Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Oct 24, 2011.
Oct 24, 2011
The link didn't work. Can you repost? I am very curious! Thanks!
The link works for me. Try this: http://tinyurl.com/3da36xc
Oct 27, 2011
Link worked for me. When I first read the story, I was like, "Hm, interesting, wonder if/how this will change anything." Then I looked at the slide show and read all the captions and now I am a little spooked because my almost-1-year-old daughter has exactly those facial features (distinctly so; I get comments all the time) though behaviorally she is just about the most un-autistic toddler you've ever met. She's developmentally right on track, a social butterfly to boot. I know this doesn't actually mean anything but I'm still totally spooked. Which just goes to show that when it comes to our own children we mama bears can be darn irrational.
I should really be asleep...
That is a really interesting article. Hope it leads to some breakthroughs in early identification!
Mrs. Froggy: your link to that funny blog site is awesome. A day later and I am still laughing. It took me awhile to figure out it is a fictional blog. That is one creative writer. A Zombie themed classroom would definitely keep the kids and adults entertained, but not for 2nd grade. Those kids would be scared out of there mind!!! High School or Middle School would be fun!
Yes I am a teacher--- sorry for the typo. I do know the difference between their, there and they're. "Their mind" is what I wanted to use.
(about the funny teacher blog... I couldn't figure it out at first; what threw me was the zombie theme - who on earth would invest that much effort into designing stuff they weren't going to use? And you really never know these days... lol)
I think I'm finished with the spookiness. 11-month-old daughter is currently sitting next to me in high chair sharing joint attention with me and asking for more pancakes ("Mama! Nom?") so I think I'd better get off the web and give her some more social interaction.
Thoughts??...... probably very disturbing, painful for those who have autistic kids.. Don't you agree? .... Just sayin'.......
Maybe major is reflecting upon how parents might feel to find out there's a genetic link...or the worry they may go thru because a kid presents certain facial characteristics...sad.
More information and research may lead to breakthroughs in better understanding and preventing autism...so that's encouraging.
I don't understand, Major, why this would be disturbing and painful. I do, though, find it interesting.
I find the results very interesting and definitely worthy of further study. I also don't understand why parents might find the results disturbing or painful.
Some conditions have distinctive (though sometimes subtle) physical features. Two of my sons have a condition called Hereditary Multiple Osteochondromatosis. In addition to the bone tumors, people affected with the condition have short forearms, short fingers, wide, sort nailbeds, diminished stature, and larger-than-normal foreheads. That's just one example of many conditions that present with distinctive physical features. Knowing what those features are can certainly help diagnose children early, which leads to earlier intervention and hopefully more progress sooner.
If, after further research, it's determined that, like my sons' bone disease, autism does indeed have distinctive physical features, then we will be better equipped to diagnose and treat the condition. With better diagnosis and earlier treatment, its possible that we can get better research to understand it more fully. The more we know, the better the results for the kids.
I'm definitely interested in any further results they might get from this research.
(Coming back to add...) Major, I don't know if you read all the posts (because a couple teachers mentioned unique features of their children) or the article (because the facial features mentioned were not grotesque...it's not as though the pictures depict abnormal looking children), but I think you may have misinterpreted things, including our comments regarding how interesting this is. We don't see this as a freak show, but a window of opportunity for learning more about something that impacts families we love and teach.
As I stated before, yes, I do,in fact, have two children with distinctive facial features, as well as other distinctive physical characteristics, not to mention massive bone tumors that deform their skeleton. Thousands of parents of children with Down's Syndrome, William's Syndrome, Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Nooan Syndrome, Treacher-Collins Syndrome, Kabuki Syndrome, Mowat-Wilson Syndrome, Cri-du-chat Syndrome, Deletion Syndrome, and, well, the list just keeps going on and on and on, have kids with "distinctive facial features". I'm still completely baffled why this is a cause for offense.
Statistics. I think that this article might allude to a 'clue' to causation but there are all manner of problems with studies that crop up. Sample size, racial make up in both the control group and experimental sample, etc. Hopefully, the people working this study minded all their p's and q's in regards to the scientific method and that politics had no bearing on the results.
In regards to the children and parents who live with autism daily, I don't see how this study alleviates the current issues of educating children with autism and generally improving their quality of life.
Article = neat side note. Now, where are the meat and potatoes for helping the children we serve here and now? These are the things that interest me about autism.
I'm not sure that the purpose of either the article or the study was to help alleviate issues of educating children with autism, improve their quality of life, or provide resources for serving children with autism.
Instead, it seems to me that the purpose was more informational in nature. The fact is that there is much about autism that we don't know, including big issues like when, how, and why it develops in some children. If this study shows that autism causes children to develop facial differences, then it could mean that scientists are one step closer to determining when autism begins--in utero, pre-conception, post-natal, whatever. Being able to pinpoint a time when autism "sparks" is one step closer to being able to figure out how and why it sparks, and that might mean that we can work on finding a cure or prevention.
I've read the article and looked at the pictures a number of times and at no time did they come across as anything that should cause pain for parents of children with autism. The article certainly didn't give me the impression that the author was bashing kids with autism or calling them hurtful names like "retarded". The kids in the pictures look happy and like they matter. They do matter, and we owe it to them to do our best to find out the answers to all the questions that autism brings about.
I wasn't making a claim as to the purpose of the article. I was raising the question about priority. Sure, 'maybes' and 'mights' are awesome information in the right light. Still, I can't help but be skeptical. Since I spent my entire summer working with children with ASD and since I'm working very hard to maintain my job in this area, you can see where my priority lies. This article has interesting implications but doesn't help me now.
So we should ditch things that could help the future in favor of helping now?
Sorry, but there are enough smart people in the world that I think we really CAN try to do everything. There are dedicated teams of teachers and researchers working on ways to help kids now - scores of interventions and techniques hashed over and over and measured and written up and taught to new teachers everywhere. AND there are teams of geneticists and biologists and I don't even know what they'd be called who can work on understanding where it all comes from and what it might be connected to. Understanding what something is is almost always the first step in finding real solutions.
But yes, as I posted last night, articles like these can do a lot to freak out parents. I think this kind of finding needs to be critically analyzed and shared responsibly so people don't jump to the wrong conclusions. Note that nowhere in the article did it say "Kids with big foreheads have autism" or "People with Autism look weird" but I can foresee a lot of hotheads on the internet interpreting it to mean just that.
I think that finding out the whys and hows of autism needs to be a priority. How can we get in front of the ball if we're always behind it? It seems to me that in the world of education we are always reactive instead of proactive. At the high school level I see all sorts of interventions put into place after students fail their proficiencies, whereas I almost never see precursor interventions. We focus on what to do once the problem has already presented itself rather than on how to avoid the problem arising in the first place. If we (by that I obviously mean scientists and researchers) find a way to prevent autism from ever developing, we won't need to focus on creating and implementing so many strategies and interventions once we are presented with students with autism.
I'm sorry that you don't find the article helpful. Again, it's not meant as a handbook of teaching strategies, so I'm not sure that it would or should be helpful to you now. I think it's simply a snapshot of current research, presented for our benefit only as so far as it increases our awareness about what's happening now.
Oct 28, 2011
Over the past couple of years at my school, we are seeing more students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders in our classrooms. In almost every case, the students are fully integrated, with support from an aide for part of the day. For me, as an educator, I am in new waters and am keen to learn all that I can. Is this article going to change the way I do anything or the way I look at my students? Absolutely not. Is it one more interesting piece of information to think about? You betcha...
A slate article suggests that TV watching before the age of 3 may cause autism.
The only thing I'm wondering if more parents would be "looking" at their own children differently as well...
My first thought- that is an INCREDIBLY small sample size.
Oct 29, 2011
The television as a possible cause article is interesting, makes a lot of sense.
I haven't had a chance to read this article yet, but plan to today.
I was speaking from a personal frame of reference about the needs I've seen. I wasn't making any kind of broad statement about what should be done in the 'world'. I was speaking to what I do to help and science isn't it. Knowing that facial features might offer a lead to causation only helps IF they figure out what that causation is and IF there is something that can be done to lessen the probabilities. And I agree, that's a great cause, no doubt. I'm not on the science side of things. I'm on the front line where individual children and adults have needs. I didn't intend to start a debate about which was more important overall. I was making a statement about which is more important to me and what help I can offer.
Oct 30, 2011
Honestly, I wish there was something physically distinct that would help diagnose children and perhaps convince parents.
There is a child in my classroom this year that shows all the signs of autism in his interactions with other children, myself and his behavior.
However, I know Mom is going to fight tooth and nail that there is nothing wrong with her baby -- that it's all Ms. Em who is just a mean, horrible teacher.
If there were physical signs in additional to behavioral and emotional, then maybe Mom would be more convinced.
I know on the flipside that if there ARE physical signs, it will make life harder for parents who want their kids to be "normal" to to fit in without people being able to look at them and tell they have some form of autism the way you can tell which children have Down Syndrome.
Just my opinion: the kids that they said had these distinct physical features in the pictures looked pretty normal to me. I think that most people out in the world would not even notice, because most people aren't out there dealing with autism day in and day out (by which I mean, most people don't have autistic kids or work with autistic people).
Basically, I really don't think you would just start looking at people and saying "they are autistic" unless you are someone who sees it all the time.
I found a few things interesting.
These differences were measured by computer. They weren't glaring differences in facial features as you may see in other disabilities.
They made a note that there were even differences between those with milder Autistic difficulties than those with more severe Autistic difficulties. I can see this being beneficial for those with people on the spectrum with milder forms of the disability that can be written off by even educators.
People tend to accept disabilities more when it is a physical disability. They don't accuse the person with no hands of not wanting or choosing to not pick up a pencil the way others do, yet for those with invisible disabilities the character of the person is often assaulted in direct and indirect ways. Since autism is a series of behaviors and difficulties with no proven "physical" test that can identify it (like ADHD), this may be the first step in at least "proving" it is real.
That's true and the features really aren't that distinct -- I honestly didn't see anything that looks "off" about the children.
But, there are always those parents that want to scream discrimination about EVERYTHING a school does to try and take attention off the real issue (we have a child who is homeless and has SEVERE behavioral issues. so when we would not allow her to participate on our field trip because she is a flight risk, Mom rose all kinds of heck saying we just didn't want her to go because she's homeless.)
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