- Copertina flessibile: 166 pagine
- Editore: Lightning Source Inc (novembre 2011)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0988324709
- ISBN-13: 978-0988324701
- Peso di spedizione: 313 g
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon:
Ido in Autismland: Climbing Out of Autism's Silent Prison (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – nov 2011
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Before I go on with this review, I should say here that I've known Ido for many years, and I can attest to the fact that he wrote every word in his book. Moreover, his writing, which is a compilation of his diaries, very accurately describes his treatment and development, both during the early years when "experts" treated him like a trained monkey, and during the later years, when Soma Mulokhopadyay taught Ido and his family how to use a letter board.
Ido's book begins by comprehensively documenting the painful boredom of spending every single day for years doing repetitive drills aimed at teaching him to identify simple objects or put names to emotions. Because he was non-verbal, Ido was unable to explain that he had already taught himself to read, that he could do basic math, and that he perfectly understood, although he couldn't express, a full range of emotions. Nor could Ido explain that, in addition to understanding what those around him were experiencing, he was living in a physical and emotional environment much richer than what most people without autism experience. Institutional myopia seemed to have condemned him to a lifetime of monotonous drills, unfulfilled intellectual dreams, and intense loneliness. This makes for painful reading, but it is necessary to understand (a) the wonder of what happened when Ido was able to break out of his silent prison and (b) the incredible gift this book is to those who work with autistic people, whether they are family members or professional clients.
As Ido explains, it was his good fortune that his parents, especially his mother, never gave up. They couldn't shake their conviction that, behind Ido's silence, there was a fully realized human-being. It was this belief that led them to Soma Mulokhopadyay, who believed that Ido and children like him can communicate through a letter board.
Once he mastered the letter board (and he did so very quickly), Ido took off. Although very shy (something he talks about movingly in his book), Ido suddenly started connecting with the outer world. It's a joy to read his trenchant observations about autism experts (some open-minded, and some remarkably stubborn), ordinary educators, the other autistic children in his world, his parents, and his friends and family. One of the best things that shines through the book is Ido's capacity for love. For so many years, autism experts have thought that autistic people have no emotional life. Ido kills that belief forever. Not only is Ido's a very rich emotional world, it is both an astute and a loving one.
For me, reading the book was especially eye-opening, because it explained so many previously mystifying behaviors. For example, Ido explains that many people with autism, Ido included, have sensory awareness problems. If he cannot see a part of his body, he loses his awareness of it. That's why, for example, he likes to be tucked up in bed very tightly, under heavy blankets. The pressure this provides orients him in space. Otherwise, he feels as if he's floating away.
Ido also explains the drug-like pleasure of stims, those repetitive flapping movements that so many autistic children use. For a brain that, rather than being insensible, is hyper-sensitive, stims are a calming way for the autistic person to control his environment.
If you work with autistic children, if you have an autistic child or relative, or if you know someone autistic, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I know that the parents of most autistic children, like Ido's parents, never give up their belief in their child or their hope that, some day, their child can begin to communicate with them. Until today, though, most of them didn't have the sheer good luck to fall within Soma's orbit. Ido's book provides for other autistic children the pathway to freedom that Soma provided for him. With his insights about both the problems and the blessings of autism, those whose lives intersect with autistic people will never view autism in the same way again.
I am a California teacher, having retired from the military, I chose to work part time as my children grew. One of those children was a bright child who could not learn to write or spell and who had a very difficult time in a classroom. He was diagnosed early as ADHD, and in 6th grade as dyslexic. That year he was enrolled in a school for dyslexic and or bright children. The growth that year was huge. He was happier, able to focus better, and, he made two full years of academic growth in language skills. I was able to take their teacher training that summer as I retired from the Navy. I taught him for three years in an independent studies program offered by the county where we now live in California. As he graduated from high school, earning a "real" diploma, I was completing a general (multi-subject) credential and began to teach part time, or sub. Last year I was a long term sub in a k/1 county special ed classroom with some very bright autistic students. I discovered Ido's blog [...] last March. One of my valued resources. I struggled to find ways to meet the challenge of figuring out first, how to present grade or near grade level skills/information then, how to have the student demonstrate that knowledge. Several students were verbal, several were not. I relied on my experience with my son. When bored, at best, he tuned out. When engaged, he learned incredibly fast. He was dyslexic, not mute, and so was able to demonstrate his knowledge IF given a choice in how to do so. A written report through his sophomore year in high school would highlight his lack of great handwriting, arbitrary spelling, incomplete sentences and lack of organization rather than his knowledge. Therefore, with my students, I did look for alternates, sometimes more and sometimes less successfully than I desired.
I watch this year as the students have moved on. As they get older, the classes get bigger and there is less time for the intensive work needed. The present choices are high support, low academic expectations and low support but higher academic expectations. I'm wondering if technology can help, not only with communication, but with curriculum delivery for a bright child. If you, Ido, are reading this, I would ask if you have experience or thoughts about computer based instruction. I know there are research based programs, and others are play skills programs. I'm thinking of one program, Edmark, that I used last year with a student. If done face to face without a computer, he got bored and restless. On the computer with me next to him, he could go through 5 lessons quickly, especially when I skipped the vocab lessons on words he knew. He still aced the unit tests. Do you have experience with any computer based instruction, if so, any thoughts? Thank you again. I will be sharing this book with a number of professionals.