Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Where There's a Will, There's a College

Joining the ranks of college graduates this past June was Erik Weber. With the vision, determination, and support of his mother, Sandy, Erik made a way for himself at Grossmont College in San Diego. In his own pace and with some accommodations, he did it! Worth celebrating ! And repeating! Read all about it here.

His success story strikes a familiar chord in three aspects I notice consistently: 1. his mother's never-say-never, find-a-way attitude; 2. Erik's acceptance of gradual and steady progress; and 3. their capitalizing on his special interests.

In a related post, Bev at Asperger Square 8 points to an article by a caring and perceptive college professor about his experience with a student named Fred. Quickly, Stephen Yoder comes to realize that Fred must have Aspergers. It is another great success story, albeit fragile. At the end of the piece he offers a list of lessons learned about Fred and another list about the teacher, including this:

If the incidence of autism is indeed rising, all college teachers might need to learn to make adjustments for these students, who undoubtedly will seek higher education.

How true! Who do you think learned more that semester, Fred or Mr. Yoder?

I have often said that Reid is a great teacher, meaning that he is such a demanding, complicated, (yet undeniably smart) kid that anyone in the position of teaching him learns more from him than they could in any degree program, continuing ed seminar, or years of experience. All rolled into one irresistible ball of fire, he can teach anyone willing to learn the importance of being honest, following through, doing what you say, maintaining instructional control, attention to detail, organizing classroom materials, planning ahead, being flexible, differential reinforcement, you name it.

One of our early, home-program therapists recognized how much Reid had taught her. Wanting to accelerate the learning curve of her new recruits, she donated session time to us so that Reid could develop and break-in her employees. "Iron sharpens iron"(as the Bible says in Proverbs 27:17) and she counted on Reid's mettle to sharpen the skills of her staff. We took her up on the offer!

The teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. Ecclesiastes 12:9-11

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32:7-9

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:18-20

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