On Day #226 you were introduced to Saint Samantha, Tucker’s Special Education teacher from 5th and 6th grade. Let me tell you – she really is one of the most remarkable people I know.
She loves autism.
She really does. She is absolutely enthralled by all facets of autism. She (obviously) has much more experience on the ‘spectrum’ than I. As I’ve stated countless times, I know one story – our own.
I asked Samantha to write two posts for me. First, a top 10 list. The top 10 things she wants all people to know about autism. Yes, I asked her to write this list for readers – but, honestly, I asked her to write the list for me too. I wondered what she would write – I just love the way her brain works.
The second thing I asked her to write was a ‘teacher’ response to Tucker. You’ll read that tomorrow. I got half-way through and had to stop because of my tears.
She’s so full of love for these children.
Here it is…
Saint Samantha’s 10 Things I Wish People Knew About Autism
10. You can’t tell an individual has autism by looking at them.
9. Just because a person has autism doesn’t mean they are “low-functioning.”
8. Don’t expect or demand direct eye contact from a person with autism. It’s okay; instead teach them to look up or look around or through an individual during conversations.
7. People with autism are talented, creative, and intelligent. They may choose to go to college, have jobs, and have families of their own.
6. People with autism are literal learners and interpret language as such; therefore, you should reframe from using sarcasm and teach common idioms. (My note: On Tuesday Tucker had a friend stay overnight. His friend was just finishing up with a cold. Today Tucker had a scratchy voice. I said, “Oh Tuck, Austin must have given you his cold.” He replied, “That’s fine mom. He had it for quite a while. I’m happy to take it from him so he can feel better.” He said that as serious as can be. Estelle and I just looked at each other with a grin.)
5. Individuals with autism are visual learners. The best way to teach is to show them how to complete a task or activity – model how to appropriately greet someone.
4. Communicating, social interactions, and expressing feelings appropriately may be difficult for someone with autism. Be patient, be specific, model appropriate behavior, provide supports such a video modeling, or social stories. Communication struggles may be both verbal and/or nonverbal.
3. Individuals with autism may have sensory needs. Some may not like loud noise; others may be fine with noise. This is true with all the senses and is different with each individual.
2. Some individuals with autism may have limited or specific interests. These may change and evolve throughout their lifetime. It’s okay- embrace them.
1. Knowing one person with autism means just that- knowing one person with autism. Each individual is so different, that’s why it’s called a spectrum.