Special Education Today Newsletter 2(22)
What is in this week’s news and info for 31 October 2022?
Dear Colleagues, Friends, and anyone else who doesn’t want to claim a relationship with me,
I’m sending you faithful e-mail folks the current issue of the weekly newsletter for Special Education Today. As usual, it refers to articles publish on the Web site this past week. Thus, some folks who frequently haunt (ahem...I mean, it is Halloween here) the site will find mostly familiar content in this issue of the newsletter. Others may find new (and I hope, interesting) content. In addition, I’m providing an updated status report for the site and the newsletter, a table of contents for the past week, and a bit of commentary at the end. These contents should sound familiar?
As for the previous week, there was growth in the number of e-mail subscribers. We lost two (one of them may have been on the 18th, so outside the weekly window), but at least that many. Nearly 500 people have surrendered their e-mail address to Substack so that they can get these newsletters (and other mailings).
I especially want to thank George S., Kathy M., and Aletta S. for joining with patron support (as well as several others who switched from free to patron status) and, especially, to Mike G. (who knows why). You folks are the ones who’ll make SET work for the much larger community of readers concerned about special education. I’m humbled by your expressions of faith in the enterprise. Thank you.
As before, I think a lot of this growth can be attributed to members telling others about SET. Thank you! I want to acknowledge, especially, the activities of Clay K., Betsy T., Tina C. and others. Y’all are rocking it!
I encourage readers to share the content. Of course, I embed “share” buttons in posts and hope you will use them. But, shoot, you can simply clip a URL and pass it along, too.
Flashes of the high beams
This week’s (likely incomplete) list of SET pals who interacted with the magazine between 23 October 2022 and the time I’m writing this (30 October): Thanks to everyone, including Aletta S., Clay K., Jane B., Kimy L., Mike. G., Tina C., Joel M., Laura McK., Michelle P., Ed M., and all those whom I missed. Your contributions warm the cold, cold cockles of my behavioristic heart!
And, also a special shout out to Mary-Anne Linden who sent me a photo that alert readers with know appeared early Sunday. In additon to my pleasure in Halloween decorations and appreciation for sped smarts (which I suspect she has more of than I do), she was a huge life-line for me with Barbara Bateman. So, Mary-Anne, thanks for the photo and, expecially, thanks for hanging with Barb right to the last days of her life. She loved you, and I know why. Mary-Anne, the following one if for you. A good bit busy and heterogeneous…but these folks do it up every year! I ask Pat to drive by regularly, because the pesentation progresses over the time leading up to Halloween. (This photo, though, is from my walk today.)
And Here’s a ToC
I posted 10 posts—WAIT, it’s 12 if you count last week’s newsletter!—on SET since the last newsletter. I haven’t counted carefully over the ~16 months, but the past week may have been the week with the most posts in the history of SET. I hope that they are helpful—at least entertaining.
Remember that you can find the latest SET posts by simply going to the main page at https://www.specialeducationtoday.com.
Thinking about accommodations—Are read alouds cheating?
Reporter Jill Barshay on effective remedial reading—What if Orton-Gillingham isn’t particularly effective?
Alternative to picking just-right books—Can we learn from Karen Vaites?
Just another rant about misplaced focus on reading problems—Who the [****] misses the importance of instruction in kids’ learning?
Laura McKenna provides a parent’s persepective on autism—Want a glimpse of what it’s like to raise a son with autism?
Episode 3 of “Sold a Story” dropped—Do you think I’m listening to it?
Here’s a link to a good podcast about Turner Syndrome—What can we learn from “This Podcast Will Kill You?”
Some historical LD notes—What was special education like in yesteryears?
Seeing, hearing, and speaking evil...—Have you see the holiday decorations?
Blue buckets for Halloween?—How many will you see?
Phew! As the card players say, “read ‘em and weep.”
The idea of SET, at least to me, is to provide easily consumed news, information, guidance, and commentary to people concerned about special education. The idea is not to provide traditional academic content. I don’t think it’s important for SET to showcase our academic chops; I want to communicate with minimal pretense to intelligent consumers who are concerned about special education.
Given that bias, I had planned a commentary about the surge in discussion-news-analysis-advocacy about reading education in the relatively recent past (say 12-36 months?). I want to talk about, in my view, how welcome these developments are, but also that the situation is fraught with potential danger. Excessive celebration of success; mistaken advocacy for theories that are correlated with that success, but may be tangential and misleading; commercial oppotunism; and more. However, I am putting those comments aside for right now (I’ll return to them later), to tell a different story.
The idea of SET is also to promote equitable treatment of individuals with disabilities. In my view, that includes considerate treatment of just about everyone. Sunday evening, I surprised three people who were walking up the steps between our detached garage and our kitchen porch. This is usually a pretty private space. We rarely have neighbors walking through there, let alone strangers.
I was going out to put a metal can into our recycling bin. I said, “Hello.” They said something to me in return. I asked, “Can I help you?”
I realized then that these people were lost and that my words were gibberish. In the twilight, they appeared to be a family of three: parents and an early- or mid-adolescent daughter with the adult woman wearing a head scarf, adult man weilding a smartphone, and the (apparent) daughter hanging back a bit. They seemed congenial, neither threatening nor afraid. They clearly would welcome help.
In front of our garage, the adult man showed me a map on his phone. It was hard for me to read in the growing dark (even though I had my glasses), perhaps because it was zoomed in too far or I didn’t understand the orientation.
Thinking that the daughter might have better English because of contacts with age peers, I asked her, “Where are you going? Where is home?” She looked away...probably I was both speaking gibberish and stupidly speaking directly to a young woman whose culture frowned on such behavior by an adult male.
By this time Pat had come out the kitchen door. She expressed concern about our dinner, which she had put on the table just before I went out to recycle the aluminum can and encountered the family 3 meters from our door. “I’m worried about the cat getting our dinner.”
The adult woman said, “1xx Azalea.” That was their destination. I got her! I knew that! It was close, along one of my older exercise routes. I said, “OK. About 1 mile...2 kilometers.”
The woman got it. She repeated “...2 kilos.” We were starting to communicate. But then I fell into a hole. I was about to give directions, but I would have to use English and sign language...I had little idea how to tell her “left” or “right.” This could go way south!
Pat wisely intervened. She said, “I will drive them. Go protect our dinner from the cat.”
I didn’t want to abandon this family. I kept hoping we could talk. We had to tell them to wait on the driveway while Pat moved her car—the only vehicle of our three that could carry four people safely. I motioned for them to make space so that Pat could back up and turn around. They complied.
The adult woman affiliatvely held up her hand with fingers spread wide and said, “Five months [her voice uncertain on ‘months’]. USA. From Afghanistan.” I repeated her statement and rubbed my chest.
When Pat got home, she said she’d learned that they had been in Turkey since leaving Afghanistan. I suspect that they may have been evacuated in the summer of 2021 and been relocated to Turkey. Now they are in C’ville as a part of the local Charlottesville Resettlement project.
Pat said she asked about their jobs in Afghanistan, but they couldn't communicate. Among those resettled here we have found people who were highly educated and held quite respected positions in their home counties, but were reduced to relatively menial labor here. I hope to find this family again and learn more about them.
What huge risks people will take just to live where we live and have the opportunities that come with that life. I would like to learn from such people.
OK, here’re the usual admonitions: (a) Wear your seatbelts: Remember to affix them when you get into your car! (b) COVID: Get boosted, keep safe social distance, wash your hands, use masks, and protect your family and friends. (c) Be safe on Halloween, blue bucket or not. (d) Help people who are new to your community. And (e) please, teach your children well.
SET Editor guy
SET should not be confused with a product with the same name that is published by the Council for Exceptional Children. SET predated CEC’s publication by decades. Despite my appreciation for CEC, this product is not designed to promote that organization.