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The Special Needs of Special Needs Parents

Posted on June 1st, by Bonnie in Education, News, Understanding. Comments Off

Yesterday I was told by my employer that, upon learning that A Special Space Center was becoming a reality, they will terminate my employment on the day the center opens.

So at this time, it appears that my job will end on August 22nd.

This was a very personal and poignant reminder of why I started A Special Space.

Parents of special needs children have a very hard time holding a full-time job.  Employers are not aware of  and often not interested in the special challenges present in the lives of families with special children.

I have been the HR Professional at my company for 3 1/2 years.  During my tenure, I have had my hours cut and been demoted solely due to my son’s autism and the mental and medical care he requires.  My story is not unique.

A study, published in the March 19 … Read More »

True Inclusion: Middle School Class Experiences Autism

Posted on May 10th, by Bonnie in Education, Events, Understanding. Comments Off

Today we had the honor of facilitating Experience Autism for a middle school class in West Virginia.

My “Ah Ha!” moment happened at the very beginning of class.

I asked, “Who has heard the word ‘autism’?”  Every hand went up.

I asked, “Who knows someone with autism?”  Every hand went up.

I asked, “Who can tell me what autism is?”  Not one hand went up.


Today we didn’t “raise awareness” about autism.  Clearly even 7th graders are aware of it.

No.  Today we helped one class understand autism.  There is a big difference between the two.

By going through the activities in the experience, these kids were able to actually encounter some of the challenges faced by people on the autism spectrum.  They dealt with tactile issues.  They learned what it was like to need a picture to complete a task when words simply made no sense.  They struggled … Read More »

Cameras in the Classrooms

Posted on April 25th, by Bonnie in Education, News, Understanding. Comments Off

Advocacy isn’t the main purpose of A Special Space.  Education for both NTs and those with ASDs is our focus.  But after reading one too many stories today about bullying and abuse of special needs children by teachers, advocacy and education have combined.

It’s time to educate my state and the nation about the importance of giving a voice to those who have none.  It’s time to advocate for cameras in the classrooms.

Teachers are an amazing gift to our children.  They work hard, love our kids, and guide them on their journey in life—most of them.  The few that make the news are the ones who are burnt out, stressed out, under-educated, under-supported and have no business in the classroom.  They, the few, are hurting our children and giving other teachers a bad name.

For the protection of our children and the teachers, it’s … Read More »

Light It Up Blue?

Posted on March 30th, by Bonnie in Education. Comments Off

How many of you are aware of  Autism Speak’s “Light It Up Blue” initiative? 

According to their site, this April 2nd, for World Autism Day, businesses, buildings and front porches are supposed to change their white lightbulbs to blue. 

I think it’s a cool concept—don’t get me wrong.  But how does this raise awareness or anything else for autism?  I’m thinking that the CDC’s announcement yesterday that the rates of autism are now 1 in 88 children and the news coverage of this national epidemic raise much more awareness of the spectrum and early diagnosis/early intervention than some downtown buildings having blue lights.

So go ahead and Light It Up Blue . . . but sharing data, facts, symptoms, treatments and support will last a lot longer, go a lot further, and enlighten people much longer than just a day of blue lightbulbs.

The Autism Experience

Posted on March 29th, by Bonnie in Education, Videos. Comments Off

We take normalcy for granted. Millions of bits of data and sensory input surround us every minute; yet, we instinctively know how to filter and focus without thinking about it, much like we do not think to make hearts beat or eyes blink.

People born with Autism do not process their surroundings as most do; it is physically (mechanically, chemically) impossible for them to do so. Over time, adults have learned how deal with the overwhelming episodes, but have historically had to do so on their own. To help children who happen to have autism, we need to understand what they experience. Understanding breeds compassion.

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