I am the mother of twin boys diagnosed with Autism. Although my twins each are on the opposite ends of the spectrum, my struggle remains the same as every other parent with a child with autism. As a working parent in need of a trusting educational system, I found it difficult to find a safe and nurturing environment for my non-verbal child. While navigating through the diagnosis of autism is hard on any family, trusting someone with the care of your child with special needs is even more difficult.
My trust was shattered when my son was physically abused by those entrusted with his care. This physical abuse that was done to my son, led to him being homeschooled. While my son was being homeschooled, we were blessed to meet our bonus family member, Mr. Dan, who is a special education teacher that went above and beyond with my son’s education. He worked diligently to ensure Mason received a high-quality education. As my son started to thrive in the homeschooled environment, Mr.Dan and I discussed opening a learning academy that would cater to kids with unique needs. We wanted to provide a safe and nurturing environment that provided rigor in the educational program, social skills, occupational, speech, and music therapy. I am proud to say these conversations soon turned into reality and led me to start Mason’s Place Too, A home away from home for kids with autism.
Mr. Dan has instructed a wide range of children of all ages-moderately impaired individuals, severely/profoundly impaired individuals, and autistic impaired individuals in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, South Carolina, and Illinois. In this state, he has taught at Pathway School in Jacksonville, the Illinois Center for Autism in Fairview Heights, Mamie O. Stookey School in Belleville, and has been a home—bound instructor for an autistic boy in Fairview Heights. All of these students were cognitively delayed, motorically compromised, speech/language deficient, sensor limited, and socially/emotionally jeopardized.
In the past, “Mr. Dan” was granted “Teacher of the Year” status by the Michigan Society for Autistic Children and has attended virtually every national conference on autism since 1983. He also has served as the secretary for the Wisconsin Autism Society and has served on the board of the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek chapter of the Michigan Society for Autistic Children. He has earned abundant credits beyond his Master’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
“Mr. Dan” believes in the inherent autonomy of children, the recognition of individualistic aspects of, and relative strengths of any student, and adherence to the comprehensive individual educational plan of any child. He is adamantly opposed to the neurotypical dominance of ordinary people. “Mr. Dan’s” greatest goal is to have all children laugh, no matter what their disability might be.
“Mr. Dan” is also an artist, producing dream—like reverse acrylic paintings on lucite, characterized as “sublime images about profound ideas.” He realizes that art is an attempt to create non-functional objects or ideas, whereas special education is an attempt to make partially non-functional human beings more functional.
At Mason’s Place Too we consult with Psychiatrists to give our clients the best care possible.