A noted author and entrepreneur with autism shares strategies teachers can use to help their students on the autism spectrum grow.
When I was asked to write an article for this issue about teaching kids with autism, I thought, who better to tell that tale than me? I grew up with undiagnosed autism in the 1960s, so I have a first-person understanding of what it's like. I've also raised a child with Asperger syndrome, so I've seen autism from the parent's point of view. I jumped at the chance to offer my ideas in the hope that tomorrow's teachers may have more success than the ones who tried to educate me and my son.
A Special Kind of Teacher
The first step toward connecting and succeeding with kids with autism is to accept that we are different, not "difficult." Frankly, if you cannot get past this hurdle, one or the other of us needs to be in a different school. It is a rare autistic child who sets his mind on being difficult. However, if you are neurotypical, every autistic person sees the world very differently from you. That neurological difference may make it harder to teach us, but it's the situation that's challenging, not the person.