ParaEducate had no intention posting early and then, this flashblog opportunity showed up. And in light of recent events, ParaEducate could not pass this up. A big thank you to Gretchen Leary for organizing this flashblog. ParaEducate will publish our official last blog of the academic school year on Thursday as scheduled.
It seems all too commonplace lately: a mass shooting. Victims dead and severely injured. And all you can do is sit on the side, and send your sympathies to the families who lost their loved ones.
And then the media, who come armed with information start sending out whatever they can find, whatever is shared by the police or people who know the victims.
And I brace for the news. A few times I have turned it off. As someone who spends nearly 18 hours a day tagged into some sort of media, even respectable outlets that I trust and are deeply ethical, in the pursuit of helping people who are stunned and looking for answers, they forget something: a disability is not a crime.
After every major event, I look back at my students. Not because I think they are going to cause violence, but because I want to wait for the questions that might come up. And for the most part, due to the fact that my students seem to act as though the world beyond school and their home don’t exist, I don’t have to talk about these hard questions.
I do spend that first day saying, “If you ever need to talk at school, you know I’m here for you.”
But after all of that, I need to let the general public know a few things about what it means to work in public education with students with Autism.
I worry briefly that their classmates might look at my students differently and ostracize them more. And then I see students who have always been kind and genuine friends to my students become stronger allies for my students.
I know my students are funny.
A student who avoids doing work wrote that he did not have to follow a rule.
My students work hard to want to be a part of the world they are in.
I know my students are making choices daily.
A student who finally admitted he liked girls ask a girl if she wouldn’t mind getting a soda with him at the dance and he buys her the soda and then walks away with a smile on his face.
A student who spent forty minutes avoiding group work in a corner of the room stimming comes over and sits with his group and says, “I know what would be really cool for this project.”
I know my students are going to be great contributors to the world they will inherit.
“What if someone made a machine that moves trees so people can have shade?” one asked after a long hot day in PE.
“I want more animals on my game project.”
Autism is not a crime. I benefit every day and I hope my students benefit every day from interactions with each other.
ParaEducate Blog had some technical difficulties this week. We will re-post old blog entries over the summer. If there is a specific entry you want immediately, please email us and we will get it up sooner. Thank you for your support this week. This week is our last blog post for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Do you have a question for us? Find ParaEducate online here, here and here. ParaEducate is company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. This year is ending quickly! ParaEducate’s last post is May 29th. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.