Apparently, cabinets are not that hard to make if you have a good design and decent equipment. We just purchased some Bessey Cabinet Clamps to help with the doors. They just came the other day and look extremely easy to use, flexible, and handy. We look forward to adding drawers and doors - after staining and polyurethaning the cabinets.
I'm attending the Association for Direct Instruction (ADI) Conference for the third year. The usual speakers are here - but the good news is that they are all superb. I saw a very interesting poster from Educational Resources, Inc. (http://erigroup.us). It is a list of popular books and their grade level. Very handy. I've been wanting my son to read "Where the Red Fern Grows" and sure enough, it is for grade level 4.9. Super considering he is going into 5th grade. Here is the list from their product catalog (available on the web):
Selection Level Level Level
The Box Car Children:
The Copy Cat Mystery Grade 3.0 Grades 2-5 Grades 2-4
Julian, Secret Agent Grade 3.1 Grades 2-5 Grades 3-5
Tippy Lemmey Grade 3.4 Grades 3-5 Grades 3-5
Who Stole the Wizard of Oz? Grade 3.6 Grades 3-6 Grades 3-5
The Gadget War Grade 3.7 Grades 4-7 Grades 4-6
Charlotte’s Web Grade 4.4 Grades 3-7 Grades 4-6
Freedom Crossing Grade 4.4 Grades 4-8 Grades 4-6
Holes Grade 4.6 Grades 4-8 Grades 6-8
Where the Red Fern Grows Grade 4.9 Grades 5-8 Grades 6-8
Bud, Not Buddy Grade 5.0 Grades 5-8 Grades 6-8
The Wanderer Grade 5.2 Grades 5-8 Grades 6-8
This is part of the story of how a kitchen got redone. There are many ways to skin a cat, this is just one of those. At this point (this page will be updated as more gets done), we have some things we would change to make the installation easier but they are all pretty small changes that would have the same result.
The kitchen is a 9 foot by 11 foot three sided open room. It had blue painted metal cabinets. I was extremely excited to remove the cabinets for recycling (I may have danced a little jig).
So we went to the Corvallis Begal Cinema on opening night to watch Sicko. The tickets were purchased three days earlier. However, when we got there, the movie was not showing. I threw a fit throwing out conspiracy theories - "Begal Cinema Corporation doesn't want the film shown!"
We got 4 tickets in return for our 2. It was well deserved, when you buy on Fandango (using your email address to purchase tickets) you pay over a dollar extra for each ticket. Too bad Fandango couldn't use that same email address to inform you that the movie was canceled. Apparently you are now supposed to verify the movie is showing because there could be a delay. You know, like an airline flight.
Here's the weird thing. They had no reason. It wasn't that the film didn't arrive, the projector was broke, or that it conflicted with another movie. Geez, they had Ratatouille in two theaters. Uh huh. I asked if they sold out on the Disney film and they wouldn't admit that it did not. I got a "it's been doing very well."
Secondly, I've never heard of a full release on a movie to then become not a full release - only 3 days before the opening.
Problem: Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has a tendency not to hire outside consultants to oversee students with autism/developmental disabilities or train teachers and aides in appropriate Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) procedures. This puts the onus on parents to learn and execute ABA for their own child and also continue to push ODE for this service in both Early Intervention and Special Education.
Design direct instruction curriculum, ABA evaluation system with graphical tracking, and on-line ABA programs via Open Education Resources (OERs). These OERs will be available for free under a Creative Commons or like licensing. They are usually created via a collaborative structure such as http://en.wikiversity.org, http://wikieducator.org, and http://en.wikibooks.org. Once curriculum and evaluation systems are designed and available for free, parents and educators can participate in honing the program and in spreading the word.
Acquire a building to house an Oregon Autism Center between Portland and Eugene. The center will be a hub for support groups, trainings, materials, and evaluations.
WHY? ;-) Gee, ask them WHY NOT? Unless your child is only a few months below his chronological age in all areas, there is not any reason for why, only why not, which I bet they could not really answer rationally.
WHY = faster acquisition of objectives means new objectives can be added. (OH NO
WHY = Because he, age unknown, has a better chance of developing play skills sooner, and that gap that widens every six months has less chance of materializing into a chasm.
WHY = Because then you can divide up your priorities and teach some things at home without worrying as much he will not get it and be over burdened, and the school is supposed to be helping all preschoolers do what typical kids do.
WHY = Because the waiting list for group homes gets ever longer, and you should not be planning for a group home, but elementary school and beyond with hope.
Scenario: Oregon Department of Education (ODE) does not want to hire outside consultants competent in ABA to learn and execute ABA in a competent fashion. This puts the onus on parents to learn and execute ABA for their own child and also continue to push ODE for this service delivered in a competent and intensive manner (for younger children).
Solution: Package and sell ABA to parents with children with autism (especially newly diagnosed), school districts, Regional Directors, ESDs, and Early Intervention Programs.
Prerequisite reading in order to package and sell ABA: Ideavirus (short free book available for computer and Palm/Pocket PC)
Create an autism community by creating an Oregon Autism Consortium
Solicit parents and professionals to be added to the Oregon Autism Consortium address list via a website and literature already available in Oregon (like websites, membership forms, and various organization's literature)
There are two kinds of negatives that parents have to address: The overt ones are the simple ones. There are other more covert ones that are subtle messages that often come from the people who we love and trust or the professionals who are supposed to be helping us. There are no easy answers, but here are some things I find helpful.
There are three strategies that parents can use when people are being negative:
Educate: Tell people the truth. Let them know that they are not being helpful and more importantly let them know what would be more helpful.
Escape and avoidance: If you can't change peoples minds, often just avoiding them is perfectly healthy and, in some cases, easy to do. of course, there are some cases such as relatives where this is harder.
Fight: This should be a last resort. It takes too much energy, requires negativity, and is less likely successful than education or avoidance. However, sometimes there is little choice (e.g., your child's school is giving you a hard time and there are no good alternatives).
Ever wonder how the school system can dismiss a medical diagnosis of autism? They can because they have a loophole in the autism evaluation to qualify for autism services: the disability must be shown to inhibit learning during three 20-minute observations. There are some other parts of the evaluation but I suspect this is one that might keep some kids from qualifying for autism services, especially in the special education (ages 5+).
In addition to differences in diagnosis, both systems have vast differences in treatment. Here is some comparison between a medical approach and a school-based approach to treatment:
Oregon currently does not have the competent, let alone certified, personnel to carry out appropriate ABA programs that are well supervised with qualified and trained therapists. They have bought into eclecticism via Janice Janzen, a long time Oregon autism educator. Their reasoning? We can't offer only one solution because each child is different. However, by only offering an Eclectic solution, they have chosen a single methodology on behalf of our children and families.
Eclecticism is, in itself, a methodology.
Ever hear people say that one methodology doesn't work for ALL children? Somehow, the answer is to have NO methodology. This is known as an eclectic program. A little of this and a little of that. Take the best of various things. The tool-belt method. Sounds good, doesn't it?
You cannot do research on programs that are vastly different from one child to another. So what ends up happening is that these ineffective, sometimes harmful programs are continually used on hundreds of children, year after year, decade after decade.
Nothing like hiding under "one program doesn't fit all kids" and "we don't need no stinkin' research."