Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Autistic Time Lines

My autistic son's sixth grade English teacher is insisting that he redo the "First Five Years of My Life Timeline" he created for this month's "All about Me" unit.

The problem?  The events he included:
November, 1999:  I thought the porch fan switch was broken.
June, 2001: I realized that Mommy was only pretending the switch was broken so I wouldn't keep turning it on and off.
September, 2001:  Porch fan switch actually broke.
May, 2002:  Porch fan switch fixed.
I tried to tell her that J did this assignment in good faith, and that these really were among his most memorable milestones. 

"The assignment doesn't meet expectations," she insisted.  

One of the ironies here is in the premise behind such narcissistic units as "All about Me:"

Students learn best when relating things to their personal interests.

Apparently only the personal interests of neurotypical children count, and what is supposed to be an alluring tie-in for most students becomes a major obstacle for those with autism.


Mrs. C said...

Oh, this teacher needs to learn a little about autism. Why don't you buy her Jenny McCarthy's book?


OK, I had to say that just as one parent of an autistic kid to another!! Bwa haaa.

Liz Ditz said...

Unlike Mrs. C., I have no good advice. I, on your son's behalf, want to shake some sense into his teacher.

My older, MOL neurotypical stepson (now 30) has no memory of his parents living together (they separated when he was 4). He has no memory of my wedding to his father when he was 6 /12 (are you sure I was there?). His first reliable memory, according to him, is in first grade.

He had to do one of those narcissitic units for a university class (on early childhood education). Fortunately both his mother and I remember things and we each had some photos.

Most of my books are in storage, so I can't leaf through the autism-autobiography section to recommend anything. I haven't read Send in The Idiots -- maybe that'd do. Here's an interview:

Interview with Kamran Nazeer.