Autism and the Autistic Spectrum

22 Nov

I am by day, a special needs teacher. I have always been one for supporting the underdog. 7 years teaching permanently excluded students in a pupil referral unit taught me to see the finer details, and judge progress on a whole new parameter.

Autism has always fascinated me. When I started my current post I was lucky enough to attend a TEACCH course and now I work with ASD students (among others). The student themselves have taught me so much about the ambiguities of speech, things I have never even thought about or considered before.

I did in fact take the Autism spectrum test on facebook:

http://apps.facebook.com/autismspectrumtest/?ref=bookmarks&count=0

My score was 34. I poo pooed it, did really read the writing on the top before i started, you know, like we all do. I told the ASD co-ordinator about it in school and she looked at me astounded and told me that test is actually very accurate. 80% of people in the test sample that had an aautism related disease scored 32 or higher.

What does that mean for me? Nothing. It was nothing i didnt expect to be honest, and those I work with didnt look that surprised either.

are you going to get a diagnosis?

Why should I? i know how my mind works, my husband knows that i need to know BEFORE hand what is happening, and I he says he will do something then doesn’t, that just might be a big curve ball for me. Why do I need a shrink to ‘officially’ give me the label?

Do YOU think I should?

What does sadden me is that not enough people understand or appreciate the difficulties surrounding Autism Spectrum Disease (ASD). There isn’t a leg missing, nothing can be seen on the outside, yet, ASD makes the sufferer very different. They see the world in a very different way to other people.

One of the most charismatic speakers I have ever seen (only on DVD sadly) is Temple Grandin. http://www.templegrandin.com/ who is a doctor, and has autism herself. She explains in a fantastically easy way to understand, what it has been like for her.

Ultimately, I wanted to share this poem with you. I found it on this site:

http://www.child-autism-parent-cafe.com/autism-students-in-inclusive-classrooms.html and I think it puts things beautifully. I assume from the source, that it is written by Ethan’s mother..
Autism Poem: I Am Ethan
I am Ethan.
You may not understand me, or the way I feel today.

You may not understand my reasoning for things I do or say.
The reasons why I’m so loud and say things over & over again,
Why I run so differently or lose my homework every now & then.
I write my letters backwards and sometimes numbers too,
and when in a conversation, I’ll say “Guess what” 100 times to you.
Too much noise, light, or excitement can set me in a spin.
I don’t like the way these pants feel rubbing against my skin.
I try to be good, but sometimes it’s hard to control,
I have to do it, it’s an impulse, I don’t always do what I’m told.
Ketchup, Ranch and BBQ sauce on everything I eat,
sometimes I have days that I just can’t sit still in my seat.
I like to talk a lot even when it’s out of turn,
my mind plays tricks on me and interrupts what I’m trying to learn.
Sit up straight, wipe my face, and play ever so soft,
some of these things I have trouble with and I usually lose my train of thought.
I didn’t mean to spill the milk mom, or slam the door so hard,
everyone else is done with their homework, I don’t know where to start?
My heart’s as big as gold, my feelings get hurt too,
I get sad, cry and have bad days just like you.
My brain works differently than other girls and boys,
but one thing always holds true, I can give your life so much joy.
I get frustrated so easily and my hand won’t work that way,
I don’t understand why those other kids won’t let me come over and play.
Please don’t think of me any differently or love of me any less,
I’m just like other kids and trying to do my best.
I am very special in my own unique way, and every moment with me
you’ll never have a dull day.
By Kelly Graham
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