Celin on Facebook (who is also a friend from bible college) asked me for some tips to help aspie kids in the classroom.
I was blessed to have teachers who were pretty observant when I first started school. In fact I’m pretty sure it was their original observations that lead to my diagnosis in the first place.
However I remember when it came to things like too much noise or coping with social interaction I was pretty much left to my own devices for the most part. At the time I hated it but I’m glad that I learned to deal with it. If noises were loud I would just cover my ears, simple as that. I learned that as much as I would have appreciated more proactive steps from teachers to make my environment less stressful I was able to toughen up a little. This sounds kind of harsh but it’s true.
I wasn’t neglected though, not at all. I remember there was a time when I was told I could escape to the class storeroom whenever I wanted if things got too overwhelming. I could go there during class if I wanted but I only ever went there during breaks because I didn’t want to miss out on class. That just would isolate me further. Plus I would have less social interaction so it was a good idea in theory but not in practice. I appreciated my teacher’s thought though.
If there is one big tip I could give teachers who have kids on the spectrum in their class it would be this. Don’t take out your own stress on them. If you don’t handle stress well – don’t teach aspie kids.
There was one event in third grade I will never forget. I was acting up for reasons I don’t remember. Maybe I was being bullied or something. My teacher must have been having a bad day because she screamed at me and locked me in the storeroom (different storeroom, different school) I remember kicking and screaming for who knows how long. I don’t remember what I did wrong or what lesson that punishment was supposed to teach me. I learned later that the teacher was having some kind of breakdown.
So I guess what I’m saying is don’t single aspie kids out. Yes they have specific needs but don’t make them feel different in a negative way. Try to include them and encourage them to participate as much as you can. They may hate you at the time but be grateful for it in adulthood.
I’m sure practices have changed in schools these days – or at least I hope so. I hope they encourage social interaction and creativity. Aspies are capable of being social they’re just slower learners. Just try your best to be encouraging – not forceful.
I hope my ramblings are somewhat helpful.