Coming Events

Call 314-989-7807 to register or register online at www.solutionwhere.com/ww/ssd(Call the registration number for assistance with setting up an account.)

Sexuality Education: Talking with Your Child about Body Safety and Boundaries
Tuesday, Dec. 2, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Presenter: Christina Meneses, YWCA Education Supervisor – St. Louis Region Sexual Assault Center
SSD Central Office, Room 61
Families will receive information to assist them in teaching positive social skills, appropriate public/private behavior, appropriate sexual expression and skills to protect their family member against abuse. The facilitator will also have resources for discussing puberty, dating and other issues that are potentially sexual in nature. This workshop will be a combination of lecture and group discussion. It is designed for anyone caring for a young person with a developmental disability.

Sexuality Education: Talking with Your Teen or Young Adult about
Developing Healthy Relationships
Tuesday, Dec. 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Presenter: Christina Meneses, YWCA Education Supervisor – St. Louis Region Sexual Assault Center
SSD Central Office, Room 61
Developing healthy relationships and discussing sexuality based on your family’s values will be addressed. Families will receive information to assist them in teaching positive social skills, appropriate public/private behavior, appropriate sexual expression and skills to protect their family member against abuse. This workshop will be a combination of lecture and group discussion. It is designed for anyone caring for or guiding a teen or adult with a developmental disability.

SSD Parent Advisory Council Meeting
Wednesday, Dec. 10, 7-9 p.m.
SSD Central Office, Boardroom
This meeting is open to all parents. The SSD Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is comprised of families advising and collaborating to improve the education, confidence and social outcomes of each student served by SSD.

Special Education Law
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 6-8 p.m.
Presenter: MPACT staff
SSD Central Office, Room 61
Training provides an overview of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and Safe Schools Act.

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Just As I Am

twinkle-twinkle-little-star-dawn-senior-traskI am not locked in a silent world. I hear you. I am not trapped within myself. I have feelings. I see you. I may not look at your face when you yell at me or plead with me. I still see everything. I see things that you miss. I experience everything. Maybe I don’t yell back at you. Maybe I cannot tell you that it hurts me when you slap me. Maybe I try to tell you but you don’t understand me. I heard you ask my grandpa if he thinks I am capable of learning anything. How will you know if the child can learn, you asked him. You told him that you have no way to tell if I am listening, hearing, understanding. My grandpa loves me. He told you to try anyway. He reminded you that I am your child. No matter how hard it gets and no matter how different I am, I am your family. My grandpa said to read to me. He said that even if I do not stay still, and even if I do not look at you when you read to me, that I need to hear it. I need to see it. I need you to try. I would love it if you read Goodnight, Moon. I see it sitting on the book shelf. A few times I have knocked it off or brought it over to where I often see you sitting, using your laptop. Grandpa also said to sing to me. The kid doesn’t care if your voice squeaks and squawks, he said. It’s true. I would like to hear you sing to me. I want you to sing along and do the motions to “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.” I saw it on the television the other day at Auntie’s house. I saw a mom singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to her baby on a commercial one day and I wondered why you never sing. Just try. Even if I make sounds while you’re singing, I need this. I need to see your effort. I want to feel loved. I am your child and I do need your attention. Even if I don’t give it back to you in the same way. I feel it. I am here. I am not trapped. I am not in a far away land that you can’t reach. I was never stolen. I am here, waiting for you to embrace me, just as I am.

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The Pope, Jerry Seinfeld, and Autism

 Pope Francis delivers his blessing at the end of a special audience he held for members of Catholic medical associations, in the Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Andrew Medichini/AP Photo


Pope Francis delivers his blessing at the end of a special audience he held for members of Catholic medical associations, in the Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Andrew Medichini/AP Photo

Reports have been swirling about the Pope’s meeting with autistic families in an effort to help end stigma and isolation. “The Vatican’s top health official, Monsignor Zygmunt Zimowski, said his office chose to focus on autism for its conference this year to give families affected by autism hope and attention” reported Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press. The event will also include health experts from around the world.

Advocates have said they are encouraged by the Pope’s interest in the struggles faced by the autism community, but raised concerns about the inclusion of the group, Autism Speaks. Lon Jones said “Autistics know that group not only doesn’t represent us, but has caused us to deal with even more of the stigma and isolation.” Andrew W. asked “How can the Pope welcome a group that makes eugenics part of its agenda?” Marcella G. said that Autism Speaks is a “hate group” that has “promoted fear” of people like her son and her brother. Other advocates say they are hopeful that autistic adults will have a seat at the table for the event and wonder about the experts who are slated to appear. Melania T. said, “Sometimes the experts have gotten their information from groups like Autism Speaks that claim autism parents have higher divorce rates and other problems, and then those same experts just repeat what they have been told by Autism Speaks. It’s insane.” Autistic rights activists have said that events like this one should be protested whenever there is no autistic representation. Mario, an activist from San Francisco, said, “Autistic people are the only experts on ourselves, our struggles, and our lives. There is no conversation about autism without us. There are plenty of autistic doctors, and other professionals who can be featured at events like this. Are they not invited? Are they not feeling safe to come out? I better see heavy autistic representation at these events and I think our community needs to heartily protest any future events that welcome Autism Speaks.”

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld pauses as he is interviewed on the red carpet at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Oct. 19, 2014, in Washington. Kevin Wolf—AP

Jerry Seinfeld recently made headlines after an interview with Brian Williams in which he said that he identifies with autistic people, and believes he may be on the autism spectrum. The internet was abuzz shortly thereafter with parents of autistic children accusing Seinfeld of self–diagnosing, and of undermining their struggles. Meanwhile, many autistic advocates sent out tweets and comments to Seinfeld’s Facebook page to express support. Activists joined in, welcoming Seinfeld and encouraged him to not support the controversial group, Autism Speaks. Yesterday, it was announced that Jerry Seinfeld “backtracked” from his previous comments, saying that he saw a play and related to it but that he is not autistic. Activists have expressed concern about the backtrack.

DJ Smith
Contributing Writer
CAN News

 

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