Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Inclusion... this is not

Trigger Warning: Ableism

Heard about the backlash that Albert Einstein High School is facing for a letter the principal sent? It was actually so bad that he was ordered to take it down from the website. But the offense that I'm hearing about in the video I just linked? Not about the problems I really have with it. Kerima of The Autism Wars says about it:
A Montgomery County High School principal shows his ableism and hate of Autistic students by admitting in writing to parents that the special needs students attending his school this fall that are supposed to be in an inclusive program will be "safely segregated from their children in locked classrooms". He has since been ordered to take the notice off the schools website, but who would like to join me in emailing this sorry excuse for a human being and telling him he has just admitted to illegally restricting the special needs students school environment and committed IEP fraud as well? ...
 And the principal? "... and I do heartily apologize, if, in fact, they interpreted it that way." Yes, this is a classic nonpology, blaming it on how people interpreted his words literally, I suppose? Which is kind of what you're supposed to do? The text of the letter he was forced to take down did say they would be essentially self-contained, so he can't be calling it inclusion. Same building isn't inclusion, time spent with abled peers is.
He also wrote a letter "apologizing," which is also a nonpology. You can read it here.
You can also read the original letter that was removed from the website here, along with a superintendent response.
Now, here's some stuff that's wrong with the initial letter:
  • Self-contained except for gym, which is a class exclusive to Extensions students is still basically self-contained, they're never actually in a classroom or lunchroom with abled peers. Ever. Talk about failing at "least restrictive environment."
  • They talk about how the students not in the program will be safe from students in the program, but nothing about how they're going to keep Extensions students safe from the mainstream students. Guess which way the risk actually goes? Yeah, the disabled students are disproportionately victims of violence and bullying, this is pretty backwards here.
  • "Concerns" is, as usual, code for "We're scared of people with disabilities." Aggression, yes, it's a thing, but not everyone is the program because of aggression, and the way IEPs are done, the "hits you on the way out the door if you try to stand in the way" often still counts as aggression because letting an overloaded kid out is apparently not a thing. (Shockingly enough, in such cases, adding "if the kid wants to leave due to overload, they can" and following it makes this sort of aggression "magically" vanish, when the actual change was some autonomy, which isn't a standard behavioral intervention.) Sometimes there actually is an aggression issue, but that doesn't mean wholesale self-containing the entire program is warranted (it's not) or legal (also not.) 
And the "everyone is offended" response is missing the whole part about violating laws about the rights of students with disabilities, including autistic students. The "least restrictive environment" line is a big one. If locked classrooms is a thing that actually happens, fire codes may well be another thing. You can require a key to get into a room, but making a room lock from the outside is a fire safety issue, cars and jails are pretty much the only things where you can do it and cars are because they can go 60+ miles an hour and opening a door moving that fast is a really bad idea. It also takes a special setting to do that on a car and not all doors can do that. A classroom? Not OK. What if something happens to the teacher? It's similar to the reasons that locking a kid in a room isn't OK just in general.
We're not just talking about offense, here. We're talking about people breaking the law and needing to be called on it, and not even getting that that's the problem. They think it's offense, too.

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