Rethinking Restraints: They’re Not Just for Special Needs Children Like Mine

I know I should have been shocked by the video of the student being thrown to the floor in a classroom in South Carolina. But I wasn’t. As the mother of a child with autism, I know all about the use of restraints and seclusion. The problem is that parents with typically functioning children don’t. You’ve thought that something like this could never happen to their child.

Well, think again.

Did you know that this situation is happening every day in schools around the country? Continue reading Rethinking Restraints: They’re Not Just for Special Needs Children Like Mine

Video: The Autism Experience (version 2)

This is the second video we created to help educate those of us who are neuro-typical to understand what autism can be like. We believe it is important to “taste” what the children deal with in order to help them cope.
Continue reading Video: The Autism Experience (version 2)

Our Parent Organization

A Special Space, Inc. is a non-profit organization.

We are are the parent organization of “The Autism Experience,” an educational service dedicated to teaching others what it is like to have autism, to foster compassion, and to promote understanding. We have presented at school districts, police precincts, and conferences.

A Special Space is based out of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

Bonnie Appointed to Autism NOW National Advisory Committee

On October 1st, Bonnie became one of 14 members of the Autism NOW National Advisory Committee.

All Autism NOW Center initiatives and activities are guided by its National Advisory Committee. Committee members include people who identify as having an autism spectrum disorder and/or an intellectual or developmental disability; family members to people who identify himself or herself as being on the autism spectrum or having an intellectual or developmental disability; and professionals in the disability fields.
Continue reading Bonnie Appointed to Autism NOW National Advisory Committee

Cameras in the Classrooms

Advocacy isn’t the main purpose of A Special Space. Education for both NTs and those with ASDs is our focus. But after reading one too many stories today about bullying and abuse of special needs children by teachers, advocacy and education have combined.

It’s time to educate my state and the nation about the importance of giving a voice to those who have none. It’s time to advocate for cameras in the classrooms.
Continue reading Cameras in the Classrooms

The Special Needs of Special Needs Parents

Yesterday I was told by my employer that, upon learning that A Special Space Center was becoming a reality, they will terminate my employment on the day the center opens.

So at this time, it appears that my job will end on August 22nd.

This was a very personal and poignant reminder of why I started A Special Space.

Parents of special needs children have a very hard time holding a full-time job. Employers are not aware of and often not interested in the special challenges present in the lives of families with special children.
Continue reading The Special Needs of Special Needs Parents

Video: The Autism Experience (version 1)

We take normalcy for granted. Millions of bits of data and sensory input surround us every minute; yet, we instinctively know how to filter and focus without thinking about it, much like we do not think to make hearts beat or eyes blink.

People born with Autism do not process their surroundings as most do; it is physically (mechanically, chemically) impossible for them to do so. Over time, adults have learned how deal with the overwhelming episodes, but have historically had to do so on their own. To help children who happen to have autism, we need to understand what they experience. Understanding breeds compassion.
Continue reading Video: The Autism Experience (version 1)

10 Things Parents of a Child with Autism Wish Teachers Knew

1. I’m sorry.
I will be saying this to many of you many times over the next 10 years… probably weekly. And I really am.

  • I’m sorry because I’m the reason he’s in your class. I fought for him to be mainstreamed because all of the doctor’s and specialists told me that being in a least restrictive environment among peer models would be best for his development.
  • I’m sorry because I know that you aren’t trained for this.
  • I’m sorry because I know you’ll have 25 kids in your class, all with different abilities, and you’re going to have pay special attention to my son.
  • I’m sorry for every day he acts out or hurts another child or melts down in your classroom.
  • I’m sorry because I don’t have all the answers.

Continue reading 10 Things Parents of a Child with Autism Wish Teachers Knew