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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 6:52 pm 
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President's Circle
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https://www.vianolavie.org/2018/05/18/a ... severance/

So, what does having a degree from Tulane university do for me? It says that despite having autism, I can be like anyone else. Furthermore, I am validated as a writer by one of the most prestigious universities in the country. That removes the doubts of naysayers who have questioned whether a person afflicted with autism can really do the work.


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 7:59 pm 
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Location: Kingsport, Tennessee
My son will graduate from High School on Saturday. He will have a regular (as opposed to a special ed) diploma. He will be taking classes in the fall at the local community college. He is on the autism spectrum.

We have repeatedly had times when his capabilities have been greatly underestimated. He had a school psychologist hurriedly put him through an "IQ test" at age 4 in suboptimal conditions, and tell us that his was under 70 (later tests under better conditions show it at just under 100). A preschool teacher told us that while he could voice words on the page, he did not comprehend what he was reading at 5 (an observant speech therapist showed he understood what he was reading with one quick test).

He was placed in a special needs class in Kindergarten; the very observant teacher saw in 2 weeks that he needed to be mainstreamed, and he was moved full time within 3 months into a regular class with an aide.

Before middle school we wanted him to try out for band; the band director felt he would fail because of the cacophony in the class, and that he had never had an autistic child in band. 5 years later that teacher is an ardent advocate for including special needs students in every aspect of school, and my son was one of the better trumpet players in the marching band.

As a freshman he was excluded from marching band because the directors did not know how to incorporate a somewhat clumsy autistic trumpet player in their formations; he excelled the next six years when both he and the directors were pushed to try to incorporate him.

My son has disabilities; we work hard to overcome these every day (just writing this is making me choke up in anticipation of what Saturday morning will be like). However, the only handicaps he has, are those barriers imposed upon him by other people. His behavior sometimes makes some people uncomfortable, mostly because they don't understand that it is simply a part of his autism. The strange looks given him (even by members of his own family) would be considered prejudice if they were directed by someone with a visible disability or different skin color.

I think that the barriers the author of this article has had to overcome are incredible. The fact that he has succeeded at Tulane makes his success even greater. I pity those who did not give him a chance, who saw nothing wrong with shunning him (particularly those who would otherwise feel enlightened because of their support for "diversity.").

I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors. He has overcome so much, including ignorance of so many people. May he succeed in anything he does.

OK, time to climb off my soapbox.

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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 8:24 pm 
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Location: Philadelphia, PA & Berlin, MD
Thank you, AO. Your Saturday will be like no other.

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