Betsy Devos’ nomination and (likely) confirmation as Secretary of Education ushers in a new era of autism advocacy. Many autism advocates malign Ms. Devos’ inexperience, lucrative political campaign contributions, and misunderstanding of IDEA. However, I welcome these obvious flaws to a candidate overseeing (autism) education. History is on our side. Specifically, I point to:
Brown v Board of Education, and the power of litigation to redress social disjunction.
To be clear, nobody really “wins” any lawsuit. Presumed damages have occurred, we resurrect painful memories in court, and lots of money goes to shark lawyers. What other options might we have before filing suit?
Ask Hillary Clinton the value of popular votes in an election.
Ask #BlackLivesMatter how many African-Americans still suffer police brutality.
Ask Planned Parenthood how well 78,000 signatures persuaded the Speaker of the House.
I believe our advances for inclusive education, employment, healthcare and housing will fall flat if we plan to reinvent broken wheels. I’ll invoke the definition of “insanity” and compare our advocacy techniques to other failed examples. We need a new approach under a new political administration. Having obviously-flawed candidates, like Devos, helps us.
By his own words, President Trump does not understand autism. I doubt Devos understands autism, based on her confusion about IDEA. We’ve no openly-autistic representative in Congress- none. If we believe billionaires lead our county, we must also accept how well they fear and know the word, “lawsuit.” Many build and protect their fortune and influence on this word.
If we cannot have discussions about autism with autistic leaders, we must use language our leaders know. “Charity?” “Compassion?” “Empathy?” “Inclusion?” Do these words best describe Trump or his Education nominee? We may as well speak Japanese to them, but we have history on our side to invoke business terms. “Lawsuit” means action.
I’m waiting for 2017’s autism-based version of Brown v Board of Education. This is how we slay the giants of misunderstanding- one, well placed lawsuit to destroy their credibility and strip them of misguided power. We strike a blow against their fortune now and in the future; will organizations readily side with someone named in a SCOTUS lawsuit? My approach is non-violent, doesn’t require a large following, leapfrogs media value, and is multicultural in acceptance and execution. We skip what has been tried, and has failed. If we’ve had the presumably best advocates before Devos, I question the quality of our advocacy today. Devos gives us the best recourse for positive change if she doesn’t do a good job. If she fails us, like many suspect, I’ve outlined a peaceable solution using the foul language of the Economic Elite.
Please, give us Devos. I hope she does an excellent job. If not, you call your Congressional representative; I’ll call a (fame-and-fortune seeking) lawyer, of which there are more than Congressional representatives. Which phone call will affect the most positive outcome? Which call will force change? Which call will make Devos shake in her Pradas?
1. ACTION: The Zephyr sits behind a teacher’s desk in a generic high school classroom. Place Items commonly associated with teachers (ie: pencil, textbook, shiny apple, etc.) on the desk. Smiling, the Zephyr appeals to the readers as he introduces new thoughts about (autism support) special education, economics, and long-term planning.
ZEPHYR: Good day, citizen! I want to share fantastic news about new initiatives for individuals with autism. Together, we can literally change the FACE of public schools’ special needs education.
CAPTION: Kids need and want heroes like themselves!
2. ACTION: The Zephyr stands in front of a group of professional adults in a classroom. His audience includes teachers, psychologists, and parents. Behind the Zephyr, the chalkboard shows an expression of sadness (similar to what Myra drew in Issue #2), complete with reference lines to the quantification of the emotion. At least one (female) adult-student raises their hand to signify a question.
ZEPHYR: We see how an expression of ‘sadness’ looks. This expression is multicultural. People of any age or gender show sadness in the same way.
CAPTION: Studying facial feature recognition allows people to correctly and universally identify, name, and contextually place their own and others’ emotional expressions.
3. ACTION: The “teacher” who raised their hand (see above) now instructs a small class of young children at their desks. She points to a same/similar expression (sadness? anger?) on the chalkboard. This teacher also looks toward a student with their hand raised, now. An analog clock on the wall reads 9:15am.
TEACHER: That’s correct! Let’s use the word “angry” or “sad” instead of “upset.” If we use the same vocabulary for the short list of emotions, we’ll all clearly understand.
CAPTION: Teachers and direct-care staff can be taught and subsequently re-teach uniform expressions. Using social learning theory, graduate-level staff can bill third-party payers at group therapy rates.
INTERIOR – ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE – DAY
4. ACTION: An administrator sits behind a desktop computer. A stack of papers in an “OUTBOX” piles up (indicating opportunities to have multiple billings).In the “INBOX,” place stacks and wads of cash!
CAPTION: This model is the first non-partisan test of the Affordable Care Act. Even if only using ACCESS, this model offers an additional, insulated funding stream to education from insurances.
CAPTION: National averages for group therapy range $35-$85 per hour. In a month, one special needs classroom could generate about five hours of billable services about emotional identification and appropriate social reactions.
EXTERIOR – SCHOOL PLAYGROUND – DAY
1. ACTION: Children play on jungle gyms, shoot basketballs into a hoop, and a couple of kids surround a water fountain (outside) because we imply lots of activity and need for hydration. A teacher (or more) supervise the energetic kids during recess.
CAPTION: With insurance dollars, schools could re-invest into academic textbooks and supplies, or new equipment for the betterment of all students.
2. ACTION: A typical man holds a check for a million dollars, payable to “TAXES.” Standing next to him, the Zephyr holds out a hand to indicate halt/stop. He shakes his head “no,” with multiple heads turning in action of no, with motion lines. A child runs by the pair, holding a balloon and bouncing a colorful playground ball.
CAPTION: …without raising a single dime against the average taxpayer. This plan promises to net several hundreds or several thousands of dollars to invest in education!
CAPTION: Research about facial feature recognition is well-vetted in peer-reviewed literature. Most graduate-level helping professionals and insurances recognize the utility and value behind social learning theory, too.
INTERIOR – BANK – DAY
3. ACTION: An individual wearing a fine three-piece suit offers the same female teacher (see above) a briefcase. Bursting with money, bills lay pinched and trapped in the closed briefcase, with a few dollars floating and falling away.
CAPTION: With careful investments, these monies could be invested and protected under FDIC regulations. Even a modest investment rate, multiplied by each billing classroom, provides a new economic practice.
INTERIOR – CLASSROOM – DAY
4. ACTION: The Zephyr sits behind a desk. The briefcase (see above) also sits opened on his desk. Around him are several people of different backgrounds. They all wear t-shirts with a label to identify them, so “TUITION” speaker wears a t-shirt labeled, “TUITION.” The Zephyr hands money to each person like he were an many-armed octopus.
ZEPHYR: Who needs a tax-free grant?
TUITION: I do! I’ve to pay for books this semester.
THERAPY: My insurance won’t cover equine-assisted therapy this year.
HOUSING: My landlord asked for a deposit if I was serious about this new apartment.
TRAINING: Our classroom needs more puppets to teach facial feature recognition.
CAPTION: Wise investments over time allows schools to build interest on their original capital. These funds could be offered as non-profit, tax-free grants!
INTERIOR – CLASSROOM – DAY
1. ACTION: From the teacher’s POV, students sit in their seats. Several students’ thought balloons betray their facial expressions.
CAPTION: Teachers and direct-care staff will learn to spot facial features of their students.From this identification, we can work together to overcome individual challenges.
SAD BOY: I miss my dog. I hope our runaway comes home tonight…
AFRAID BOY: Those kids always wait to tease me during gym class…
SURPRISE GIRL: I didn’t know there was going to be a test today! Oh-no Oh-No Oh-NO!
ANGRY BOY: Just wait til I get my hands on those kids spreading rumors…
2. ACTION: One meek boy hides behind a row of library book shelves. His eyes peer in the direction of a monstrous bully. This peer bully has a bull’s head (minotaur), and balled his fists as he swings them through the air. In his wake are a series of drop-kicked books, overturned tables, etc. This bully is on the warpath!
CAPTION: …as well as empower students to navigate social situations. At its core, autism is a social communication condition. We’ll give kids more information about human behavior and build predictive empathy.
BULLIED BOY THOUGHT BALLOON: I’ll have to tell the teacher about Billy’s bullying behavior. In the meanwhile, I should stay away from him while he clearly looks angry!
3. ACTION: A small girl smiles and extends her hand to a boy who smiles at her.
GIRL: You seem happy. Would you like to be my friend?
CAPTION: In elementary schools, our curriculum includes basic buildings of genuine friendships and skills to combat sadness or anger outbursts.
4. ACTION: In a traditional woodshop classroom, two young adults and a teacher banter by a band-saw (complete with cutting safeguards, their safety goggles, etc.)
KID 1: You seem to understand this assignment better than I do. Will you please show me how to operate the power saw?
KID 2: In our last project, you taught me about electric circuits, and I passed the test. I’d be happy to help!
TEACHER: Great examples of teamwork, kids!
CAPTION: For older students, facial feature recognition helps to build pre-professional relationships. Kids begin to identify how people can help, and who may be most receptive to offering said help.
1. ACTION: This splash page shows the Zephyr surrounded by many children of various ethnicities, ages, and abilities. Do not be afraid to depict diversity in learning, including physical challenges like arm canes, wheelchairs, glasses, braces, etc. All of the kids show either 1) feigned happiness, 2) genuine happiness, or 3) neutral expressions. A teacher, a parent, or other loving adult also looks at the Zephyr with awe.
ZEPHYR: Let’s review what facial feature recognition can do for your school’s special needs (autism support) classrooms:
CAPTION: Build vocabulary to consistently learn multicultural, universal emotional expressions.
CAPTION: Empower kids to recognize their own feelings, and emotions of their peers. By building predictive empathy, we dispel a damaging myth about autism’s lack of reciprocal emotions.
CAPTION: Create insulated funding streams from third party payers.
CAPTION: Grow capital through long-and-short-term investments for immediate educational projects or post-graduate assistance.
CAPTION: Reduce bullying by limiting victimization tactics and spotting problematic behavior as it stews.
ZEPHYR: Based on the success of our international award-winning comic book – the world’s first to FEATURE a hero with autism – we’ve global advocacy groups interested in our research. We’re reaching the first generation of autistic students…with a comic book. Take a deeper look at the science we use on two-dimensional pages.
KID (PICK ANY ONE): Ask how you can help us!
Copyright (C) 2015, Autism at Face Value
Email: Angie@faceValue.US email
Autism Awareness – Meet the World's 1st Comic Book Hero with Autism!