Monday, April 18, 2011

On the Spectrum: Not Otherwise Specified

Angus building a stick bomb

At the recent parent teacher conference, the teacher gave us the paperwork required to get our son some educational accommodations "further down the line." We know he will probably need it. But it isn't that easy to get him what he needs. 

Nowhere on the list of diagnostic criteria is "palilalia*" or the even less common "learned to communicate by memorizing the Steve Jobes speeches and then rehearsing them with gestures in front of a mirror." Nowhere does it say "decompresses and processes the day's information while bouncing a ball and chanting for two or three hours each evening."

Thing is, his teachers know there is something up with him. 

They gave him a weighted blanket to help him remember to sit at his desk. They agreed that he could take breaks from class to walk up and down the stairs when he needed to reboot. They coped with his intense love of overhead projectors. They let him eat lunch in the closet for the first few months so he could avoid the horrifying smells and sounds of the lunch room, then they gradually helped him acclimate himself to that environment. None of that appears on the form either.

This week I'm going to introduce you to someone who is NOS: Not Otherwise Specified. 

Later this week, Jacqueline Houtman, author of The Reinvention of Edison Thomas will visit, I hope, to share something about Eddy. I'm going to give away a copy of her book on April 30th. The rules for the giveaway are simple: anyone who expresses interest by commenting on NOS blog posts will be entered in the drawing. 

palilalia - a pathological condition in which a word is rapidly and involuntarily repeated.

Even more exciting, Jacqueline is conducting a twitter experiment (she's sciency that way) with a classroom set of her books as motivation. Visit her at Sciency Fiction for details.

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