Ellen Notbohm’s August Newsletter gives advice about going back to school. It’s a Top Ten List that is helpful for principals who have students with autism with a lot of examples . I’ll mention the abridged version here, but you should check out Ellen’s website and sign up for her newsletter. Website: http://www.ellennotbohm.com

This is the direct link to the article to all the examples mentioned in the list:

Ten Things Parents of Children with Autism Want Principals to Know
(The Outside In Highlights of the list)

1. Listen, listen, listen. Listen more than you talk. Be present. Get to know each child as an individual.

2. We don’t expect you to be an autism expert, because true autism expertise is the sum of effective teamwork. But we do expect you to be curious about how your student with autism thinks, learns and processes language and the sensory world differently.

3. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Educating a child with autism is an investment in the future of a community.

4. Autism is not a “behavior disorder.”

5. Actively foster a school-wide environment that is inclusive and accepting of all students.

6. Acknowledge that no one knows the student better than the parents and family. Include them in all the aspects of the child’s education.

7. The safety of all students has to be a priority.

8. It should never be Us vs Them

9. Honor the IEP. Resist the urge to deny accommodations or supports that would “make the child stand out” to peers.

10. Take good care of yourself—and don’t take yourself too seriously!

WTF? I just came across People Magazine’s website that tells the story of Hello Kitty not being an actual cat. She’s really a person because she stands on two legs and not four!

Read the shocking truth at People Magazine’s website:


Happy 65th, Rick!

Happy 65th Birthday, Rick Springfield!

One of my favorite rock stars is having his birthday today. Hope you have a great day, Rick! I saw Rick in Concert last month with Pat Benatar on the bill! I even managed to get to meet Rick up close and touch him during the part of the concert where he goes into the audience singing.

During my vacation in Old Orchard Beach, I was saddened to learn about Lauren Bacall’s death. She had a severe stroke last Tuesday. She was a legend and could hold her own against Humphrey Bogart. That’s why they got married in real life.

Like I said in my previous post, I was very upset to hear about Robin Williams’ death by suicide. I grew up watching him and Pam Dawber on Mork & Mindy. It’s one of my favorite shows ever. I even loved watching Robin Williams in his movies: both the comedies and dramas.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams! You will be missed by everyone!

I was away at Old Orchard Beach most of last week. I drove up there on Tuesday, August 12. I had planned to post that I was going away on vacation last Monday night, but I was very upset to hear about Robin Williams’ death. Even more upset that he had committed suicide. Part of my vacation was watching the news unfold about him. He was in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease.

I did take the time to go to the beach when it wasn’t raining. Last Wednesday, there was one hell of a rainstorm on the east coast. Up here in Maine, the city of Portland, which is just north of Old Orchard Beach, got more than 6 inches of rain. I drove up to the Maine Mall in South Portland on Wednesday morning and left early in the afternoon before the heavier rain hit. I was lucky because a lot of roads got flooded out in both Portland and Old Orchard Beach.

I was also saddened to hear about the death of legendary actress Lauren Bacall, the widow of legendary actor Humphrey Bogart. Still, I managed to have a good time at the beach before going home on Saturday.

I was very exhausted from driving long distance. I was never used to it which is why I don’t drive long distance very often. Actually, I can only drive about 100 miles or so before I tire out that’s including taking a few stops for food and going to the bathroom.

Ultimate victory for autism advocates in the last few weeks!

Back on July 7th, the House passed the autism bill (S2245) unanimously. Then, this past week, Governor Deval Patrick signed it into law. It will go into effect 90 days from August 6 (the day the bill was signed into law).

Details of the bill S2245 can be found at this link:


Here are the highlights of this bill:

* makes the Special Commission Relative to Autism a permanent oversight body
* creates special savings and expense accounts to receive tax benefits for expenditures that benefit an individual with a disability (of any kind)
* expands the mission of DDS (Department of Developmental Services) to include adults with developmental disabilities
* encourages cooperation between DDS and DMH (Department of Mental Health) to provide mental health services to those with developmental disabilities
* creates an endorsement in autism to certify teachers who are qualified to assist autistic students
* extends insurance coverage for autism services to MassHealth (Medicaid)
* requires the Autism Commission to report on employment and housing opportunities for autistic people in the Commonwealth


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