Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blogging Against Disablism Day in 2007.....

I am going back to the early 1990's when I was teaching. I was a speech therapist for students with autism. We were housed on the 5th floor of a public school but we were not in the same District.

I had little boys who were 4.8 years old and so small climbing 5 flights...in the beginning took 40 minutes but they were protesting which who could blame them. But with positive reinforcement and tangible rewards they would get up in 10 minutes if that.

But the main problem at that school was no one explained to the typical children about Autism. Back then it was not known as it is now, most people did not know what autism was.

So my students would be walking up or down the stairs and the typical students would be on the stairs as well. But because of them not knowing anything about autism, they acted like our students had some type of contagious disease.

Part I blame on the teachers and part on the parents. So the other speech therapist and I took it upon ourselves to educate the students as well as their teachers about autism and what it means to be autistic.

After we took the time to explain about our students, the typical students wanted to come help out and volunteer in the class. Each class (we had 6) had gym with an age appropriate class.

Both classes learned from each other so turned out to be a win win situation with just a bit of education to explain differences .


Michelle said...

What a great story! All it took was for you and someone else to just explain and educate and look at the difference in those other students wanting to help out! Good for you!

jennifergg said...

I love this post! It's so important to remember that not all negative reactions are the result of mean intentions...sometimes it's simply ignorance. Education can go a long way to help with these types of situations.