Today we had the honor of facilitating Experience Autism for a middle school class in West Virginia.
My “Ah Ha!” moment happened at the very beginning of class.
I asked, “Who has heard the word ‘autism’?” Every hand went up.
I asked, “Who knows someone with autism?” Every hand went up.
I asked, “Who can tell me what autism is?” Not one hand went up.
Today we didn’t “raise awareness” about autism. Clearly even 7th graders are aware of it.
No. Today we helped one class understand autism. There is a big difference between the two.
By going through the activities in the experience, these kids were able to actually encounter some of the challenges faced by people on the autism spectrum. They dealt with tactile issues. They learned what it was like to need a picture to complete a task when words simply made no sense. They struggled … Read More »
This is our second video to help educate those of us who are neuro-typical to understand what those who have autism experience. We believe it is important to “taste” what the children deal with in order to help them cope.
We take normalcy for granted. Millions of bits of data and sensory input surround us every minute; yet, we instinctively know how to filter and focus without thinking about it, much like we do not think to make hearts beat or eyes blink.
People born with Autism do not process their surroundings as most do; it is physically (mechanically, chemically) impossible for them to do so. Over time, adults have learned how deal with the overwhelming episodes, but have historically had to do so on their own. To help children who happen to have autism, we need to understand what they experience. Understanding breeds compassion.
Things educators should know about what the parents, not just the child, need.
1) I’m sorry.
I will be saying this to many of you many, many times over the next 10 years. I will say this to you probably weekly, if not more. And I really am. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry because I am the reason you have my child in your class. I fought for him to be mainstreamed because all of the doctors and specialists told me that being in the least restrictive environment among peer models would be best for my son’s development.
I’m sorry because I know that you aren’t trained for this.