An inquiry into why Aspergers youth are blamed for Autistic symptoms?
"Worse than not realizing the dreams of your youth, would be to have been young and never dreamed at all." — Jean Genet
Many students with Aspergers are falling through the cracks and being mislabeled and mistreated; their opportunities to dream placed in the shadows of narrow minded developmental boxes wherein educators deem them trouble makers instead of warriors seeking to avoid confusion, meltdowns, and fear.
As an educator and Director of Student Affairs at a school and nonforprofit program for children and adults with Autism and other developmental differences I come across a lot of mind boggling and soul touching stories... I am most struck recently by students whose behavioral challenges directly correlate to their neurological profile yet are held against them. These students are systematically being punished and/or neglected instead of being supported and given the necessary tools to fill in the social-emotional, sensory, and focus gaps that impact them in a less blatant way then individuals who are nonverbal or severely motorically delayed.
Students are coming to us labeled as misfits or out of control, they are being asked to leave their schools, forced on to medications, and deprived of scaffolding supports to address their learning styles simply because they appear not to want to learn... But, who craves learning when the experience is one of embarrassment, shame, and disregard for challenges that simply seem "less than" those in need of more typical services for more severe symptoms?
The range of the Autism spectrum is more vast then people care to accept and pay for and provide individualized education and behavioral supports for. Our students are entitled to healing and positivity in a school setting even when their behaviors make us question their intentions and abilities. We cannot assume our kids have a full understanding of right and wrong without fully assessing how they take in information, what social morays they have been exposed to, how they have been dealt with by schools, family, and peers.
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