Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rant on...

In response to a comment on Inside Ed that stated that having an autistic kid in your class gets you a nomination for Teacher of the Year. Changes/clarifications shown in italics:

- snip (a preamble related to the original post and other comments)

The presence of autistic kids in your class is not a cross to bear that gets you nominated for sainthood. Now, if you actually do something positive with that kid, say differentiate instruction and testing to help them get something out of your class; if you educate yourself and the neurotypical kids in your class about autism and gain some empathy; if you provide a safe social situation for your autistic student and keep other kids from harassing or beating that kid...then you're a successful teacher of an autistic student. But, given the number of autistic students and the goal, one would hope, of having all of them in decent placements, this will not qualify you as exceptional; there should be too many teachers like this. If that's all it takes, I wish I had known and I would have nominated the teacher (and school and IEP team) who's doing all that for my autistic kid.

I am sick to death of the idea that it's a drag to have an autistic kid in your life. I've got one in mine and it's a privilege. I can't tell you all the things I've learned that are useful in dealing with so many other things than my autistic kid. I truly believe in inclusive education, but not in schools or with teachers that see my kid as a burden. With that off my chest maybe I can get back to my job.

Sorry, one more thing - don't assume that Mr. Greer (the Baltimore City Teacher of the Year that the blog post was about) has no autistic/aspergers kids in his class unless you have gone through his last 7 years worth of 503's and IEP's. You might be surprised at the number of smart and academically successful kids who are on the autism spectrum, of course that would mean that you quit making assumptions about autistic kids.

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