Today I am going to talk to Joey's class about autism, an idea I suggested after thinking about Mom-NOS's great classic, Hair Dryer Brains in a Toaster World. I got the questions the kids offered this morning, so I don't have a lot of time to prepare and think. I hope my talk with Joey's class goes even half so well.
We are a very small school system. In fact, there is only one school per level. We have one lower elementary, one upper elementary, one intermediate, and one high school.The kids that Joey sees in class today are likely the same kids he saw for the last three years, and he will still be looking at them nine years from now. I was surprised to find how many kids did not know Joey this summer; or, perhaps I ought to be more accurate there. Everybody knows Joey. Not everybody has had to work with him in their classes, or are familiar with his differences. Since he is not in the mainstream classes right now, even fewer are getting to know him and learn to accept those differences. It is likely at this point that Joey will spend the majority of his school time in "inclusion" classrooms, where he will have access to a special education teacher all day. The majority of those kids are hand-picked to be supportive and benefit from that environment as much as the special needs children. Therefore, it is likely we will be seeing this particular group of kids for a long, long time.
I need to get this right.
I'll keep you posted.
Edit: I almost forgot, here's the questions I got:
1.) Why does Joey say "Infinity and beyond?" (I corrected misspellings!)
2.) Why does Joey want to run out the door? (2 asked that)
3.) How does a kid get autism? Is it because when they breathe their
brain doesn't get oxygen fast enough?
4.) Does it hurt them to have autism?