I am both saddened and excited today….
It is always so exciting to go into a class to catch up with an autistic child who is starting to blossom, becoming confident in themselves and their interactions with the world.
And, it is always distressing for me to observe instances where an autistic child is being misunderstood or not valued, squashing their confidence and potential. These instances are what have driven me to set up this blog, write a book (over the next 4 months) and complete my PhD in the effective teaching of students on the autistic spectrum.
Being an aspie (someone with Aspergers) I have an autistic brain, I am hard wired in the same way as the children, young people and adults on the autistic spectrum that I support. Being a teacher, I understand the requirements of the curriculum, school and national policies, and the realities of the classroom. This puts me in the rare position of understanding both sides. (Yes, I’ve also been the parent nagging the school to meet my step-child’s needs)
What my doctoral research found was that teachers who did not understand the true potential of autistic students were unable to teach to that potential, thus limiting the possibilities for that child, and worse this can also impact of the self-esteem, confidence and mental health of the child. The autistic brain is very different from a neuro-typical (non-autistic brain), and the way that we autistics experience, interact and respond to the world is correspondingly different. My goal in life is to help others, particularly educators, understand and accept as valid the autistic way of being.
It is my belief that this will open up the healthy possibilities available to autistic children as they grow into autistic adults, with confidence and acceptance of themselves and their value in the world.