Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Autistics Speaking Day: On Understandings
Leeanne Marshall Autistics Speaking Day: On Understandings from oneautisticperson
So, it is the 1st November 2017, meaning it is Autistics Speaking Day 2017. The following is my blog post on understandings from an Autistic perspective. I hope people enjoy reading.
I am 6 years old.
I am 6 years old and I am in music lesson with the rest of my class. A person in my class has answered “pig” to a question and it is clearly the wrong answer. I do not find this funny but because the rest of my class is laughing I laugh as well. The music teacher then tells me off for picking on another student. I go quiet and decide to never speak in that class again.
I am 6 years old and I understand that my music teacher is unfairly picking on me.
I am 8 years old.
I am 8 years old and in my classroom after lunch on Friday. As usual, I am writing down everything on the blackboard that I had not managed to finish writing during the week. Four other students are also writing down everything they had not finished writing during the week, it is always us. The rest of the students who have finished writing are enjoying free time, doing whatever they want.
I am 8 years old and I understand that I am being punished for not being able to write at the same pace as most students.
I am 13 years old.
I am 13 years old and have written a story in my English book. Like everyone in my class, I now must type up that story in a word document. I type much slower than most of my class, it is not on purpose I am just slow. Most of the class now have free time on the computer while a few of us are still typing. One of my peers has noticed how little progress I have made and offers to help. Our teacher stops her from helping.
I am 13 years old and I understand my teacher wants me to struggle.
I am 15 years old.
I am 15 years old and am in a compulsory Home Economics class. Once again, I do not see the point taking this class because I am not going to eat what we have been forced to cook. Once again, the group I am assigned to has just made me wash dishes to get me out of the way and I do not mind. Once again, the rest of my class seems to be enjoying the practical cooking lesson.
I am 15 years old and I understand that I am different from my peers since I am the only person consistently not eating the cooked food and the only person that is happy to just wash dishes.
I am 16 years old.
I am 16 years old and just got out of my first photography class. I am meant to be taking the photography class as an elective for the semester, but I have encountered a problem. The smell of the photography classroom is bad and I spent the entire lesson concentrating on continuing to breathe. I did not hear one word of what the teacher said and I do not recall the name of the teacher. I make an appointment to see the school counsellor as soon as possible to enrol in a different topic.
I am 16 years old and I still understand I am different since I was the only person affected by the photography classroom smell.
I am 18 years old.
I am 18 years old and just got back from a follow-up appointment with a neuro-psychologist. The neuro-psychologist told me that I have Asperger syndrome. I immediately start looking up information about Asperger syndrome. I learn about sensory issues and social issues.
I am 18 years old and I understand why I am different.
I am 23 years old.
I am 23 years old and am completing a teaching degree. In the teaching degree, we are learning about ways to make sure students have completed tasks. It occurs to me that my grade 3 teacher was probably not punishing me for not being able to write as fast as other students. It was probably her method of ensuring I had the necessary information and completed the necessary tasks.
I am 23 years old and I understand that some of my past understandings have been wrong.
I am 27 years old.
I am 27 years old and I am writing a post for Autistics Speaking Day 2017. As I am writing it, it occurs to me that some of my present understandings are still likely to be wrong.
I am 27 years old and I understand that my understandings may change.
The reason I have written this post for Autistics Speaking Day is largely because, in the past, I have not understood the intentions of my teachers. This is not my fault since it is hard to know the intentions of people when people are not making it clear what their intentions are. If any teachers of Autistic students are reading this, my message to you is that I hope you are making it clear why certain things in your classroom are happening ……. so less misunderstandings occur.
The same goes for anyone who works with Autistic people in other contexts.