‘I HATE being Autistic!’

23 Mar

A student at school said this yesterday. What do you say in response? Its a tricky one. 

As a teacher, I can teach ASC students the skills they lack as a result of being autistic. I can teach them about social skills, about themselves, about recognising emotions. I can teach them to understand that they DO have control of their behaviour. 

What is a bit more tricky is teaching a student to accept who they are. 

I remember as a kid, I always wanted something different. I wanted to be shorter (I was feet taller than everyone else) I wanted to be more shapely, I wanted to be better at PE, I wanted to be more in with the in crowd. This is all perfectly normal. I didn’t ever think I didn’t want to be me though. I never wished I was someone else. Thinking that must be really difficult to deal with. 

I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like being autistic, and all the world around you looking so alien. Temple Grandin explains it really well, but still, I am not them so how would I know. 

How do you teach someone to be happy with who they are? Is that something a teacher should do? If it isn’t, who’s job is that? When you are born with a physical disability you are usually given a network of support that follows you as you grow up. For example, I friend has a child with a cleft palate. They have a plastic surgeon who will follow them as they grow up. I have to say, I do not know why it cannot be any different for Autism. So many of the parents I deal with have such issues getting help and support, surely that should come as a given right, along with the ASC diagnosis? So what, you cannot SEE autism, but it is still there.

 

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