When I’m on Facebook talking to people, they like to moan. Everybody moans but the one thing that keeps on coming up is TEACHERS. Now I don’t want to paint a negative picture of Teachers because most of the time they’re great, but every now and then there are misunderstandings and mistakes made.
So I asked the comments on a Facebook thread this question:
What are, in your opinion, the most important things a Teacher should know about Autism??
So as stated here are the 7 most liked comments on this thread.
- “Understand that high functioning kids can hide their symptoms but need just as much support as a child who doesn’t and what things they can put in place to support them.” Hattie Hodkin
People used to say to me that they used to forget I was Autistic because of how well I hid my traits, but it’s the day they were reminded were my bad days. A lot of time the signs of someone struggling can be subtle. We need to look for these subtleties but that comes with raising understanding so that more teachers know what to look for.
Another factor is how we miss women on the spectrum, as they have the natural ability to hide their many traits. Sometimes when they appear very anxious, people often mistake it as mental illness when actually when you get passed that you may start to see Autism.
- “I think they need to know that some children with high functioning autism struggle with coming to them and saying “I need help ” and just ask them if their ok.” Sarah Forrester
I had a parent say to me that their child was coming home stressing about the school work. They didn’t know what to or didn’t understand the wording of the tasks. Autistic people when faced with tasks they don’t understand, can just get so confused and raises anxiety where they will actually struggle to think. As our imaginations are impaired the concept, in this moment, to solve the problem doesn’t exist.
- “Listen to the parent of the high functioning child that they are not being naughty, kicking arms and legs out is a sign of excitement / anxiety and she doesn’t even know she is doing it let alone hurt someone. Teachers need to be educated but the key thing listen to the parent or carer of the child as we know them best.” Adama-cherry Devill
This is why I believe that all schools should have fidget toys. The child with Autism can still listen to you while holding the fidget toys. If I was a Teacher I would much rather have a child holding a Tangle than swinging their arms and legs around.
- “Get some facts learn about autism get more training and don’t tell my son to look up at you.”Helen Todd
Everyone thinks this, to be honest I’d quite like everyone to do this not just Teachers what about all the other professionals that deal with people.
- “I would love my son’s teacher to understand the absolute necessity to keep to timetable /schedule. He depends on it. To appreciate how clever he is and to give him more advanced work when he needs it. To address him directly and understand if she speaks to the class generally – he will not understand she means him as well!!” Kerry Burton
Explain everything in laymons terms; simple, direct and jargon free. Autistic people take things very literally. Avoid metaphors, similes and idioms. I HATE IDIOMS!!!
- “More understanding, giving your child time to process what has been said rather than pushing for an immediate answer, Callum always needs a good few seconds to process conversations, the teachers need more patience.” Kate Taylor
Teachers are told to allow pupils 5 seconds to answer a question, but on average they only get about 2 seconds. I think they should be told to give 8 seconds, Autistic brains struggle to do multiple tasks at the same time. When we are asked a questions we have to:
- Take in the words, know what they are.
- Generate the meaning of the question
- Then find the answer.
When you think that’s quite or 2 or 5 seconds, so let’s ourselves 8.
- “Don’t ask a child to look at them as they think they are listening then. Really winds me up that.”Joanne Charlton
Eye contact is very uncomfortable for me, if a teacher says,”Look at me!” Just look at his forehead. But if you’re a Teacher just say, “look this way”. It’s a lot nicer.
Those are my most popular responses to that question.
Thanks to everyone who sent comments in they’re greatly appreciated. Hope this article helps. If you like please share it.