The Transformative Power of Autistic Self-Knowledge and Self-Advocacy: Speaking Your Truth (Boone, NC)

September 21, 2018 in Boone, North Carolina. Catherine Faherty and co-presenter Jade McWilliams, Artist, Activist, and Autistic Advocate, provide a full-day seminar for teachers, therapists, and other professionals who work on behalf of children and adults on the autism spectrum; autistic adults, friends and allies, parents and family members. This day-long seminar covers the essentials of how to foster authentic self-knowledge and self-advocacy, including when to talk with your child about autism, and how to nurture self-understanding in open and positive ways. Practical, accessible strategies to teach self-advocacy skills will be presented.

When autistic children are raised without self-knowledge and without a daily practice of autism-friendly ways of communicating and asking for help, they may be more susceptible to physical and emotional harm. The consequences of not including these important goals in an authentic manner in a student’s educational program will be discussed in an honest, straightforward, and compassionate manner. Learning to “speak your truth” with confidence – and to first know what your truth is – is most possible with a strong foundation of personal awareness, accessible communication, authentic choice, and mutual respect in the environment. Trigger warning: Emotional, cognitive, physical, and sexual abuse will be mentioned.

This very affordable full-day presentation ($20 for professionals, $10 for students, families, and individuals on the autism spectrum) is being organized by the Hub for Autism and Neurodiversity (HANd) and is partially funded by the NCDD (North Carolina Council for Developmental Disabilities). Contact Elizabeth Kerley (Elizabeth.kerley@apphealth.com) or 828-264-4995 ext. 3114 for more information.

Camp Counselor Training (Salem, SC)

Camp Hike

Catherine Faherty trains camp counselors, and consults to “Christ the Good Shepherd Special Needs Family Camp” at the Greek Orthodox Diakonia Center in Salem, South Carolina. This program serves the whole family with autistic family members. This year’s camp counselor training and camp weekend is May 31-June 3, 2018.

Know Thyself: Nurturing Self-Knowledge, Mutual Understanding, and Self-Advocacy

This event has been postponed to later in 2018. The new date will be posted when confirmed.

Announcing a new seminar in 2018, to be held at the beautiful Dimotiko Theatre in Piraeus, the port city near Athens. Catherine Faherty offers essential information and encouragement to parents, teachers, therapists, and autistic adults, titled Γνωθι Σ’αυτον (“Know Thyself”). It covers the rationale, along with practical strategies for parents, teachers, therapists, and autistic adults to nurture self-knowledge, mutual understanding, and self-advocacy. Since the 1990’s Catherine Faherty has championed autistic children’s rights to know themselves – and to speak for themselves.

 

Understanding Friends

A program to educate children about differences; to foster empathy and mutual understanding; with the option of supporting self-expression/self-advocacy by children on the spectrum.

German Translation

Greek Translation

Understanding Friends is designed to be presented to classes of students in the elementary and middle grades. Adaptations can be made for older classes. This article contains lesson plans and a list of supplies that you will need. After presenting this program in all its revisions, to thousands of students since 1985, I have found that usually it is most effective to go beyond the generic program (Option A) and to discuss specific issues, giving accurate information about real students in concrete situations. Options B and C will help you with this. Option D suggests ways to include the student with ASD in the presentation of this program, if so desired by the student. more “Understanding Friends”

THE MISTAKE GAME

Teachers and parents can follow these instructions on how to make a funny, goofy game about making and correcting mistakes that your students or children can play, with the whole family or whole class!

SKILL TO LEARN: How to acknowledge that a mistake is discovered; understand that mistakes can be corrected; and feel okay with mistakes and the act of correcting.

NEW UNDERSTANDING: It’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes can be corrected. Some mistakes can be funny. It’s even okay to laugh about one’s own mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Mistakes aren’t “bad”. Mistakes can be keys to learning new things.* more “THE MISTAKE GAME”

THE ARM’S LENGTH GAME

Teachers and parents can follow these instructions on how to make a game to help your students or children learn what exactly is an “arm’s length”. This is a prerequisite to the PERSONAL SPACE GAME that can be played with the whole family or whole class!

SKILL TO LEARN: How to allow a socially comfortable space between you and another person.

NEW UNDERSTANDING: I know what it means to stand an “arm’s length” away from someone else.

EXAMPLE SITUATION: The child may stand too close to others, so much so that it bothers most people.

PREPARATION FOR GAME: First, you prepare with the class. You will define, literally, what is meant by “an arm’s length” by using a measuring stick. Measure different children’s arms. Make a list on the board to show the range of “arm’s length”. Find the average arm’s length. With stiff cardboard or a piece of light wood, make a measuring stick that represents the average arm’s length. Write on it “Average Arm’s Length”. (You can make a math lesson out of figuring out the average arm length of the members of the class.)

THE ARM’S LENGTH GAME: A child picks a card out of a hat which has either a location, or object, or a person’s name on it. (Examples of what can be written on different cards are: “classroom door”, “Julie’s desk”, “my locker”, “Mrs. Smith”, “fish aquarium”, “bookshelf”, and individual children’s names, “Daniel”, “Athena”, “Rickie” etc…) After reading the card that he or she picked, the child is supposed to then go to that object, location, or person, and stand approximately an arm’s length from the object or the person.

Repeat the routine reminder that we are supposed to stand “approximately an arm’s length away from people most of the time”. The child will use the measuring stick which has been marked to show the average arm’s length to help him or her know how far away to stand.

As time goes on, the children can estimate (without using the measuring stick) and then someone else can check with the measuring stick to see if they are close to the proper distance. Continue the game by taking turns picking cards from the hat.

Eventually, you will modify this game, using the same general idea by playing THE PERSONAL SPACE GAME.

 First write a Social Story about personal space, and explain that personal space can be determined by using an arm’s length as a general measure. You will summarize by literally and concretely defining “personal space” as an average “arm’s length”. For more detailed instructions see directions for THE PERSONAL SPACE GAME.

Remember to write Social Stories™. Social Stories describe life. Teachers and parents are encouraged to be trained in writing Social Stories by Catherine Faherty, or another member of Carol Gray’s Team Social Stories™.