Saturday, August 13, 2011

Autism...and Everyone Else

I've been thinking about learning styles for a very long time. Actually this issue is what lead me to Montessori education. As a Montessori educator we are constantly observing each child in order to discover how they learn best, and what it is that they are called to learn. Each one of us has special abilities and interests, and in order to serve each developing human to an optimum level, education must address this fact. I recently watched the film "Temple Grandin."  It is a transcendent and triumphant film that I think everyone should see. Families should watch this together, so that children can be reminded that no one person can do everything, but each of us is good at something. Everyone has their own learning style! Good Montessori schools teach this principle and model this idea every day. Hopefully, one fine day, Montessori education will be free for all children! Help to promote Montessori-visit, learn, volunteer, share...

But in the meantime...the increase in special needs individuals is staggering. I've been witness to the changes in children and families over my thirty years in the classroom. "ADHD" - "Behavioral Opposition Disorder" and Autism (and Asperger's) are on the rise. You could call this an epidemic: 1 in 110 children are now diagnosed with Autism.

On a positive note--there are many, many people out there who do more than their part to help solve the puzzle of Autism. Which brings me to a couple of sisters whom I've had the good fortune of knowing through Etsy: Betty and Rose Refour. Betty produces and sells art online to benefit a number of good causes, including cancer and Autism.

 Rose, who is Betty's autistic sister, also has an artist's site on Etsy. 

Here is a more complete story about Rose and Betty written by Lois of Foxy Knits.

I am going to continue to bug all  of my friends and family to buy handmade goods. You can bring the joy back to gift-giving by selecting items because they are handmade and the money goes to an artisan instead of a corporation, and better still you can choose items that actually help with important research that will benefit another human.

More about autism from Temple Grandin, PhD.


Betty Refour said...

thanks so much for this wonderful surprise!

foxygknits said...

So glad you highlighted Rose and Betty; they are both unique and marvelous individuals. Great article!