IT HAPPENED AGAIN😡. Today in my classroom there was another incident of a student calling another student autistic, in a negative way. I had to stop the class and educate them on autism, my son, and the fact that behavior like that is derogatory and will not be tolerated. To some of my students, autistic means dumb! I had to let them know how wrong they were in their thinking. It’s so unfortunate that this is happening more and more. We cannot stop the advocacy. Just think of how many other kids and adults that probably think this same way.
We are 5 weeks into the school year and so far MJ is doing great! He has been handling his homework well and still enjoys going to school. This school year he has art as an elective and so far he really seems to be enjoying that class. Soon he will begin his social skills class again as well as Swim Buddies! I will update again soon.
This is the second time in a year that I have heard one child say this to another child. It happened right in front of me and I had to use everything within my mind, soul, and body to remain as adult and professional as I could without “going off” on the child.
After taking a long, deep breath I explained to her that the statement was ignorant, rude, and offensive. I explained how intelligent Autistics are and how they think and see the world differently. I encouraged her to do some research. Then I proceeded to show her my huge autism pin along with two autism bracelets that I was wearing proudly!
It made me extremely sad for the entire day. I kept thinking, “Where are they getting this information from? Of all of the things that could have been said, why was “autistic” chosen?” It showed me that WE STILL HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO! If we want our kids to truly be accepted, then kids and adults must be educated about autism. I also wondered, why did I hear it? Is this something God wanted me to hear for a reason?
Towards the end of the day, the child did apologize but it didn’t change the way that I felt and still feel. MJ does not deserve a world that thinks so little of him.
Today is World Autism Awareness Day…But you wouldn’t know it. Save for my son’s school, I saw and heard nothing about the significance of the day. As I have stated before, I am a middle school educator. There was no mention of the day on the announcements, no posters, or other information hanging on the walls of the school, and other than myself, no one educating students about autism. This evidence suggests that the autism community has a lot of work to do. There are many students with autism in nearly all public schools nationwide. With the prevalence of bullying, you would think that schools would take the time to educate the students, faculty, and staff…but I guess that’s my job right? That’s why I have now dedicated my efforts to join with others locally, regionally, and nationally to bring greater awareness, tolerance, and appreciation to the world of autism…MJ deserves it.