Saturday, December 12, 2009

How not to handicap students with Asperger's

Reading this article from yesterday's British newspaper, the Daily Mail, I was struck not just by the impressive accomplishments of its subject, but by the following points, which I've put in bold face:

A schoolboy is studying for a maths degree at the age of 12.

Cameron Thompson has been accepted by the Open University on its BSc Honours course and expects to graduate when he is 16.

The child prodigy already has A* grade GCSEs [a standardize British subject exam] in Maths and Additional Maths.

The youngster, who has a form of autism called Asperger syndrome, scored 100 per cent in all of those tests, so his teachers decided to put him in for the exam proper last May.

Cameron's father said: 'He is in the second year of the course and in the first unit last year he had a final score of 89 per cent.

'That unit usually starts in October and ends the following June - Cameron finished it a couple of weeks ago.

'The second unit starts in February and he says, quite seriously, that he is going to have letters after his name by next October.

'He also plans to have graduated with a BSc [Bachelor of Science undergraduate degree] honours degree by the age of 16 and he is on course for that.'

Mr Thompson, who works in IT, added: 'His abilities are remarkable but all this does have its challenges as we have thought for some time he has Asperger Syndrome.

'This means he has trouble dealing with other children and tends to lock himself away for days.

'He has never been officially diagnosed but we are thinking of having that done.

'However, Maelor School have been brilliant with him and have provided well for his special needs.'

My question is, how likely are similar children to experience similar recognition and accommodations in present day American schools?

And what does this mean for the future of American children with Asperger's Syndrome?

2 comments:

Mrs. C said...

Yup. Good post, if a sad one.

R Thompson said...

I am Camerons father.

The article in the Daily Mail was very much focused on Camerons acheivements and created a very unbalanced one sided view with no mention of his love of Karate, Doctor Who, World of Warcraft etc..

As his parents we struggle to allow him to meet his intellectual needs whilst at the same time ensuring that he develops socially and emotionally. We are more than aware of

Anything that Cameron does is someting he wants to do and there is no pressure at all on him to do it.

This article is a little more balanced:
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/09/24/maths-and-karate-for-welsh-child-prodigy-91466-24767872/