I do not cease to be amazed by the brilliance and resilience demonstrated in so called (incorrectly) third world countries.
Presently, the country of Ghana has an incredible group of mothers (some fathers) who knock on all doors to guarantee future educators have the opportunity to listen about autism and the needs of their kids – – based on their reality!
This is one novel concept and one such group is the Special Mothers Project in Ghana. I have interacted with Mary Amoah, the incredible and power house mom of Nana Yaa. Nana is now a teen, on the autism spectrum, non-verbal. Their experiences in the last 15 years led Mary to pursue advocacy at its maximum level and share the many lessons learned with the upcoming number of parents raising children on the spectrum.
But, the main goal is to educate future teachers about autism and what their children actually need.
From what I understand, in Ghana (or the United States) there are no University courses educating about the academic and social needs of students on the autism spectrum. This is where Mary and her Special Mothers come in.
These super heroes have surpassed the boundaries of bureaucracy and nepotism and have convinced academic leaders to open the doors to offer workshops to future and current teachers — yes, parents educating teachers to be about autism and learning how to learn — regardless of behaviors and countless challenges the diagnosis presents.
I mega applaud them. They have succeeded.
University settings in Ghana acknowledge they need to transmit a variety of messages to the future educators of their country. They also realize autism prevalence in their classrooms and the lack of trained educators. They realize they do not know what autism is all about and it is advantageous to work with those surviving it every day.
Say it with me… The PARENTS!!!
Why do I write about this?
I will continue to write to all universities in the USA requesting similar projects become a part of the curriculum of education.
These experiences shall determine how prepared teachers will be when reaching the classroom and realizing that 10+ of 25 students are capable of learning but need to be taught differently.
Right now, the United States must replicate projects like the Special Mothers Project in Ghana.
What have I done?
Below find the letters sent to the Departments of Education of various universities in Florida.
Only one university responded – UCF.
We have not had the opportunity to meet.
I urge all of you to send similar or completely different emails to these individuals. They need to hear from all of us.
Changes will only take place this way. Books and researchers cannot be the only way future educators shall learn about autism and its realities.
We the parents shall always be a part of this equation.
———- Forwarded message ———
From: YADIRA CALDERON <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, May 3, 2018, 11:26 PM
Subject: Fwd: My daughter speaks… Teachers in Florida…
To: <Brindley@usf.edu>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Representatives of Education in Florida
I have a simple request…
Please read this email carefully.
My daughter and I are ready to meet with you to discuss the reality of many in Florida’s schools.
Our basic need…
Better training of future teachers.
What is being taught and highlighted does not reflect what the system is and prioritizes or what the actual needs of the students are.
Particularly, students with a variety of diagnosis who need Multisensory methodology so they can be taught how to learn.
Many parents end up investing in tutors outside of the school system in order to see our children reading, writing at grade level.
Additionally, teachers to be need sensitivity training to avoid situations like the ones described below.
Yes, I am the kind of parent the school system does not like because I give less praise and do more complaints.
My daughter and her needs represent money to the school. These funds are not properly used and federal law is being violated.
But you know this.
I welcome the opportunity to meet.
Thank you for your time.
Yadira Calderon and Thomais Moshopoulos
Palm Harbor FL
Read about us here…
I was a featured guest in a WEDU PBS broadcast