Solutions Not Excuses


Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he wastoo stupid to learn anything.”

Edison also famously invented 1,000 light bulbs before creating one that worked.

Have you ever heard any of the following comments from a teacher or staff member from your child’s school?


– Children with autism cognitively will never change.

– We typically don’t test kids with autism, because they are difficult to test and don’t test well, so why bother.

– She will not be able to write their name, why? Because she has autism.

– He flaps his hands?  Well, that is what autistics do.

– His autism affects his ability to learn.

– She will never read or write.

– I think you should consider medication.

– I know you have your philosophy about what autism is, but you need to understand to everyone else autism is a lifelong mental disability.

– These children need to be somewhere else, they do not belong in public school.

– He can’t graduate from high school, he has autism

This is the mentality of educators teaching our children today.  This list could go on and on with the “he can’t,” “she will never,”  “because of autism.”  It puzzles me.  Just as we parents have to take control of our children’s medical needs, we also need to take control of their educational needs.  From my experience the medical community and educational systems, still do not understand autism.

I remember when my son was in second grade and his teacher told me, “He can’t do math; he can’t add.”  When I asked her about using manipulatives, she said, “Yes, I have tried; he can’t do it.”  When my son got home from school I took out my video camera and began taping our math session.  My son was adding with manipulatives and adding on his worksheets.  When we went to school the next day, I showed his teacher the video. She was amazed and commented, “Oh, I will have to see if he will do this for me.”

The same thing happened with his speech therapist.  Every time they would tell me my son could not do something I would take a video of him.  I would show them what strategies to use with him.  I often wondered “what is it that you do with him all day.”  It appeared they did not even try to teach him.  When my son was in third grade, I was told he will never be able to read.  He has been reading for several years.

A special ed director once said to me, “A lot of parents need a break, and so they send their child to school.”   School for my son is not a holding tank so that I can “get things done” or “take a break” while my son is at school.   I am sending my child to school to learn.  I have seen my son excel with good teachers.  The teacher he has now looks for solutions and does not give excuses.  If my son is struggling in an area, she will try a different method or approach, she does not give up.

It frustrates me not only for my child, but for all the children with autism or with developmental, and learning disabilities.  We can’t give up, make excuses, or blame the disability.  We need solutions, not excuses.   I am not saying this is every teacher.  I have many friends who are excellent teachers.  As I am writing this blog,  Live with Kelly and Michael is on. They are having their 4th annual Top Teachers Week.  Today’s teacher is a teacher of special-needs students.  Her story is amazing.  You can see her dedication and excitement in teaching and watching her students grow and learn.   All teachers should be this way.

I came across this post from Carly Fleischman’s FB page.  Carly was diagnosed with severe autism at age two.  I had to add it to this blog, because I could not have said it any better than Carly.

Perfect test!


This test cost my parents over a half $1 million. It took me countless hours and years of sitting at a table and working nonstop.

It took many days months and years for me wishing to find a way to communicate.

This test took the strength with in me to find my way into this world.

I heard doctors tell people to give up on me. Countless teachers and principals saying they won’t except me.

To all of those professionals who said that to me, all I can say is one thing:

It sucks to be you! 🙂

This test is for every child that is being diagnosed today with autism. We can do it.

~ Snap 


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5 Responses to Solutions Not Excuses

  1. Helen says:

    I have 2 kids and neither of them have autism. I do believe that schooling systems fail whenever a child does not fit the general mould, to the schooling system (and many teachers) the child becomes unteachable. I worked with kids at a holiday program during my college years (high school), the holiday program was free and in a poor suburb so we had kids that came from pretty neglected families, the ones who could afford to go to paid holiday programs were often never seen again. There was one age group, that I got “stuck” with. It was full of boys who were considered OCD, ADD, ADHD and autistic. Nobody wanted to be their leader! When most leaders had the same age group at every holiday program, I was switched to the next age up as the boys got older. I couldn’t understand what the big fuss was. They were so EASY to look after. Most of them just wanted someone around who would be calm enough to listen to them for a literal 5mins before they went on with their day. Then they were just like every other child in the room. Even teaching them is easy, along with them I also taught my nephew, who is OCD , speech. My method? sit them in front of a mirror, make silly faces with them and when they are really paying attention, make funny movements and sounds with your mouth… slowly turn it into phonetics…. “ahhhh – eeeeee – awwww…” they will copy you and when they get it wrong, show them in the mirror that their mouth isn’t the same shape as yours. They’ll mimic you and their speech does get better. Don’t try it once either, do it whenever they spend enough time with you in front of the mirror to hold their attention. When they aren’t interested, see what they are interested in instead, they don’t always need to be learning what you want them to learn, when you want them to learn it. Also, when reading words, stick your finger under each word and move it from left to right as you say the word. Helps kids to recognize the orientation of words in a sentence and they may improve at reading if they’re struggling with that… if that doesn’t work, remember that the brain doesn’t read from left to right (or right to left depending on where you are from) it only recognizes the first letter and the last letter of a word, all the other letters can be mixed up – the brain doesn’t care it reads in anagrams 🙂

  2. Scott says:

    Not to take anything away from your wonderful article, but we should be clear – Edison was also an evil bastard. He stole from geniuses and profited off their art (Meles) and science (Tesla). He was a shrewd businessman … but he’ll always be a villain in my book.

  3. Pam turner says:

    Thank you for Solutions not Excuses.
    I can relate, the “new” special ed director canceled all special day classes at my daughters HS, which left her vulnerable and bullied. So i had to hire an attorney to get the school district to reinstate the classes, which they did, (lamely without properly trained staff) , this traumatized her more. Then we were informed that next year these classes have been cancelled again. So we told the district to send her to a school where the staff is trained to bring out the optimum in these kids, not shut them down by using traditional antiquated methods. They are now paying her tuition at Oak Hill School in San Anselmo, CA. She starts next week. She will prosper and get a HS diploma. When we visited the school she felt right at home.

  4. nhokkanen says:

    What a wonderfully inspiring article! Thank you for reminding us that hard work plus potential equals miracles.

  5. Angela says:


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