Tuesday, June 16, 2009

FC and the Importance of Meaningful Lessons

Older journal entry

I am undertaking a large task to write. Telling a life takes time. I think my life is not so interesting with lots of sameness in it regarding treatment, lots of sameness regarding failure, always failure. Mom knows better about the teaching part of it. Let me speak to the experience of it.

To engage in facilitated communication (FC) involves at start a shared body and sometimes too, a shared mind. I started with Mary Lapos who opens her heart and soul. She offers all of herself for use, her mind too. Through her, connections I couldn’t find internally, were found externally in her. Never have I felt so free of thought as with her. Every attempt I have made at communication in writing comes because of that first experience of freedom to think freely with her. I want to dedicate my words to her and Bill for showing me the possibilities. Mom trained me to type independently, but Mary showed me the way.

FC is about sharing thoughts, bodies and relationships. I do not type with people I don’t relate to or those that guard their bodies or their thoughts. I do not type with those who are about self motivations either. They attribute their thoughts to me. That happened to me in school. It is a horrible experience. To write an irrational thought because someone makes you is to die all over again in a different way. They take over as you fade away. That is the danger of FC. It is no different than ABA. FC risks puppets too.

Justice requires an all the time goal of typing independently. Lives require it beyond communication. I think many of us don’t type independently because we believe we can’t. I am proof we can achieve more than hiding in ourselves. The body and brain are not as is forever. We grow, develop, and change too. For those who share my issues the greatest roadblock is our not believing in our own intelligence because of our nonperformance.

Our nonperformance is equally a reflection of the teacher. To recognize the student’s issues, but ignore the teaching implications - who is the non-intelligent one? Lessons learned are best when we understand correctly what is being taught. How many times have I tried to learn only to find my teachers and I were looking at different things. To learn and learn wrong is worse than not learning at all, especially when learning requires so much effort on our part to begin with.

To type alone requires tremendous effort too, but I know what and why I do it. Lessons with meaning are all important. Not meaning as in gaining a purposeful skill, but meaning as in I understand the question I am being asked. So much of your programming fails in that. If I get it wrong, it is you who have failed, not I. It means I see a different question. To say “put with same” - is it the object,or the color or the shape you are referring to? What is the skill we learn through matching? As a blind person, would you still insist I learn this way?
Teaching is about more than forced methodology. You can teach me as I learn, then teach me how to learn with what I know, but you can’t do both at once. Teaching requires learning each child’s way. You don’t want to hear that. It flies in the face of mass therapy, but is also insures you continue to see us as individuals not lab rats.

Some lessons bear repeating until the lesson is learned. This is one of them.

1 comment:

  1. Mike,
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I have recently started a blog myself, in hopes that people can learn a lesson or two from my life. I am a retired special ed teacher, facilitator, and grandma. All these roles have taught me so much, but most of what I have learned about autism has come from the awesome people in my life who are on the spectrum - people like you who have found their voices. Now, if the rest of us will just listen.
    Thanks again!