This is the ninth of these process logs from Mom's folder. They're sort of logs that document her research for her spring 1994 paper From Dependence to Independence. Instead of a log, though, these are more like mini-papers that are interesting on their own.
In this one, Mom recounts the interview she had with the mother of one of her religion students. Mom also talks about a speech she was to give at the church.
The photos are of Mom from the 1950s at the family farm from a photo album of Mom's.
I had some interesting questions to ask her. This is far too much information to put in this paper, but I found it very interesting. She asked if I had ever read the book Under the Eye of the Clock, by Christopher Nolan. I had not, so she is going to get me her copy. Apparently Christopher Nolan was and is like her son. I guess it is real soul searching.
I asked her what her goals were for her son. The first and most important goal is being able to communicate with people. She says that she knows what he wants usually, but that is because she lives with him all the time. The psychologists were able to do an IQ test on him, by using a very patient and adaptive process. It was shown that he has a good IQ. Now to be able to tap that knowledge. I asked her if she was able to see improvements in her son in the last few years. She said there was quite a bit of difference. He is able to recognize pictures of things.
I was also curious on how the experts decided when he passes to the next grade. Obviously the usual methods won't work. She said that the teachers and parents get together and do an IEP (Individual Evaluation Profile). Here everyone gets to evaluate the child's progress.
Grant Wood Area Education Agency (AEA) Used early childhood intervention with regular visits to her son since he was 2 months old. He has gone to all day preschool very early. It was essential for him to begin a regime early as he can't soak in as much from other sources as normal kids can.
There are many programs used in the schools for the severely disabled. One is called a circle of friends. Here, there is a group of kids volunteered to be a friend. They call on the child and just visit. Much of this comes very natural to kids, especially kids who have been brought up in this atmosphere. Kids are very flexible, if you let them be. The kids are not put off by the chair, or even by the fact that this child cannot talk back. It is kind of like when you put two kids together that don't speak the same language, somehow they manage to communicate.
I asked her if with this child in the classroom it is more work for the teacher. The little kids are constantly begging for turns to take care of him. They fight over who is going to do things for him today, much in the same way we used to fight over who got to help the teacher erase the board. I do know that with myself and my class they always want to help me, too. Last year, I had three kids fighting over who will carry my books, who will open the door, etc. It brought back memories when I was younger that my nieces and nephews wanted to help me with my braces. They loved all those buckles.
The mother also said that the city is advanced far in helping kids like her son. She lived in California for a year and couldn't find an agency to help her. I personally feel that this city is more accessible than most cities its size. There are few stores or businesses where I cannot go. The grocery and variety discount stores like Wal-Mart and Kmart, go out of their way to accommodate with wheelchair shopping carts. I wonder how often they get used. All of the schools are pretty much accessible. The university, however, needs a lot of help. There are many buildings here that cannot be gotten into, or the accessible doors are rather obscure back doors. There is a lot of work that has to be done here.
I asked Julie in the class if in her research there were many mothers doing home schooling if they had a disabled child. I was a little surprised by her answer. I guess it is not recommended for the disabled child as the child becomes much too dependent on the mother. If this is all the child knows, he cannot expand his knowledge. I would think this would be a worry with a very withdrawn child. It is easy to feel comfortable at and at home only. That is one reason why I don't think that I could do home schooling. I would be afraid that I would be making them too dependent on me.
I'm having trouble keeping my mind focused today, but I know that I have to get this log done. I have to give a speech tonight at church and the closer it gets the more nervous I get. Sometimes this Mass is very crowded, anyway, it is very big. I want to do a good job. I always feel that anything I do is not only for me, but for all of us. Maybe there will be someone in the church that will think "If she can do it with her busy schedule, then why can't I?" Guess I will never know if that happens. I would love to be asked to speak at classes or businesses on this topic. Enough of that, it will be over soon and I will either fall on my face or do a good job. I will let you know next week.
I really want to write. I have a sewing class going on now, also. I would love to write a sewing column for the newspaper. I think it could be very helpful. I approached the local paper on this. They said that they didn't have room. I want to get some articles made up when I get time.
Connie, April 9, 1994