Thursday, October 2, 2008

Autistic personal connections don't pass muster

Besides the narcissism of the "All About Me" unit, we have the narcissism of the "personal connections" paragraph that students are supposed to write after each night's reading.

Again, only neurotypical connections count.  My son's "personal connections" (about Harry Potter, Chamber of Secrets) earned him a D:
I never drink polyjuice potion before. I never do magic before. I liked that chapter because Harry and Ron realized that Draco Malfoy is not the heir of Slytherin.
His teacher's comment:  "Maybe J should find a book that he can make connections with to make the reflection section more meaningful."

Lurking within this neurotypical self-love, it seems to me, is a kind of subtle hatred of autism.

5 comments:

Mrs. C said...

But he's showing he's read the material AND reflected on it. Sigh.

Liz Ditz said...

I'm in graduate school, in education. Every danged assignment includes a "reflections" section. Now I'm pretty NT, and the navel-gazing/lack of rigor gets on my nerves.

But back to your child's appropriate reflection rejected by his teacher. I went to a presentation by an associate of Michelle Garcia Winner on social thinking in the classroom. I was impressed--there were things I'd observed, explained in a new light.

Here's the opening paragraph from a DVD version of this presentation:

Social Thinking in the Classroom

In Social Thinking Across the Home and School Day, Michelle presents a video workshop defining the ILAUGH framework, her six-point model of social thinking. The focus of this workshop is the fact that students with social thinking deficits express these deficits not only during social interaction but also in the classroom. They may have difficulty working as part of a group, interpreting and producing abstract language and organizational challenges. Strategies are for assisting these children across their home and school day.

The DVD is $60.00 -- maybe you could offer it as a professional development unit?

Liz Ditz said...

Oh, I forgot this link -- it's an essay on how social thinking impacts academic achievement

lefty said...

Liz, Thanks for the links! I'm glad to see someone looking at the classroom social issue more closely. I wish there were more on Michelle's site about what exactly she has to offer. She gives a reasonable discussion of the social problems, but is cagey about her precise strategy for helping students overcome them. Hers seems to be one of the many sites where you have to pay a chunk of $ first before you find out whether the person has anything concrete and new to offer, which always makes me suspicious...

Liz Ditz said...

Lefty, I'm going to another professional development thingy put on by MGW and plan to buy the pre-middleschool curriculum package. When I do I'll share more with you.

She's based in San Jose, about 20 miles away from me, and gets rave reviews from the locals.