Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Social Awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder

In my mundane life I teach students who are on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
What is autism? We hear a lot about it in the media. Here is what the Autism Society of America has to say and this definition comes from the site. http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_whatis
What is Autism?

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.

Autism is one of five disorders that falls under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), a category of neurological disorders characterized by “severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development.”

Autism is the most common of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders, affecting an estimated 1 in 150 births (Centers for Disease Control Prevention, 2007). Roughly translated, this means as many as 1.5 million Americans today are believed to have some form of autism. And this number is on the rise.

Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at a startling rate of 10-17 percent per year. At this rate, the ASA estimates that the prevalence of autism could reach 4 million Americans in the next decade.

Autism knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries; family income levels; lifestyle choices; or educational levels, and can affect any family and any child.

And although the overall incidence of autism is consistent around the globe, it is four times more prevalent in boys than in girls."

As a teacher, I found that the most difficult part of this disability is teaching them basic social skills. What we take for granite, like social cues, body language, tone of our voice, innuendos, jokes etc, they find difficult to comprehend and process.

We are putting a program into place at my school that is in its infancy. We have found that students who have been given consistent social skills training, teaching and modeling for navigating the world they are much more successful. But, unlike most disabilities "the books is still being written on autism."

Part of the goal of this blog is to create a forum for discussion on autism. This includes Asperger's Syndrome and related disabilities.

1st. Question: As a parent, teacher, sibling or just an observer, what social skills instructions do think has worked? What hasn't worked?

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Vikings: A Brief Introducation

The first image of a Viking that comes to ones mind is usually a horned helmeted, fur covered, seven foot tall, dirty, drunk, barbarian that has only pillage, plundering and burning on his mind. Minus the horned helmets, that is only one-tenth of who the Vikings were during the late half of the 8th century. The term “Viking” has become strongly associated with seafaring warriors, explorers and traders, even though the word was only partially applied to these Nordic people by the British. The negative reputation of the Vikings was painted by the monks Lindisfarne monastery in Scotland. “The curse of the north” would regularly invade the monastery creating the image of violent warriors seeking out to destroy all of Christianity. Despite this violent reputation, the Vikings actually saw themselves as farmers. This view is ironic due to the fact that history has painted them as warriors, fishermen, sailors, hunters, trappers, and traders.

What does “Viking?” The term Viking is thought the have originated from a place in southern Norway called “Vik” The name soon came to refer to Norse speakers called “Northman” by their southern adversaries, who sailed from “viks” (bay or harbor in Old Norse, or refuge in Old English) seeking adventure and profit. These “bay men” who went off raiding were to said to go “a-viking” or simply called “Vikings.” These “Vikings” originally hailed from Norway, Sweden and Denmark. These Vikings were also called the “Norse” or the “Northmen.” These Norse also discovered and settled the Faeroes Islands, Iceland and Greenland. In time these Norsemen established a distinct and independent society on these islands. The Norse also established strong trading communities in Dublin, Ireland, York, England, Ribe and Hebedy Denmark, Kaupang, Norway, Birka, Sweden and Turku, Finland. The history of Finnish Vikings in Finland, Russia and in the East in will be discussed in another chapter. In these trade centers are archaeological evidence of commerce and trade between the Norse and other nations through out the Middle Ages. In these established cities the arts, poetry, science, music, and knowledge were exchanged. This information paints the Vikings, the Norsemen in a completely different light. Come “A-viking” with me as we learn more.

Bless Bless

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Welcome to House Drekka-lundr

What does Drekka-lundr mean? It means "the sacred grove of the dragons." You are invited to follow me as I explore the fascinating world of the Vikings, beyond the Hollywood stereotypes and the Capital One commercial. Follow me as I travel the twisty road called education as I learn how to educate high school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Skip along with my family and I as we face the challenges of living with Celiac Spru disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Or just come and follow where this nomadic mind wonders as I explore spiritualism, religion, cooking, gardening, art and what ever comes up on this road of life.