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Joined: 26 Feb 2018
Age: 25
Gender: Male
Posts: 17
Location: Pennsylvania

07 Mar 2018, 2:02 am

First off, a little about myself. I spent several months diagnosing myself. I therefore know very much about autism symptoms but basically nothing about the insides of special education except what I am learning in my major since I am going to college to become a special ed. teacher.
(Not that I like using functioning labels, but given I have ambitions of becoming a special education teacher, I think you can imagine what my symptoms look like.)
After talking with a few autistic friends I have, I have come to realize that they really weren’t happy with the special education they received.
Despite many of my peers going to soon be teaching autistic students, we do not learn much about autism, and what we do learn is straight from the textbook and supports non-autistic perspectives. ( “You’ll be million-trillionaire if you find the cure for autism.” type things.)
I am organizing an event basically to expose the autistic community to future special ed. teachers. Autism is of course very complex, and so even with the panel of autistics from my university I’m putting together, the spectrum still won’t be well-represented.
I feel this website itself represents a specific sub-population of ASD and I’m not sure if by reading posts on this site I’m getting a full representation of the entire spectrum. If you know others outside of this site’s population, I encourage you to represent them here if you can.
I am not expecting everyone to have bad things to say about their special education experiences or opinions that agree with mine. I hope somehow enough of you can say what you have been through or what you have seen family or friends go through that I gain a fuller perspective of what is good about special education and of course what needs to change. (Please emphasize things individual teachers can change, because I know the whole system is messed up.)
I have provided a lot of sample questions only to give you a place to start if you need. Please discuss whatever is on your mind. I will be glad even if you ignore my questions.

Sample Questions (only examples):
Describe your overall perspective of autism.
What are your individual symptoms? (especially those besides the core 3)
How does it affect you?
Would you describe as high-functioning, low-functioning, or do you hate these terms?
“Autistic” or “Person-with-Autism” or doesn’t matter?
How did autism affect your education or the way you learned?
What did teachers do for you happiness or well-being?
Do you feel your teachers considered your opinion in your planning? Should they have more/less?
How does it affect how teachers perceive you?
How does it affect how students perceive you?
What did teachers do to help you that worked well?
Do you believe in ‘curing’ autism, as a whole or on any level?
Are you aware of any good resources for understanding autism? (books, etc.)
What could teachers have done better to help you?
What are your opinions of behavior management plans? What would have motivated you? Did you like rewards or were you bothered by punishments?
Do you feel children should be medicated?
How did you receive funding? What benefits did your family receive?
To what extent should you try to teach language to a nonverbal student?
How persistent should you be if a student is not meeting their goal? How long should you try?
What should a teacher do with a neurotypical student? A NT student who may be on the spectrum?
What kinds of IEP goals should be set for nonverbal autistics?
What should others do to help autistics within or out of the school?
When, if ever, did you receive your diagnosis? What is your diagnosis? How did it make you feel?
Did you feel your reg. ed. teachers or your special ed. teachers knew enough about autism?
Did your teachers know how to teach you? How are you taught best?
Were you ever diagnosed with autism, but unaware of what it meant? How conscious were you of your autism, and what did it mean to you?
How should we handle meltdowns or shutdowns? How should we tell the difference between a tantrum and a shutdown?
Were any of your friends autistic, and what do you think their perspective would be?
Did you ever receive special education?
Autistic services?
What did the spec. Ed. teacher do well/ bad?
Did you feel you benefited from it? Did you get appropriate goals?
How did you feel being in special education?
I am afraid to put words in your mouths, but I have heard people say that they were ‘babied’ in special education. Do you agree?
What else should regular ed. or spec.ed teachers know?
What else should anyone know?