Get off Your A$k, Government: Autism Education Reform

Dear Pennsylvanian Congressmen Mike Doyle, Scott Perry, and Seth Grove:

My name is Dave Kot, an autistic constituent living in York, PA. Perhaps you remember me? We met to discuss small business practices, and educational/therapeutic implications behind our internationally-award winning comic book. Now, I offer to help our government during a time of budgetary needs, when special education funding stands at risk.

Maybe I lost your interest with words like “autistic” or “comic book.” Typically, these two things wouldn’t seem complimentary. Certainly, most people would not opt for either adjective as a default prerequisite. Maybe you don’t want my help, and prefer to banter between Governor Tom Wolfe while our state budget – and intended beneficiaries of ear-marked funds – hang in the balance. I ask you to presume greater competence from an adult with autism, and continue reading for a probable solution.

Digital Camera
My apologies for the format of the photograph- I will upload a new picture of the award in the near future, showing its spiffy wood carvings!

This picture shows me holding an international award from Canada, which I received on last week. It recognizes my application of science to assist young readers with autism identify others’ emotions, to improve some social situations. Don’t you find it easier to negotiate with people who smile instead of scorn? Think back- who taught you what anger, or fear, or disgust looked like? Our comic helps readers identify these emotional states by themselves or with help. NBC Nightly News featured this work last year.

However, our non-profit mission goes far beyond comic books. Last year, my scientific application of facial feature recognition was recognized by the academic community. Unsolicited by me, an accredited medical journal (Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities) warmly reviewed the comic for my claims and validated my doctorial studies. To my knowledge, ours is the world’s first comic book to be critically reviewed by unbiased third parties for inclusion in a medical journal.

Do I have your attention, yet? Does it matter that I am also clinically diagnosed with autism (technically, “Asperger’s Syndrome”)? Do years of graduate and post-graduate work matter? Do several international awards and prominent global grass-roots leaders within my circles matter? Does inclusion in a medical journal matter? If none of these things matter to you, I lay my ‘trump’ card (no relation):

Join us. I’ve developed fantastic relationships. This spring, the Dover Area School District Supervisor (Kenneth Cherry) and Supervisor of Special Education (Dave Depew) and our team will meet. We will begin formulating special needs curriculum using the exact same scientific theory about which I wrote. Does this invitation interest you? How about now, Congressmen:

Last spring, the Dover Areas School District School Board unanimously voted to adopt facial feature recognition (read: the science behind our comics) as part of its special needs classroom initiative. Some people may think, “…what does that vote have to do with me?”

Expert analysis by people I consider smarter than myself predict how implementation of facial feature recognition could be used to GAIN about $1,000 to $1,500 PER classroom PER district PER year. Would you like to know how? This answer will require an in-depth presentation of materials, like my wife and I offered the Dover Area School District. Suffice to say, this net increase to special education can occur without adding ONE cent to the typical taxpayer, and insulates itself against future federal or state budget changes or cuts. Over time, analysis suggests how Dover Area School District will be the first school district able to offer graduating students with special needs a tax-free grant for further education or other personal costs. Imagine- just by implementing my well-vetted research, we could offer a high school senior money for college textbooks, or a new suit for job interviews, etc. We also push school choice by offering competitive education.

Would you prefer to affect positive change for students and families with special education needs, or do you prefer the political stalemate and barbs between yourselves and Governor Tom Wolfe? Please make no mistake- I am largely non-political and don’t care who gets credit for this work. We can and should share in good news, regardless of political affiliation. However, things could be done faster with Pennsylvania’s Congress (and the U.S. Congressional Autism Congress?) in tune with this proposed goal, to replicate it wherever it may be useful.

Congressmen, I invite you to witness scientific, economical, and educational change poised to happen under your watch in your respective areas of governance. I thank you for your assistance in my business matters, your praise for my work as an adult with autism, and now offer to pay it forward to help our community and state. Will you accept my invitation and lay down rhetoric for real change? Will you trust a person with autism who offers valid options for change? In closing, I’ll simply invoke the name of Temple Grandin- a fellow academic professional with autism whose autism allowed her to see things differently and whose courage changed an entire way of business. I am not Temple Grandin, but I am Dave Kot. I can help you help Pennsylvanian and United States’ special education programs.

Please continue the discussion via this social media source, or email us at: Angie@FaceValue.US

Thank you for your time and interest, and Happy New Year!

Be well,

Dave Kot

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