Special Education Today Newsletter 1(34)
What is this week’s news and info for 7 February 2021
Dear Colleagues, Friends, and anyone else,
Here, e-mail folks, is the 34th issue of the first volume of Special Education Today. As usual, after an updated status report, this issue catalogues articles published on the Web site this past week. Thus, some folks who frequently check (hang around?) the site will find familiar content in this issue of the newsletter; I hope others find new and (I hope) interesting content. Also, as usual, there’s a little commentary at the end.
The number of free subscribers has grown by about 20 in the last couple of weeks. I have not been able to determine what factors drive the increases. Is it the content? Is it that “the word” just creeps out gradually? I dunno.
Thanks for reading Special Education Today! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, my suspicion is that at least some growth can be attributed to e-mail members (you!) telling others about SET. Thank you! I want to acknowledge that some of y’all have mentioned SET on other social media where I’m not active. Thanks, especially, for doing that!
Also as before, I see that some subscribers are forwarding the newsletter to others. Thanks! Please encourage those friends and colleagues to sign up for FREE now! If you can, please consider adding a note to your forwarded message saying, “I recommend that get your own copy by joining the SET e-mail list”; I’d be grateful!
The stats on opening of e-mail copies of posts remain pretty similar to what they have been. Although they increase as the subscriber-base increases, the number of “opens” of messages is about 50% higher than the number of recipients (and some folks have never apparently opened a one!). I assume that this is because of forwarding and, most likely, because folks reread the newsletters.
Flashes of the electrons
Here’s this week’s incomplete list of SET pals who interacted with the magazine during the week beginning 31 January:
Jane B. (7), Clay K. (5), Michael K. (3), Mary-Anne L. (3), Peggy K-S (2), Tina C., Nicole U., Katie M., Ley D., Ed M., Lysandra C., and all those whom I missed.
Thanks, too, for tweets, retweets, and likes on Twitter. I didn’t comb through the activity and identify folks there, but thanks and keep ‘em coming @SpecialEdToday.
And this week’s contents
Well, I posted a three messages via e-mail to readers this week and one only to the Web site, so many of these will be familiar. Remember that you can find the latest SET posts by simply going to the main page at https://www.specialeducationtoday.com.
Is there a storm on the horizon?: Will it be as strong as the one 50 years ago?
Teaching practices—2: Praise works!: Why should educators abandon this essential tool?
Evaluating curricula—# 6: What does the team discuss on the way to the parking impound lot?
Friday Photos—15: Hello, Shanna Eisner Hirsch
Many readers are probably aware of the concerns among some in the autism community about “curing” or “normalizing” individuals with autism. Some people in the autism community see autism as simply a divergence, as a variation in human neurological development, but not a disease or disability. Much of the discussion of this topic comes from adults who are on “the spectrum” and from advocates with backgrounds in disability studies.
According to Blythe Bernhard of Disability Scoop, the topic is to be debated at the pending meeting of the Autism Society. Ms. Bernhard’s article, under the headline, “Debate Over Applied Behavior Analysis At A Crossroads,” starts with these three paragraphs.
The therapy long considered the gold standard for autism faces an increasingly virulent opposition, mostly from people who experienced it in childhood.
Applied behavior analysis, or ABA therapy, involves a range of interventions based on the theory that the environment influences behavior. The therapy can reduce challenging behaviors and improve the quality of life for people with autism through positive reinforcement, advocates say.
But detractors say the goals of the method are to “normalize” people with autism by camouflaging or suppressing their identity and personality to conform to a neurotypical standard.
Some readers will recognize that the Autism Society has a extensive history of advocacy for autism (see the “about” page of the group’s Web site). The founder of the Autism Society, Bernard Rimland, helped correct early mis-characterizations of individuals with autism as “monsters,” presenting much more sympathetic perspectives. However, he sometimes advocated discredited therapies (e.g., secretin; chelation), though he later discarded recommendations of some of them (e.g., facilitated communication).
The effort to develop a position statement about ABA should be an activity that merits following-monitoring. I’ll be interested to see how nuanced the statement is. How heavily will it be influenced by the Autism Society’s core principles (e.g., “there is no one-size-fits-all approach to address the needs and goals set for all individuals with Autism”; “a wide variety of therapies, support, and services should be equitably available”; quotes from the about page).
If anyone is planning to attend, please let me know. I also hope readers will let me know how they see SET going. Send me a DM via Twitter @JohnWillsLloyd or write to me directly (my name and e-mail addresses are plastered on many walls around the ‘net, but a reply to this newsletter will come to me, and I’m pretty sure, only to me).
O.K., here’re the usual admonitions:
(1) Wear your seatbelts. (2) Get vaccinated (I have had two and a booster!), keep safe social distance, wash your hands, and use tight fitting masks. (3) Watch out for each other and other people in your neighborhood. And, (4) teach your children well.
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.