Elizabeth’s Class Summary! November 18th, 2021

Our class started off when Dr Foss walked in with a new haircut which everyone immediately noticed and complimented him on.
Although after Foss walked in he sadly decided to give the class a quiz. One of the questions was phrased very oddly that it needed to be repeated a couple times. Luckily at the end of the day we got through the quiz and turned them in.
Dr Foss further informed the class that despite Thanksgiving happening next week, we still have class next Tuesday. As well as if any students are not attending next class period to inform Dr Foss through an email, so that way he has the projects in order of what to grade.
As the class moved on from the quiz, we moved into discussing the things we read for class. The first topic we talked about as a class was, “Don’t Mourn for Us”. Miranda started the class discussion by voicing how the reading of, “Don’t Mourn for Us” said that people with autism are not defective but normally compared the autistic children to aliens of this world, who landed here by accident. This comparison is set up for insinuating that autistic children cannot be loved the same as a “normal” child.
Dr Foss commented back saying how not everything withstands the trials of time. Comparing autistic children to a computer or being an alien to our world is not okay anymore. Although this is something that was done for a while and is still done by many people.
The class went on to discuss how the stereotype of autism isn’t thinking of someone you know. People don’t hear about autism and usually think about their kid, their spouse, their sibling. People usually think about someone outside of them and outside of who they know.
Jacob added to the conversation by bringing up how when the mention of autism comes up in a movie or song it’s always sad. Even though the child has had autism the whole time parents imagine and think about the fact that their “perfect” child is gone.
Moving back to everyone as a class we talked about how getting diagnosed with autism is something that is seen as traumatic or sad. When anyone announces the news it is always seen as sad. We as a society need to get away from mourning and get to an understanding of difference.
After this Megan added how people who are different somehow automatically don’t have the same humanity. Having someone in your family who is autisic can make it difficult to understand them.
The class moved onto a discussion of the quote, “I wish my child had been born without autism” really means, “I wish I had a different child”.
We then moved into a discussion about Ava. How most students in the class didn’t think about how the way most people see the therapy is pessimistic. How trying to “fix” stimming and how they act are like forms of torture. Ava therapy is seen as “correcting incorrect behavior”. Which can be and is degrading. There weren’t and still aren’t enough studies done to prove that Ava therapy actually works. Ava therapy usually involved shocks. Many people who went through Ava therapy described it as a form of torture.
The class also discussed how most therapies to help with autism are not covered by insurance.
We moved on to talking about how parents handle autism. Some of the parents can’t handle their child having autism, some couples even break up. Also how parents need to start realizing that they need to stop mopping and feeling sorry for themselves. They need to see autism as a good thing, and how it can be a prospect for something amazing. They get to learn new ways to love, communicate, and interacting with their child.
I added to the conversation how I enjoyed that the paper we read talked about the fact it’s okay to mourn the “normal” child, but then try and move on and start loving the child that the parents have.
The class then moved into a small group discussion about “Dueling Narratives”. In our small group we discussed the general idea we’ve gone over a lot in this class of “Nothing about us without us”. Our group discussed how it is interesting how to learn about the idea that you cannot take autism away from an individual because that is who they are. Going off of this idea our group went into the idea of autism can’t and does not steal your child. They are born with it. Just because a person didn’t know the child had autism doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. We ended our discussion with talking about how not every child with autism can be categorized into one group. They are all individuals and one person’s experience isn’t everyone’s experience.
Our class came back together out of small groups and started a big group discussion about “Communicate with me” by DJ (DEEJ). We started off by watching a video about him going to college and experiences. After watching the video we moved from the video to discussing what we read about DJ. I discussed how I liked how he communicated how he would like people to communicate with him and I think it would be very helpful to have any person with autism in a class to quickly debrief the class on how to communicate with them because I think that would improve how people view autistic people and help them to making more friends. Jamie joined in with discussing how people shouldn’t start talking when DJ is typing because that is interrupting him. And how people shouldn’t talk to his assistant and to talk to him directly and give him time to respond. That is how you respect and talk to him. The stereotype of autistic people is they can’t speak and that they aren’t there intellectually. Megan joined back in saying how she liked the part about DJ saying, “if you don’t know me just start talking to me” liking that autistic people just want you to try and get to know them so you and them can move forward. There are many ways to inform yourself about autism but the best way is to talk to them. Miranda joined into the discussion by talking about how just asking autistic people basic questions can help so both parties can form a deeper connection. Going back to a group discussion we talked about how when DJ learned how to type, he needed his mom’s help to help him type better and be stable. Over time DJ needed his mom less and less to help him type. At a certain point he only needed his mom in the room. DJ said how just because autistic people have a facilitator it doesn’t mean they cannot communicate with you themselves.
The class moved on to watching another video called “In my Language”. This video tied into our small group discussion about “Up in the Clouds and Down in the Valley: my richness and yours” by Baggs. Miranda commented how the world was built as not needing wheelchairs and it’s hard to get around. This was linked to how there’s yet another group of minorities dealing with injustice.
The conversation shifted onto how autism is this valley and it’s dry and desolate, colorless. Yet, autism is the opposite, it’s colorful and amazing.
The class nicely ended on an AMAZING duck joke.

Why did the duck cross the road?
It was following the chicken!

I hereby declare upon my word of honor that I have neither given nor received unauthorized help on this work.

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