Help for Indiana Schools: Autism Resources

It’s frustrating as a parent of children with autism to know there are excellent resources out there but that Indiana schools fail to access them.

In too many public schools, autism is an annoyance, especially at the secondary level. This is partly due to not addressing the needs of students with autism at the elementary level.

If students are reached very early with evidence-based interventions, many of the issues for students who respond to therapy, phase out by the time they are in secondary school. There are certain things a student must be able to do in order to be successful at the secondary level, and one of them is the  ability to handle anxiety. Others include being able to attend to a task, take directions that they may not want to comply with, and be able to respond to conflict in socially acceptable ways.

Notice that most of these issues aren’t academic. They are social and emotional. Still, if a child with autism is to be guaranteed access to a free and appropriate education, they aren’t able to access it if they can’t get past the social and emotional piece. Yet, during IEP meetings, schools argue that these  are non-academic issues and schools are not required to address them.

What I’ve experienced in Indiana is a lack of genuine compassion and interest in helping students with autism succeed. I’ve also experienced a shameful scarcity of school attention towards helping students struggling above the precarious precipice of diploma track vs. certificate of completion. (I heard a rumor that “no diploma for people with low I.Q.s, etc.,” could be changing for Indiana but I’m not holding my breath.) Too often I’ve been told or have overheard teachers and paraprofessionals say, “don’t bother wasting your time helping that one, they’re taking them off diploma track anyway.”

Special Education teachers burn out because of lack of administrative support. They are given over-sized case loads that result in students falling through academic cracks. They’re not provided with materials, resources, or training for meeting the students’ needs. The mantra is to do the bare minimum of intervention so that schools can legally pocket the rest of the special education monies. Students in dire need of 1:1 aides are not provided them. Instead, one “instructional assistant” or “para-professional” is given to classrooms, and only maybe 1 or 2 per grade if that. No one student is given enough attention and support. Sometimes, high school students still need 1:1 support. Need is the operative word, and is the word that schools interpret any way they wish.

And where is the accountability for special education dollars? Why is our local area program bankrupt? The money wasn’t spent on my twins with autism, I can tell you that. (They are 22 now.) Was the money (millions) spent on teacher training in my school system? No. Was the money spent on 1:1 paraprofessionals for students with autism in my school system? No. Was it spent on administrative conferences and trips? Yes. Why are we not allowed to see how the money is spent?

Special Education teachers are under strict orders not to offer any services outside of the bare minimum. And because teachers want to keep their jobs, they do what they’re told. If you want services, you, the parent, have to bring them to the table. Remember, the school is not obligated in any way to go above and beyond anything but minimum. This is how they interpret and practice “free and appropriate.” Period.

Not all schools are turning their backs on autism. I hope to find these schools and highlight what they’re doing right. (If you know of one, please let me know in the comments below.) But far too many are doing it wrong. Far too many simply don’t care. What’s more important to many schools is keeping ISTEP scores high so they can attract high-scoring students to their schools via the voucher program.

If your student doesn’t make the administration look good, you don’t matter. You’re an inconvenient annoyance. The school hopes parents will pull the student out of school by the end of the year. If the student has already attended X number of days, they get to count the student for the full year and get to pocket the special education monies without spending a dime on support.

Parents are ill-informed of their recourse options. Even though the state law requires that parents be given the “Procedural Safeguards” brochure at the IEP meetings, few parents have the energy to read and digest it. Most of their energy is poured into getting their student through one more day, working their own jobs, and dealing with their other children. This brochure usually isn’t explained by anyone in the IEP meeting. And parents with low-functioning abilities are too embarrassed to have anyone explain it to them.

Here are some resources every parent with a child with disabilities living in Indiana should use:

Indiana Resource Center for Autism. This organization provides incredible training for teachers working with students with autism. Why aren’t all the schools in Indiana accessing this? Is it time to ask our legislators to  mandate this training for our Special Education teachers? There are also great resources for parents, including a Lending Library and a few helpful videos:

 

Another excellent help for parents when working with public schools is In*Source.  If you’re not getting what you believe your child needs in school, and every IEP meeting is a war zone, this organization can help you. They provide trained support advocates to go with you into the IEP meeting and help you navigate the laws to get your child’s needs met. I am a trained In*Source advocate, but now that I’m a teacher, am unable to be part of this service. These advocates are volunteers, and are passionate about helping kids with disabilities get what they need in public school. Don’t hesitate to contact them for help.

Other (Sort of) Helpful Autism Resources in Indiana:

Autism Society of Indiana

Autism Speaks

The reason I call these “sort of” resources is that they do provide information and fund-raising types of things, but not much practical hands-on help for families living in the trenches. However, I’m not belittling what they do. My focus for this post is for helping parents get what they need for their child at public school.

I love helping parents find answers. What questions do you have about autism, disabilities or accessing public school services? Leave your questions and comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!  Do you know of a school that does autism intervention right? Please tell me so I can feature them on my blog!

My newest book is available now for pre-order at the following locations. I am so excited and the twins can’t wait to meet you! Our Book Talk will be August 3rd at Manchester Public Library. I will post more information as the date draws near!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Indie Bound

Powell’s

“Help for Indiana Schools: Autism Resources” first appeared on Karla Akins’ blog at KarlaAkins.com

Interview with Debut Author and Cancer Survivor, Barbara Britton!

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When I met Barbara M. Britton online, I had no idea I’d met such an amazing Strong Girl. But as my recent interview with her on YouTube progressed, and she revealed her journey with and triumph over cancer, I was in complete and total awe of her courage and tenacity.

She’s also a pastor’s wife and a Pelican Book Group author. How is that for kindred-spirit-sisterhood?

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As my regular readers know, I, too, am a pastor’s wife and my first book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots was published by Pelican!

I know  you’re going to be inspired by Barbara’s story. Scroll down to the video, grab a cuppa and kick back and enjoy!

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Autism: Not Different Enough

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When I read Gloria Doty’s book about her daughter with autism, I felt a great kinship with her. As you know, my twin adult sons also have a diagnosis of autism. As we venture into adulthood with them, I found this book an absolute comfort. It helped me realize that I’m not the only one experiencing all these new adventures in many of the same ways.

If you know someone with a child with autism, I hope you’ll share this interview with them. It’s such an important one, and helps parents understand the importance of getting guardianship for their adult child with autism.

This is a beautiful book, and I enjoyed reading it. It reads fast, and it feels like you’re sitting with Gloria and having a chat. I loved it so much I had to do an interview. What follows is the delightful time I had with Gloria discussing this gem of a book.

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Love and Cowboys: An Interview with Author Gloria Doty

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Gloria Doty, Author

If you’re into cowboys and romance, you’re going to love Gloria Doty and her new romance novels! What’s not to like about a title and cover like this? Bring a cowboy home? Don’t mind if I do…

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I fell in love with the book as soon as I saw it. And I pretty much fell in love with Gloria that way, too. She is a jewel. A people person and mother of a live-in adult daughter with autism, Gloria is a fascinating human being. She has a magnetic personality and we clicked immediately. Besides being an all-around great gal, her grit and work ethic are traits I highly admire.

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Her newest book is a winner, too:

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Below is an interview I did with Gloria. What a lovely woman and what a great author! You’re going to love her and her books!

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Interview with author Amy Clipston

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You are going to love this interview with best-selling author of Amish fiction, Amy Clipston!

I fell in love with Amy’s work after reading her non-fiction biography, The Gift of Love about her husband’s journey with kidney disease. I loved that book, and you can read about it and view an interview about it here.

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She has several new Amish books out. I don’t know how she does it, but she keeps churning them out!

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Released 8/16/16

Amy’s Amish series include the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series and the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel Series. Her books have achieved the Christian Fiction bestseller lists, including the CBA (Christian Book Association) bestseller list and the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) bestseller list.

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Released 11/29/16

Get your cuppa ready and settle in for a fascinating interview with Amy!

(Leave a comment below and you will be entered in a drawing for a book from Amy! She’s giving away three of them! Yay!)

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Tweet this: How does she work full-time and churn out books?

Rocky Mountain Prophecy Conference Recap

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I was blessed to have the privilege of attending the Rocky Mountain International Prophecy Conference July 15-17. And just as expected, I was blown away by all I learned. In fact, I actually ordered the DVDs to the entire conference before I left because my brain can only contain so much information at one time. And when I learn something, I like to learn it well enough to be able to teach it. I want to be able to explain things to other people and be ready in season and out.

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Besides learning, I had the best time meeting people I admire and have admired for a very long time.

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I can hardly believe I got to meet Tim Mahoney, creator and researcher of Exodus: Patterns of Evidence!

My excuse for spending so much money to go was that I was doing research for some book concepts I’m working on. This is true, of course. But I really just wanted to meet these fascinating people and experience their ministries in person.

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Derek and Sharon Gilbert of SkywatchTV. Love these two SO MUCH!

And when God made a way for me to talk to Gary Stearman, founder of Prophecy Watchers, I almost did a jig.

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Gary Stearman of Prophecy Watchers!

There’s always so much to learn and they are promising that next year’s conference will be twice as big and even better with even more speakers. However will my brain contain it all?

Here’s a video recap of this wonderful experience:

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Please tweet: Prophecy Conference recap: it’s time to wake up!

What’s on your writing desk, Mary Sayler?

Karla:  Today we’re visiting Mary Sayler at her writing desk! Mary also shares details about her routine. Take it away, Mary!

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Mary: I’m at my desk every morning, writing and posting Praise Poems or blogging on various aspects of words and The Word for The Word Center blog. Since I’ve been a full-time freelance and assignment writer for Christian and educational publishers for most of my adult life, I usually have a project in progress. Otherwise, I’m researching for my Bible study class, or I’m reading a new edition of the Bible I’ve been sent to review on the Bible Reviewer blog, or I’m revising my poems, or I’m critiquing someone else’s poems for a small fee, or I’m redoing my website, or I’m social networking, or I’m doing laundry or tending grandchildren or cooking dinner or emailing whoever is waiting for my response or waiting tables at our church’s weekly pancake breakfast.

Karla: Whew. What a whirlwind! But it sounds so fulfilling!

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Mary’s writing lair. Isn’t it cozy?

Mary: As a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church, I’m a persistent pray-er, but praising God doesn’t come naturally for me. Then, last Fall, I felt the Lord coaxing me to begin the Praise Poems blog to praise God for Who God Is, rather than what He does. Those poems have kept coming as contemporary psalms until I have more than enough for a book!

Karla: That is so awesome! I love it when that happens!

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Mary: Although many of my books (27 in all genres) are no longer in print, the newest ones can be found on my Amazon Author Page. I posted some of my online writing credits on my website and set up Profile pages in the Poets & Writers online directory of poets, About Me, and the just-discovered QuotesRain.

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Click to buy!

Back in the Golden Days, my traditional publishers did all of the marketing for me, leaving me free to write. Now, social networking seems to be a must for any writer with books or blogs, so I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and who knows what else! I’m grateful for my computer and Internet, but oh, I miss pencil and paper!

Where in the world do you write-

Karla: Me, too, Mary! I miss the days I’d sit in the trees over the creek behind my grandmother’s house and pen prose. Those were delicious moments. But from the looks of your twitter following (10k+!), you’re great at this social media thing! Wow!

Thanks for sharing your writing space with us today! It’s fun to peek in on professional writers’ lairs and see how they do it. Your space looks incredibly inviting for getting in the writing zone.

How about you, Dear Reader? Where in the world do you write? I’d love to know!

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Please tweet: What’s on your writing desk? Mary Sayler shares hers!

Writer Wednesday with Award-Winning Author, Bob Hostetler

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I met Bob Hostetler at a recent ACFW-Indiana meeting. I had no idea how much I admired his work until I saw his book table. And there it was. A book that had a huge influence on my life as a youth minister and teen Sunday School teacher:

I raised my kids and a whole passel of other kids on this book. It’s an excellent apologetic in layman’s terms. I think I’ve quoted most of it for the past 20 years over and over again. The title itself is one of my favorite phrases.

I was fortunate enough to visit with Bob during our luncheon that day and he was nice enough to agree to an interview!

Grab your cuppa (I’ve got my iced tea ready!) and get ready to glean wisdom from an award-winning, best-selling author. 

Thanks for agreeing to the interview Bob! I’m really looking forward to your next book! And I don’t care if I am gushing like a giddy schoolgirl. Its delicious purple cover (purple is my FAVE) and delectable content has me salivating already!

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Bob says, “Don’t check your brains at the door!”

Testimony Tuesday featuring Amy Clipston

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I’m so excited to have found Amy Clipston!

Amy’s story is profound. And I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview. So, grab a cuppa, lean back, and enjoy the show!

Amy’s next book will be out in June!

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And be sure to check out her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks

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Tweet this: She saved two lives with one of her kidneys!

Book Review: Empire Beneath the Ice by Stephen Quayle

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I have a wee confession to make. It may surprise my readers a little. Maybe not. I’m not exactly your typical granny.

I’m addicted to Stephen Quayle’s books. For the past six months or so I’ve been devouring them. And this is the latest of a bunch I’ll be reviewing for you. It’s his most recent and I read all 520 pages in two sittings. Long sittings, but two sittings. Empire Beneath the Ice: How the Nazis Won World War II was that riveting.

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Hitler, announcing the declaration of war against the United States to the Reichstag, on 11 December 1941. Source: Wikipedia; Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1987-0703-507 / unbekannt / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Stephen Quayle writes Christian nonfiction books about the supernatural realm. His books on giants and fallen angels are a much-needed answer to the world’s Ancient Alien theorists. Besides perusing his books for research for my own books, I believe books such as his provide a much needed commentary for Christians living in an X-Files culture. (Which is another reason for the project I’m researching.) As I’ve written before, there are far too many paranormal books on the market for kids, teens and adults today, and not enough Christian ones to explain the dangers of dabbling in the supernatural. 

Hitler practicing speaking poses for the camera. Source: Wikipedia; By Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-10460 / Hoffmann, Heinrich / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de,

Hitler practicing speaking poses for the camera. Source: Wikipedia; By Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-10460 / Hoffmann, Heinrich / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de,

If you’re already familiar with Nazi lore, I don’t know how enthralling this book would be. But for me, a beginner, I learned quite a bit. I had no idea there were so many conspiracies surrounding the Nazis and Hitler. I didn’t even know there was a conspiracy regarding their survival and continued influence on world politics today.

Is Hitler dead? Will his clone be the antichrist? Source: Wikipedia; By US Army - Stars and Stripes, the official US Army magazine., Public Domain

Is Hitler dead? Will his clone be the antichrist? Source: Wikipedia; By US Army – Stars and Stripes, the official US Army magazine., Public Domain

Reading this book, many things began to make more sense. Roswell. UFO sightings. The crazy policies made by politicians. Even the reasons behind Kennedy’s assassination became clearer.

I’m so happy to have stumbled upon Stephen Quayle’s work while doing my own research for a story I’m working on. It’s taken me down a whole new path of discovery. And you know me. As a treasure hunter (virtual and 3-D), I couldn’t be more pleased.

Here is a description from Quayle’s website. In Empire Beneath the Ice you’ll learn:

  • Why the suppressed evidence proves Adolf Hitler didn’t die before Germany surrendered during WWII, and how he eluded capture.
  • How Nazi SS members, scientists, and soldiers escaped with Hitler to create colonies in other parts of the world to continue their monstrous research.
  • Why in 1947 Admiral Richard E. Byrd warned that the US should adopt measures to protect against an invasion by hi-tech aircraft coming from the polar regions, adding, “The time has ended when we were able to take refuge in our isolation and rely on the certainty that the distances, the oceans, and the poles were a guarantee of safety.”
  • How, using advanced technology, Nazi saucers defeated the US military — long after WWII was supposedly over.
  • Why the US space program was mostly a sham, and why the “UFOs” that started appearing around the world in the late 1940s were (and still are) most likely flown by Nazi pilots.
  • How key government, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, financial leaders, and institutions helped Hitler come into power, and facilitated the preservation of Nazi wealth and power after WWII.
  • Why today’s world is secretly controlled by a malevolent shadow government and entire populations are being surreptitiously brainwashed.
  • How ancient stargates have been duplicated to open portals into spiritual and demonic universes.
  • Why those controlling our planet have laid the groundwork for a takeover by a dictator who could best be described as the Antichrist of the Bible. Empire Beneath the Ice carefully documents these and many more astounding facts, divulging the truth about what is happening today. It gives you the insights to help prevent this diabolical takeover or, if it occurs, reveals the details and essential actions you and your loved ones must take. Empire Beneath the Ice exposes the dangers our world faces, and will arm you with the tools you need to counter these unspeakable, secret evils.

 

Do I agree with everything in the book? I’m not sure yet. Do I believe the Nazis have a secret base in Antarctica? Anything is possible these days, isn’t it? There’s certainly enough technology available to make it possible. And because of the Nazi’s involvement in the occult, who knows what supernatural technology they access?

Oh, this is a fascinating subject. But these were my favorite sections of the book:

Admiral Richard E. Byrd -- head of Operation Highjump. Source: Wikipedia; By U.S. Navy - U.S. Navy promotional shot(autographed photo owned by my father, scanned and cropped), Public Domain

Admiral Richard E. Byrd — head of Operation Highjump. Source: Wikipedia; By U.S. Navy – U.S. Navy promotional shot(autographed photo owned by my father, scanned and cropped), Public Domain

1. Learning about Operation Highjump. Why didn’t I learn about this in school? I’m completely obsessed with knowing more about this operation. What did Byrd actually see? Why is it still such a big secret? And was Byrd murdered? Here’s a bunch of links from Quayle’s website if you’re curious too: High Jump.

2. Learning more about Wagner and the why behind Hitler’s obsession with him and his music.

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By Richard Wagner – Library of Congress, Public Domain

3. Nazi Religion: the occult practices of the Nazis. Even as a little girl, I couldn’t fathom the evil of the Nazis. But realizing the Nazi’s deep involvement with the occult, and their practice of conjuring up demons and communicating with them, their perfection of evil makes perfect sense. I’m not sure why anyone questions whether or not Hitler and his minions were demon possessed. I think the question shouldn’t be whether or not he was, but whether or not he was not. It’s the only way I can wrap my head around such ugly, abominable wickedness. (If you want to know how ugly Satan and sin are, look at pictures of the Holocaust.)

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Jews on selection ramp at Auschwitz, May 1944 Source: Wikipedia; By Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-N0827-318 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de,

Three things I loved about this book:

1. Christian worldview

2. Copious footnotes (I was able to look up tons of information on the Internet while I read)

3. Information, information, information.

Three things I didn’t care for:

1. For a book of this price ($40) I was disappointed to find a few typos.

2. The book is so big! My little hands can’t hold a book this big. But all Quayle’s books are published this way. I’ve learned to put a big pillow on my lap and rest the book on it if I’m wanting to read on the couch. It works out pretty well.

3. I wish his books were available digitally. I want to take them all with me. 🙂

The book has some interesting photos and illustrations as well. The only complaint I have about some of the photos are the illustrations by artist, Duncan Long, portraying Satan. They were so disturbing to me I had to cover them up with a piece of paper while I read the accompanying texts. (They’re that good.) Duncan Long’s artwork depicting other aspects in the book are beautiful. Anyone who enjoys looking at aircraft art will love Long’s paintings.

I give this book 4.5 stars. The only reason it’s not a whole five stars are for the reasons I mentioned above.

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If you love World War II lore, Jesus, conspiracy theories and history, you’re going to love this book.

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