I Have A Dream

On Tuesday James’ speech therapist showed him a video of Martin Luther King giving his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.  She did not tell him who it was or what it was about.  This is the conversation they had after he viewed the video.

Who wrote this speech?  MARTIN LUTHER KING
What is it about?  CIVIL RIGHTS
“Let’s discuss some vocabulary from the speech.”
What are manacles?  HANDCUFFS
What does poverty mean?  WITHOUT MONEY
What does discrimination mean?  TREATING PEOPLE DIFFERENTLY
“Five score years ago,” the opening phrase of King’s speech, is an allusion to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Why was this an appropriate and strong way for King to begin his speech? HE IS TALKING ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF BLACK PEOPLE JUST LIKE LINCOLN.
“James, how many years are in a score?”  TWENTY….“So, 5 score is…”  HUNDRED
One hundred years later, what did King feel was still “crippling” black people?  SEGREGATION
“I Have a Dream” was a persuasive speech meant to convey to King’s audience the need for change and encourage them to work for federal legislation to help end racial discrimination. If you had been in the crowd that day, do you think you would have been moved by King’s speech? Why or why not?   I WOULD HAVE BEEN MOVED BY THIS SPEECH BECAUSE IT WAS SO PASSIONATE.  I WAS STRUCK BY THE POWERFUL IMAGERY IN HIS WORDS.  LIFE WITHOUT RIGHTS IS NOT BEAUTIFUL.
Has discrimination ever affected your life? I HAVE NOT BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE OF MY RACE BUT I HAVE BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST FOR MY DISABILITY.  I HAVE BEEN TREATED LIKE I AM AN IDIOT.  I HAVE BEEN KEPT FROM ACCESSING A NORMAL EDUCATION.
What is your dream? Is there something within your world that you would like to see changed or improved upon? MY CIVIL RIGHTS DREAM IS TO HAVE EQUALITY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.  THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION THAT OUR NONDISABLED PEERS RECEIVE.  ONLY THEN WILL WE BE EQUAL.
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Jamesfucius!

James and his teachers talked more about Confucius this week.  Here is their discussion:

When Confucius was about 15 years old, he became quite interested in learning. In those days, only the nobility and royals were allowed education. All the teachers were government officials. It was hard for Confucius to find a way to learn, so he went to work for a nobleman. This gave him the opportunity to learn and to travel to the imperial capital.

What made it difficult for Confucius to pursue an education?  ONLY ROYALTY WERE EDUCATED

What was his solution?  WORKED FOR NOBLEMAN

Confucius studied and learned until he probably was the most learned man of his day. People heard of his knowledge and sent their sons to study with him. He was the first private teacher in China. Confucius taught anyone who was eager to learn. His ideas, called Confucianism, stress the need to develop responsibility and moral character through rigid rules of behavior.

How was Confucius different as an educator? EDUCATED ANYONE WHO WOULD WANT TO LEARN

What were the principles of Confucianism?  RESPONSIBILITY AND MORAL CHARACTER

Confucianism is not, properly speaking, a religion; it’s a way of behaving, so you’ll do the right things.

How does philosophy differ from religion?  RELIGION FOCUSES ON GOD, PHILOSOPHY FOCUSES ON LIFE AND KNOWLEDGE

The most important things to Confucius were peace and order. He felt that everyone had a proper role in society, and that if people were willing to accept their role and fulfill it, that peace and harmony would abound.

Why do you think peace and order are important for a society?  KEEPS SOCIETY RUNNING

What is your role in society?  MY ROLE IS TO BE A LEADER FOR PEOPLE WITH AUTISM TO GIVE THEM HOPE THAT THEY MAY FIND THEIR VOICE LIKE ME.

In order to help people accept their roles in society and establish order, Confucius laid out what he called ethics. These ethics outlined how individuals should treat one another. The most important of these ethics outlined the responsibilities of children to respect and listen to their parents and other elders. He also laid out ethics for how subjects should follow rulers, for how rulers should treat subjects, how husbands and wives should treat one another, and how friends should treat each other.

Give me one example of Confucius’ ethics.  LISTEN TO YOUR PARENTS!

What ethical principles guide your life?  BE KIND TO OTHERS

During his own lifetime, Confucius’ teachings were not widely accepted. However, within a hundred years they were being used by the emperor to help him rule, and eventually became a widely followed religion. Confucianism would remain a powerful force in Chinese history.

Here are some quotes by Confucius:
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.  PEOPLE INSIST ON MAKING LIFE MORE COMPLICATED THAN IT NEEDS TO BE.  “You are right, but you are essentially saying the same thing as the quote.  Can you elaborate or tell me in your own words?”  WE KEEP WANTING MORE THAN WE NEED.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.  EXPERIENCE IS A TOUGH TEACHER.  IMITATING SMART PEOPLE IS ONE WAY TO LEARN, BUT REFLECTION IS HOW WE CREATE MEANING.
Creative Writing:  What would Confucius think is the greatest challenge facing humankind right now?  HUMANKIND IS SUFFERING FROM EXTREME SELFISHNESS.  MANY PEOPLE HAVE WAY TOO MUCH WHILE SOME PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THE BASIC NECESSITIES.  CONFUCIUS WOULD NOT BE IMPRESSED WITH OUR WORLD TODAY.  HE WOULD TEACH US TO BE MORE CHARITABLE.

Shifting Perspectives

In the last two weeks James has gone from writing from the perspective of a poor Egyptian boy, an Egyptian Pharoah, a policy wonk in Washington (immigration paper) to this week’s writing on Ancient China.  His assignment was to imagine he was about to become the newest emperor of his dynasty and what his feelings and concerns would be as he prepared to be emperor. Things to consider, what is your dynasty? How old are you? What is happening in your dynastic era and how will it affect your position as emperor. Here is his essay:

AS THE NEXT HAN EMPEROR, I HOPE TO EXTEND OUR LEGACY. AS I AM ONLY 18, I PRAY THAT THE COUNTRY CAN DEPLOY ITS STRENGTHS.  MY FEAR IS GETTING INVADED. WE ALSO NEED GREATER ALLIANCES. EVEN NEW TRADE WILL NOT PREVENT INVASION. LET US CONTINUE CONFUSCIONISM INTO STRENGTH.

Winter Doldrums

Well even before we knew about this week’s predicted snowstorm James’ speech therapist decided to do a lesson on winter in an effort to shake off the winter doldrums all of us have been feeling. Here is their conversation, with James’ thoughts in capital letters.

Winter Quotes
“James, I am sooooo tired of this Winter!  I am tired of being cold, I am tired of snow, and I am tired of being sick!  I think that I need an attitude adjustment, so I looked for quotes about Winter that might make me feel a bit better about this Winter.” James grabbed my pencil and spelled, I AM TIRED OF WINTER TOO! So, on we went with our lesson in hopes of decreasing our cases of the Winter Doldrums!  
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”  – Lewis Carroll from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
THE SPRING ONLY DETERMINES OUR TIME ON IT TO A TIME (I am not sure exactly where he was going with this sentence.  It feels like he missed a word or two and then kept going) IT HAS TO SLEEP TO BLOOM.
“Laughter is the sun that drives Winter from the human face.” –Victor Hugo
SMILES WARM THE FACE.
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Anne Bradstreet
THE WINTER MAKES US APPRECIATE THE SPRING
“She enjoys rain for its wetness, winter for its cold, summer for its heat. She loves rainbows as much for fading as for their brilliance. It is easy for her, she opens her heart and accepts everything.”
Morgan Llywelyn, Bard: The Odyssey of the Irish
HAVE AN OPEN HEART TO LOVE EVERY MOMENT
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell
THE WINTER IS A TIME TO RECHARGE MENTALLY
“Experience life in all possible ways —
good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light,
summer-winter. Experience all the dualities.
Don’t be afraid of experience, because
the more experience you have, the more
mature you become.”  – Osho
EXPERIENCE ALL THAT LIFE HAS TO OFFER.  EVEN THE BAD THINGS TEACH US SOMETHING IMPORTANT.
At the end of our lesson, I asked, “Did these quotes help with a Winter attitude adjustment?”  I AM STILL TIRED OF WINTER BUT I UNDERSTAND WHY IT IS NECESSARY FOR US TO EXPERIENCE IT. 

 

An immigration plan for the U.S.

Last weekend James had the opportunity to work with Soma the inventor of Rapid Prompt Method (the method he uses to communicate). As is usual, it was enlightening and interesting.  Soma has all sorts of ways to teach a lesson and she can elaborate on almost any topic.  She likes to start with a short lesson and then take words from the lesson to get her students communicating. She asked James if he would like a business lesson and he said yes so she did a short lesson on  the Gross Domestic Product.  She explained that the GDP is made up of all the assets of a country,  above ground and underground! All the goods, services, roads, freeways, farms, bridges, anything you can practically think of.  James asked WHAT ABOUT HONDA CARS?  He wanted to know if the cars were made in Japan but bought here do they make up the US GDP or the Japanese GDP? This led to a discussion of US companies that make their products in China and other places where the labor is less expensive. They discussed Apple in particular since most of their products are made overseas. They then started talking about illegal workers, particularly migrant farm workers who are cheaper for our farmers but actually hurt the GDP because they do not pay taxes and often send their earnings back to their country of origin. James said I AM LIKING THIS DISCUSSION so Soma said why don’t  you wrap up by writing an immigration plan for President Obama? Here it is:

LIST OF THINGS TO CONSIDER WHILE PLANNING IMMIGRATION

  1.  WHEN PARENTS ARE NOT US CITIZENS THE CHILDREN MUST GO THROUGH THE PROCESS (of applying for citizenship).

  2.  GUEST WORKERS MUST HAVE A THREE MONTH WORK LICENSE (renewed every three months).

  3. IT MUST BE ILLEGAL TO BE HERE WITHOUT A VALID PERMIT. (Soma said this would be really hard to enforce!)

  4. I  THEREFORE ASK APPLE TO HIRE WORKERS IN THE US AND BE GOOD TO THE AMERICAN GDP. (good luck!)

James ended the session by saying I WANT TO JOIN POLITICS. I LIKE BLOOMBERG.  (ok, this shocked us!)