I wrote a piece yesterday that I set back to private regarding a parent-student interaction thing.
I walk a tight line with confidentiality and trying to help inform other leaders about Autism in education. I think I was alright with that post, but if I get “outed” by identity, my school is so small, each player in that post will be instantly recognizable. That’s not okay.
While that post gave me some good feelings because it helped me to justify why it will be okay whether the child in question stays or leaves, I have spent all of today in Autistic overload due to anxiety. I don’t think it’s because of the post per-se, but because of dreading the follow-up conversation with a neurotypical parent which will happen tomorrow morning. As a Catholic institution, we remember that parents, not schools, are responsible for their own parenting decisions. It is his mom’s right to do whatever she sees fit, and I do applaud that right because I profit from it as a parent of a homeschooled child.
But as an Autistic who lives with anxiety as a “normal” fact of life, the implication that I know less about her child’s neurology than she, herself, or the neurotypical establishment doctors know, hurts me, too. (By the way, Autistics, for “fun” look up anxiety symptoms…you’ll probably find you live like this ALL THE TIME. It’s actually NORMAL for you, so you don’t think these are actual conditions neurotypicals do NOT experience all the flipping time and if they suddenly do, they ask for help. Who knew?)
Here’s more on anxiety and masking: the endless cycle.
Continue reading “Masking, Anxiety, and Other Everyday Woes of the Autistic Woman”
One of the things my pastor and I are known for is being so positive even when something is clearly not going well at the school.
A teacher quits? Well, we’ll find another.
An aide quits? Well, we’ll save money.
The same aide comes back? Well, we missed her.
Kids leave? Well, at least they’re trying another Catholic school (or: well, there are counselors at that school, at least).
That sort of thing.
The Director of Religious Education is floored by our ability to say, well, we’ll try this instead whenever something goes wrong or to spin anything that happens as another facet of God’s will, and keep trying.
The trouble is, we’re not really doing that so much anymore.
Continue reading “Tired of being Pollyanna”
So, I’m in an educational leadership class that had us do the Gallup CliftonStrengths “test.” In order to do this, you must buy a new, unopened copy of Strengths Based Leadership and go online to take a test. I think it’s also available to purchase without the book, but for nearly $20, just get the book, too, as you save nothing by just buying the online version.
At any rate, I never would have taken this but for class, however, I found the theory behind the test intriguing, and I thought you all might as well.
The theory behind Strengths Based Leadership is that we ought to focus on our strengths. We know ourselves, and therefore if we do what we’re best at and leave others, who are better at other things than we are, to do those things, thereby, we can have an effective team.
I know I lost some Autistics there with the word, “team,” because many of us remember the definition of team meaning “ignore the Autistic and/or make him or her do all of the work and claim group credit.” Believe me, I know.
However, in a functioning model of teamwork, each person does what he or she is best at and together they do better than they ever would alone. In theory, at any rate.
One of the things about being Catholic is that we are called to believe in one Truth (capital T) which is Jesus/God/Holy Spirit…you know, TRUTH. And this actually fits in line with what I think the Autistic view of Truth is…the idea that there is one factual truth in all things.
But we also, as Autistics, believe in multiple perspectives. As in, one person’s experiences will affect the way he or she tells the story. Sometimes Autistics who have not been “woke” to this truth still fight it and believe only one view of events can possibly exist, but increasingly, as one becomes an activist, one learns about perspective, white privilege and so on.
In leadership, there is another kind of truth, I think.
Continue reading “Truth and the Renegade Leader”
Sorry for the lack of update. It’s a busy time of year for work. Without revealing too much, I am a Catholic school principal and we are reinventing ourselves to be more inclusive and also more authentically Catholic. We pray more, we love more, you know…the kind of school that, if you went religious, you’d want for your Neurodiverse kid because our goal is to help kids to find their true selves and be able to advocate for themselves wherever they go to school next. The need is great where we are. But yes, very busy this time of year.
I just had some news that frustrates me to no end. The teacher I thought I could depend upon to stick with me this year has been wooed away by the public schools. They can offer him the little things like pay commensurate with experience and, well, health insurance. I’ve done the math on what I could make, going public, and it’s more than double than what I make now. Unfortunately, I am Autistic, and I cannot play the “fitting in” games required in public schools. I just don’t have the spoons for it.
Continue reading “Being Myself: Autistic leadership in a Catholic environment”