Just in case you didn’t notice, it’s 2010. The first decade of the new millennium is over. After Mike’s recent post, Autism Personality of the Year, I kept thinking about who I would consider stand-out in the autism communities. Yes it is rather presumptuous for me as a non autistic parent whose child wasn’t even born at the turn of the millennium. As you can see, I’m not letting that stop me.
Time Magazine set a good standard with their “Person of the Year” category. “Person of the year” isn’t necessarily an honor, or a statement that the person was a force for good. That opens up a lot of possibilities when considering the past decade, and given that you can probably guess at a number of the people I considered.
A lot of money has been pumped into autism research in the last decade. There are a lot of excellent research teams. There has been a lot of excellent work done, but to my recollection nothing stands out as truly breakthrough. I am quite open to being corrected on that opinion, though.
When I ask myself, who really has made a difference in the quality of life for my autistic kid, it isn’t the researchers, the advocacy groups or the “personalities” in the autism community that I can point to. What has made a difference are the efforts of a group of therapists and teachers who have devoted themselves to low pay and hard work.
Unfortunately, all is far from perfect in special education and it is the bad stories that make the news. Stories about abuse, seclusion and restraint, bullying and the like are the stories that get discussed on blogs like this one. Add to that school administrations that are underfunded to the point of sometimes making some very bad decisions. But those stories reinforce the fact that good placements and good teachers are worth their weight in gold.
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<a href="http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=3970">Autism people of the decade: special educators</a>