Autism & Honesty

Autism and Honesty - What's happening in the world of autism?

My name is Kevin Gersh and I welcome you to “Autism & Honesty”.  Those are two words that are seldom used one after the other because there is very little honesty in the Autism world.  People are always talking about what they know and what they don’t know.  I’ve been in this industry for 20 years  working with spectrum children in all capacities, from 18 months old through adulthood.  And I am sure that the one thing I DO know, is that I don’t know.  Every situation is different and every child needs something different.  And when you start grouping them together, and assuming you know what's right or wrong for this population, I believe you have lost your edge. 


My blog is going to speak about various different topics from diagnosis to legal representation, to what the school districts tell you (including the lies and truths that are being told to the public). We are going to discuss openly and honestly about what’s happening in the world of Autism.  While I am not a doctor or professor, I am an expert in this field.  I know these children, they’ve been to my schools, and I think it’s time we pull back the curtain and look at the strings.  Our society is not addressing the rudimental issues of this population.  I have seen the amazing work these men and women can do and how successful they can become with a conducive educational environment.  But unfortunately our students don’t get a chance or a fair shot at being the individuals they can be, and I hope to change that over the span of my life.  Autism & Honesty – Let’s start talking.

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Hilary Topper May 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Looking forward to reading more!
Michele Caro May 23, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Hey fellow blogger--long time no see. Hope you are doing well and I wish you the best of luck!
Lisa Feit June 12, 2012 at 08:12 AM
As a parent of a child at Gersh Academy in Hauppauge, I want to thank you, Mr. Gersh for putting this blog out here, and for all you have done for my son in the past year and for all you will continue to do for autistic children, teens and adults. As an Aspie and the mother of Aspies, I can tell you that you are right. We don't know. We only learn. Every single day. And there is so much misinformation out there. And there is so much dishonesty, from trusted adults, from trusted institutions, from trusted scholars. All I know about autism is my own personal experience and my own personal journey and all I know about myself is based upon what I have learned from my 2 sons and from my hero, Ms. Temple Grandin. Thank you Kevin Gersh for putting it out there...that we need to talk, that we need to listen, that our children can be our best teachers and that we need honesty! I'm looking forward to following this blog! Thank you so very much for all that you do each and every day to make my son's life better and to make the lives of the students that you touch better! Thank you for making a difference!!! :)
Kevin Gersh June 18, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Mrs. Feit, I want to thank you for your kind words, you are 100% correct. I do know that “we don’t know.” And when people start admitting what they don’t know, then they open themselves up to learning. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for parents to speak to an Aspy adult and to have the first-hand experience of a mother who’s honest and open about their journey. So many people can learn from your experiences and I hope other parents of children on the spectrum take this wonderful opportunity to speak with you and to ask you questions. This is what this forum is for. I wanted to do this blog because I want to be open and honest and talk about the things that no one talks about. Thank you for being involved in this open and honest communication about Autism. Autism and Honesty. Kevin Gersh
Toni-Anne Carulli June 24, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Your words ring very true Mr. Gersh "we do not know". We do not know what causes ASD, and we do not know what cures ASD. In the past 18 years of my sons life I have learned something new everyday, about his disorder, about his education, about the services and agency’s that serve our community, and about the way people who are not aware treat a person with ASD. Every individual is different, his or her symptoms and needs are as individual as any typical person. There is so much to know!! The one thing that I think I have learned is that we as parents must Advocate for our special needs children, as nobody knows their child and their individual needs as does their parent. There are many areas that need improving, from education in the public sector, to health care, to awareness and so much more. Thank you for providing us with a means of communication where we can be honest and open!
Kevin Gersh July 02, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Dear Toni-Anne Carulli, I couldn’t agree with you more that the parents are the most important advocates in an ASD child’s journey. I’ve been working with this population for over 20 years and been rather successful because we don’t follow any one rule. When it works we keep doing it and when it doesn’t work, we change it. It seems pretty simple and like common sense. But unfortunately common sense is not so common, especially when you’re dealing with all of the professionals who know everything. I always say to my parents and to my staff - as soon as you think you know how to help a child with ASD, that’s when you’ve lost your edge. Because every day they change. One day something works and the next day it doesn’t, so you have to continually change your perspective and look at it through the child’s skill deficits. It is so important for us to identify who they are, not who we want them to be. We must understand who they are today and determine what skills we can give them to develop the muscles they need in order to help them navigate our world. I always wonder what our world would look like if everyone had autism and I was the only one who didn’t. Autism & Honesty, Kevin Gersh
Toni-Anne Carulli July 05, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Hi Mr. Gersh That is an understatment! Yes everyday they change, that should be the first thing taught to a parent who receives a diagnosis of ASD. As infants ASD children react differently to different "situations" as do toddlers and teens. As their minds and body’s grow and as their hormones change so do their reactions to the same "situations" sensory and/or behavioral. It is the same as with any normally developing children who also change as they grow, just in different ways. As an example my son as any other boy does reached puberty, he never had any signs of OCD prior to reaching puberty not even any "ticks" such as lining things up etc. His OCD evolved and turned out to be very severe and disruptive to his life. We went from teaching him different methodologies of learning such as ABA and TEACH to helping him over come and cope with the OCD through CBT. I wish someone had advised me that this could happen at this age, I would have been much better prepared. I later found out that this is not uncommon for someone on the ASD spectrum. I agree, we have to change as they do, both their deficits and skills will change and we as parents need to change along with them in order to find what will help them the most with navigating our world. I too have also wondered through the years what our world would look like if everyone had autism and I was the only one who didn't...I have a feeling it would be a much better place as they are so innocent and special.


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