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Who Teaches NTs about #Autism? C.H.A.S.E.

Who Teaches NTs about #Autism? C.H.A.S.E.

The news? Autism Speaks? A random website? A friend of a friend?

C.H.A.S.E. can.

Community Help for Autism Spectrum Everywhere (C.H.A.S.E.) is a non-profit, grassroots organization founded by parents of an autistic child. The main initiative of C.H.A.S.E. is to promote autism awareness to neurotypical students and community members through education. This collaborative effort utilizes community partnerships and professional expertise to create unique approaches for autism awareness education.

Currently, autism organizations, medical professionals and the education system focuses on the autistic child and how to help them achieve their maximum potential. They do not take into account the neurotypical person, or student, who must interact daily with their autistic peer. People not on the autism spectrum can experience a wide range of emotions regarding their autistic classmates. From confusion to fear, the neurotypical student may have many questions and concerns.

C.H.A.S.E. assists students, teachers, schools and community organizations by building awareness through education. This type of awareness can help students understand the diversity of autism and reduce negative outcomes such as bullying and seclusion. Through education and building awareness, the autistic child is more easily accepted and the neurotypical student is enriched as well.

C.H.A.S.E. has partnered with an elementary school in Overland Park, Kansas to provide education and supports for classrooms
impacted by the unique needs of students with autism. We envision communities that value the diversity of
individuals with autism. What is our plan? C.H.A.S.E. has asked asked for school families who are willing to be identified as having autism and families willing to receive special advocacy training.

Last year, C.H.A.S.E. helped significantly reduce peer conflicts for one boy, after whom C.H.A.S.E. is named. A school counselor delivered a presentation prepared by C.H.A.S.E. explaining autism to his classmates. Several of these lessons helped develop an understanding of what Chase did and why. But, more importantly, peers learned how to help him.

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Posted by on September 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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How Do We Put the Spotlight on ASD?

How do you teach someone about something that they don’t know about? If you are considering moving on to a different post or different page because of the lack of clarity of that statement, be warned that it is purposefully vague. A few days ago, I asked people to provide me blog topics because I was in a bit of a creative funk. Following my earlier post about my exchange with the Internet guy, a parent asked me to blog about how in the world we explain autism to people who know nothing about it. I’ve been thinking about that topic for quite some time, trying to decide how to think about and how to approach such a topic.

Think about a bookstore. There are hundreds of sections and sub-sections. Photography. Test prep. History. Crosswords. Literature. Children’s literature. Black history. Civil war. Nature. Cooking. Dieting. Self-help. What section do you frequent? I recently began exploring to the photography section, as I have purchased a DSLR and am learning the craft slowly but surely. I noticed the section before, but I never picked up a book, flipped through its pages, or considered learning. Was I interested? Maybe from a pure state of curiosity. Did I need to look in that section? Nope. Didn’t own a camera. What’s more, it’s a complicated endeavor. As a matter of fact, everything is a complicated endeavor with pages and pages of information read on topics both large and small. ASD is no different — a huge topic, with millions of voices, and a lot to learn. So, what tips the scales in the direction of wanting to know more?

Quite frankly I believe it is need. A teacher has a student with AS placed in her classroom. A camp counselor has a camper with autism in his camp group. A parent has a child diagnosed with ASD. Suddenly, this unknown entity becomes pertinent enough to warrant, even necessitate exploration and fact-gathering. Recently, I was asked to serve as an expert witness for a case in which an adult with AS was hit by a train. The lawyer said it best: “I’d heard of it but never thought much about it until now.” So, how do we make ASD not just visible with a puzzle piece but visible with a significant impact that warrants explanation?

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2011 in ASD in the Grand Scheme

 

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The Top 10 Reasons to Own ASD

Every once in a while, I receive an email from the parent of a new client a few days before I see them for the first time. “Dear Ms. Holverstott, My son, X, and I will meet you next week. We don’t talk about X’s diagnosis in front of him. How do you handle this situation? We ask you not to talk about the diagnosis in front of X. We look forward to meeting you, X’s Mom and X.”

Great, now what?

Everything about my office speaks of ASD. A bumper sticker says: “I love someone with autism.” Hundreds of books about ASD fill my bookshelves. Puzzle pieces decorate my wall. Certificates of completion for autism-related conferences hang framed. My business card displays my title as an autism spectrum specialist. I always wonder if I need to de-ASD my office to respect such an email’s wishes.

During the initial consultation I often ask new clients, “Did mom/dad tell you why you are here?” A vague “no” or “I don’t know” is often the response, which leads to: 1) parents quickly explaining the goal that inevitably relates, directly or indirectly, to challenges presented by ASD, and 2) my explanation of who I am, who I work with, and what I do. ASD is not every other word, but during this first session, odds are, it comes up.

You might guess that subterfuge is not a comfortable game plan for me. I see no shame in autism. No embarrassment. No regrets. No cure. As Kathleen Seidel has said, “Autism is as much a part of humanity as is the capacity to dream.” I embrace ASD with open arms, and I am blessed that most of my clients and their parents do, too. As one mom of a seven-year-old recently said, “We own it.”

As I see it, here are the simple (and not-so-simple) benefits of owning ASD and all its glory:

1. No whispering about the “a-word” required.

2. Siblings can learn, understand, respect, and advocate.

3. Parents can find respite, knowledge, and love in other parents.

4. Kids understand why some skills are hard and others are easy.

5. Self-advocacy.

6. A positive self-concept.

7. Knowing the reason for visits to doctors, therapists, and other specialists.

8. More effective, informed services with buy-in (hopefully) from the Aspie or autie.

9. The ability to look to role models and other inspirational personalities.

10. The chance to knowingly become a role model and story of success.

How do you “own” ASD?

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2010 in ASD in the Grand Scheme

 

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