I was watching him and with his eyes still fixated on Maps he just blurted out, "Personal space!" I moved back a bit.

In fact on the first day of school, on July 5, he asked me what the zip code is of where I live. Today, almost three weeks later when I ask him what is my zip code, he nails it.
One day a student started just rubbing my arm out of the blue. I looked at the para to get their attention at this. The para told me that the student feels comfortable with me. Best recommendation I ever got.
I am saddened knowing that some of our most needy students are trapped inside of their bodies, not able to communicate their fears, their anxieties, their dreams, like you and I can.

When I hear a student screaming out and hearing their pain, it just hurts to hear. I know, the staff knows, that they will be all right, but at that very moment, that student doesn't.

But these students are in great hands. I see what this school is about. It is just not about the ABC's. It's about giving these students a gift, a gift of being independent, of living their lives as fulfilled as can be possible.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Peter, there's only one degree of separation between AUTISM SPEAKS and ... wait for it ... Eva Moskowitz' SUCCESS ACADEMY schools.

Louisiana Ed Blogger Mercedes Schneider was in NYC, and took the opportunity to visit the Success Academy offices, where she met and had a lively encounter with their newly-hired P.R. person Gabriella Scull:

What Mercedes didn't know at the time or even write about was that Gabriella Scull was a AUTISM SPEAKS campus chapter founder and leader.

This is from Ms. Scull's LinkedIn page:
“(Ms. Scull) Founded campus chapter, drafted the constitution and gained campus affiliation. Recruited approximately 70 active student participants at campus student group recruitment events. Managed a 10 person executive board; ran chapter and executive meetings to promote advocacy, fundraising and follow up. Led fundraising efforts for Autism Speaks U chapter raising over $3,000 for the 2012-2013 school year. Primary liaison between Binghamton University and the national office of Autism Speaks. Created email listserv of approximately 120 students; Utilized and oversaw social media outlets to network, publicize chapter.”

Now go to the AUTISM SPEAKS website, and you find total compassion for those with autism — the same children Eva and her fellow leaders at S.A. want nothing to do with:
“Each individual with autism is unique. Many of those on the autism spectrum have exceptional abilities in visual skills, music and academic skills. About 40 percent have average to above average intellectual abilities. Indeed, many persons on the spectrum take deserved pride in their distinctive abilities and “atypical” ways of viewing the world. Others with autism have significant disability and are unable to live independently.

“About one third of people with ASD are nonverbal but can learn to communicate using other means. Autism Speaks’ mission is to improve the lives of all those on the autism spectrum. For some, this means the development and delivery of more effective treatments that can address significant challenges in communication and physical health. For others, it means increasing acceptance, respect and support.

“Resources: We are pleased to offer many resource-packed tool kits for free download (here and here), including the 100 Day Kit for families who have a child recently diagnosed with autism. For still more information and resources please see our Video Glossary and FAQs and special sections on Diagnosis, Symptoms, Learn the Signs, Treatment, Your Child’s Rights, Asperger Syndrome and PDD-NOS. These resources are made possible through the generous support of our families, volunteers and other donors.”

On the one hand, Ms. Scull once fought for (and perhaps still does fight for) the rights and well-being of children afflicted with autism, yet she is now working for and promoting an organization that, figuratively speaking, sh-ts all over those same children.

What kind of salary is Ms. Scull now pulling down?

Or to put it another way …

How much do souls go for nowadays?