Please hear my plea. Question everything you know about teaching autistics. Accountability is near and the trying times must vanish from all schools. I was a person who didn’t matter, because I couldn’t speak. Mastering movement and speech is difficult, but never having a chance to learn is heart wrenching!
Much can be said about how I spent my time back at my old school. Activities were motivated by keeping all the autistics occupied. People said loosely that I made meek attempts at reading, but my aides never gave me a chance. Many students I saw were treated like nuisances because they couldn’t slow down their mind like some of the kids. People looked at me like I didn’t matter, yet I don’t pale in comparison to them. Teachers need autistics to bring talk to another level of thinking. Treating all their students with the same respect is taking “talking about inclusion” from the theory, to the practical.
When teachers look at us like losers, because the “rule makers” often do, it makes us give up on trying. Many times, lessons wore me out because they were too easy. More math calculations need learners to be engaged, and not bored, because we are intelligent and deserve better. My right as a human is to have an education and to be lauded with challenging and interesting learning opportunities. Look at us as thinking, sentient learners and not mute!
Panic stricken teachers often have no idea how to teach non-speaking students. Fear is high with teachers who used to only teach neurotypical kids. Try to face the fear of failure and teach anyways. Looks may be deceiving. Laughing can mean leering, especially when meaningful teachers, particularly in elementary school, think that the child is cute. They assume lots of things that aren’t true. Teaching a teenager, the autistic bible of task oriented, passive learning does little to stimulate the mind. You best teach him the same as you would anyone who wants to learn. Think of this sadly misunderstood fact: lack of speech does not equal lack of intelligence.
Lastly, I feel that there is a higher power at work and that he’s looking straight at you. Do you want to be passive or part of the solution?