|A different seat of learning|
Apparently teachers’ hearts sink when they learn there’s going to be a child on the spectrum in their class. Or so I’m told.
I had no idea – having only encountered welcoming, friendly staff throughout Boy One’s school career so far. A slightly snippy school receptionist was as bad as it ever got.
Boy One got his high school report just the other day and I’m very proud of him. Most of it drips with unambiguous praise and notes his application and success.
I was struck by how many of his teachers wanted to tell me that they like him and to let me know how much they enjoyed having him in their classes. It did seem a bit strange – after all liking him surely is their issue not mine or his if they are professional. And school is about academic success not popularity, is it not?
I didn’t really think much more about it until quite recently.
First, I wrote a blog post for Tutorhub about what teachers might really mean in what they put in the little boxes on reports.
Then, I went on one of the National Autistic Society’s excellent seminars to help parents and carers. This one was about the teen years. I find the classes not only directly instructive, but they also focus my attention on Boy One and his particular view of the world.
You see, Boy One is generally very little trouble. He’s passive and unconfrontational – more inclined to slide away from difficulty than shout in its face. Undoubtedly this has made all our lives (except perhaps his) easier over the years, but it does mean he can become somewhat overlooked.
It was on the course that I chatted to another parent – but one whose day job, by coincidence, takes her into contact with primary schools dealing with children with special educational needs (including autism).
We were talking about life on the spectrum and how some kids cope better than others.
She said something, almost an aside, about teachers dreading to learn that they’ve got an AS on their list. She explained that, while the majority of teachers knew lots about how to help children on the spectrum and were well prepared to do so, there were a few for whom “a little knowledge has proved quite dangerous”. These minority of teachers knew enough to believe that Aspies are difficult and disrupting, and that their parents are unlikely to be much better. In short, that child would cause them a headache of a year.
So, reading Boy One’s report between the lines this time, some of his teachers are telling me that, although they’d feared the worst, my lad is really no trouble at all.