More details on my tolerance talk...prayers & suggestions welcomed

Well, I pretty much have the details about what my talk will essentially entail…tolerance and acceptance (non-bullying) of children with invisible disabilities (centered a lot on autism because of the social skill deficits) who can mostly function in a least restrictive environment.

I will be giving 2 lectures and should expect to be talking to about 300-400 religious education teachers from 21 different parishes.

I have 40 minutes, but Father wants me to leave 15 minutes for questions and answers. As I vision it now, I will define invisible disability and explain how it manifests itself from a visible disability. I will touch on why the prevelance of having to teach a child is rising and then touch on ways to make the child feel more accepted, based on common scenarios that come up in classes time and again.

My son’s therapist, who really tried hard to educate my son’s Catholic school teachers, is helping me put together resources and prepare for the most likely question and answer session.

The over-arching message is that these kids (with invisible disabilities) need to be shown God’s love by their peers and teachers. A large piece will be in showing the teachers that blaming the child for his disability or saying it’s the child’s fault that he is excluded is very wrong and hurtful, not to mention the wounding of self-esteem that these kids often do not have.

So, I pray the Holy Spirit will allow me to carry this message to teachers who may have kids like my son in their classes. And it makes life easier for one special need child and his/her family, it would be all worth it!

Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you guidance, direction, strength, fortitude & wisdom in your time of need.

This is my question as a parent of kids who are in the classroom with students with invisible disabilities. I would love to know the answer to this and I am sure other parents/teachers would too. Maybe you can work the answer to it into your talk.

Often times a student with an invisible disability does not react in a way that a classmate would expect. The classmates are to be kind, accepting, and patient with the student, which I completely agree with. The problem is that they do not know how.

A girl in my son’s class broke down into tears often. She also screamed when frustrated. It truly baffled him. He had no idea how to respond to her. If he stayed by her and attempted to talk to her, it was the wrong thing to do. If he walked away, he was ignoring her. I have seen it happen. The other students in the room shrug their shoulders, unable to respond to the girl.

There were complaints that my son (and the other students in the class) bullied her. They truly did not know how to handle her.

What should he have done?

This is the teacher/administration dropping the ball and not your son. As this girl had frequent break-downs, the teacher should have handled it or the guidance counselor if one was there. Also, it would have been up to the parents of the girl to inform the school of the girls needs and for there to be a big sit-down with all the teaching authorities and for an action plan on how classmates should react when this happens.

In my case, I had done all of this work–reached out to teachers, principal, pastor, guidance counselor (school didn’t tell me he was fired) and had my son’s therapist along to further explain or answer questions. I even explained to the parents that my son had Aspergers, and gave them a short list on how it may manifest itself. In our case, the information was out there and the school and/or parents failed to act on it. Vicious rumors were spread about my son which got back to both me and him through at least four different channels.

Kids will not know how to act unless taught. With learning differences, this falls squarely on the shoulders of the school. The one consolation I got was that my son school’s actually admitted that they failed him.

My one suggestion is to not call it a “tolerance” talk. We “tolerate” what we dislike but are willing to put up with. That’s a negative connotation. I would focus on understanding, accepting and embracing differences.

I am aware that is a loaded word…I was using it for the sake of brevity. The words you suggested are in my title and the description of my talk. Thank you.

Trust me, I really want to nail this presentation. And the pastor would never allow me to use “tolerance” as well. :smiley:

Domer, As a Resource Specialist with a MA in sped with an emphasis on behavior, I am brought to tears by your courage in speaking to such a large audience of educators. One thought is to impart to the group some of the amazing things that students who are diagnosed on the spectrum can perform. I once had a high functioning student that knew the call letters and station numbers of every tv station in the USA, and another that took every word that he read to be literal. During a trip to the State Special Olympics in LA one year, we took our team to Disneyland. At that time, there was still a ride that was a trip through an atom. The sign at the entrance stated that the rider would be miniaturized for the trip. My 200 pound, six foot one student wrapped his arms around a pole and refused to go in. When asked why he was holding up the line, he gritted his teeth and whispered, “I WILL NOT BE MINIATURIZED!”. I am praying for your presentation to be a huge success. :thumbsup:

I agree with “Corkie” about tolerance. Some of those who ask for tolerance are tacitly admitting they are doing something wrong; Mother Theresa never asked for tolerance. You can see the results of our schools teaching tolerance as the ultimate good, like the one in which a Lesbian teacher convinces kids to accept gay ‘marriage’, starting at 4-years-old.

It is interesting to note that the complaining parents were merely asking to be notified beforehand so they could opt out their own children. That is when liberal tolerance took a holiday. There was a time when a teacher like that would have been dismissed immediately, if not sooner.

However, I disagree with “Corkie” when it comes to embracing differences. People don’t trust those who are different, especially of the hippie, counter-culture type. I had several hippie employees who took the company’s no-dress-code to extremes. One looked like the proverbial bloomin’ dandelion. I pondered why personal appearances were important and concluded that the message conveyed by an outlandish dress combination was, “I don’t care what you think about me, therefore I don’t care about you.” This is not a message you want conveyed to a customer with a problem you are assigned to fix. This message is conveyed across the board to just about all business situations, not just service industries. That is why people don’t trust others who are different. It is what got us into the current state of disarray and confusion.

To the modern liberal, indiscriminateness is a moral imperative. The only way to be moral is not to discriminate at all, not even between good appearance and bad, right and wrong, good and evil, better and worse, truth and lies, because an act of discrimination might be a reflection of personal “bigotry”. Indiscriminateness is a moral imperative because its opposite is the evil of having discriminated and being judgmental. Disagree with the Modern Liberal de rigueur? You are a bigot.

When we fail to discriminate between good and evil, right and wrong, and the behaviors that lead to success and those that lead to failure, we do not end up being objective, neutral, tolerant, or even only indifferent; we end up hating what is good, right, and successful. We have seen this pattern over an over. The idea that one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter has led to more terrorism; the belief that America is no better than any other country has led to hatred of America. “Separation of church and state” did not lead to increased religious freedom, tolerance, objectivity, neutrality, or even indifference, but to hatred of faith and those of faith. The modern liberal regime bans the merest breath of the Christian religion in public schools, while subsidizing student clubs devoted to witchcraft. These inversions of decency and sanity are not the work of anarchists. They are the logical consequence of the central credo of modern liberalism: that all intolerance and discrimination must be eliminated. In a society dedicated to that proposition, the good itself must ultimately be seen as evil, because the good is intolerant of evil, while evil must be “embraced” and blessed with victim status, because it is excluded by the good. – From The Closing of the American Mind

As far as the visibly handicapped are concerned, a short lecture like my mother gave me as a boy could go like this: "Do not make fun of the handicapped; someday you might be handicapped. Do not make fun of the aged; someday, if you live long enough, you will be aged. Do not mistreat anyone lest someday someone mistreats you.

Good luck. :slight_smile:

Praying that you will find a way to express the need for understanding and a method of approach.

You lost me on the part you said about parents opting-out their kids. Can you explain?

This is a talk mostly centered on kids that have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum and placed in a least restricted environment, as mandated by law. And the talk you gave your son is great, but it doesn’t hold water with autism. You can’t say to him: “Be nice to kids on the spectrum because you may turn out that way some day.” Our kids fate has already been sealed.

I realized I ruffled some feather with my thread title. Here is my working title and talk description:

Sending the message of God’s love to children with invisible disabilities and their classmates.

This talk will define and describe invisible disabilities and discuss how these disabilities present themselves in children. Additionally, the talk will center around how teachers and classmates can support children with invisible disabilities in an effort to make their religious education experience one where they feel the love of Jesus made manifest in their classroom experience.

Thank you for your kind words. For right now, I have about 25 minutes to explain what an invisible disability is and how to address a student who has an invisible disability in a helpful, loving way. These kids are nearly or almost completely mainstreamed. In my son’s case, intense therapy and I believe God’s loving hand, has had its role in our life. But, these kids get bullied and uninformed teachers will misconstrue the disability as defiance or egging-on their classmates. This happened countless times with my son, despite my best efforts to advocate for him. I was forced to pull him from our parish school.

I have been walking this road for ten years. Kids on the spectrum never cease to amaze me!

It’s been a while since I researched it, but that came from a different article on the subject.

Jeff deFreitas, superintendent of curriculum and instruction support service for the Peel school board, said schools assess opt-out requests case by case, following the board’s operating procedure on religious accommodation. … It is not possible, Mr. deFreitas said, for parents in Peel to pull their children from discussions of topics in the curriculum protected by Ontario’s Human Rights Code. Protected grounds in the code include sexuality and gender expression.

“If you are talking about, ‘I don’t want my child being exposed to any conversations about homosexuality or sexuality or gender,’ that would be something they could not opt out of because that’s an area protected by human rights,” he said. “So that’s a challenge in this conversation.”

(I think when you used the word “tolerance” in your post title, some people misunderstood that your talk was going to be about homosexuality, given the current social climate I can understand why that happened. I don’t think everyone necessarily read your previous post so the connection isn’t being made?)

Prayers for you!

I am really confused about your post and how it applies to my talk. This a talk to religious education teachers. And my apologies, but you mentioned a talk your mom gave to do on treating others with kindness. I misspoke that it was you giving it your son. Sadly, though, autism is set into motion probably at birth. When and how it manifests itself is unknown. Too much research needs to be done.

Believe me, and I say this in all Christian charity, life would have been so much easier if my child had a visible disability. Neither he nor I would have suffered from the cruelties we have experienced.

After 33 years of teaching those with invisible deficits AND strengths, I can attest that you are exactly right! My saddest observation is that sometimes the professional educators are the main obstacle, especially if your child does not exactly match the teacher’s perfect little academic and behavioral system in the classroom. :mad:

SO TRUE. Kudos to you, Domer, for doing this talk. I wish I had advice but your talking points sound absolutely great to me and I can’t think of any improvements :thumbsup:

In some ways it seems as though their hands are tied. They cannot reveal the disability, so they are tiptoeing around the child and hoping the kids will, too.

Is there some other way? I just don’t see how a 12 year old is supposed to handle some of these issues if the adults can’t even do it.

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