Dear editor: Autism has become the buzzword in child psychology....
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Wat? When I was a kid in school, these were just the weird kids. Society needs too many labels now. Stop treating them like special cases and start treating them normally.
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Oh it seems like so many kids these days have a label.. they're speech impaired, learning disabled, emotionally disabled, autistic, ADD, ADHD, ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), RAD (reactive attachment disorder), and if nothing else then you can be "other health impaired".
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No. Just no. Saying these are just the weird kids shows a complete lack of understanding of what is happening.
Not every person with aspergers shares the same symtoms. So, I will try to share with you what it is was like when I was a kid in school. Because, I was the kid you labeled "weird".
I would wake up in the morning filled with terror. Another day of school... I didn't understand why you didn't want to be my friend, but you didn't.
As a child you were still developing what was required for empathy... that is to say you didn't have any.
On the school bus, one of the other kids would start chanting some twisted form of my name... you didn't start it... but like the other kids, you joined in. I would endure this punishment for 30 minutes every morning.
Then I would get to school and sit at my desk until lunch where, if I was lucky, I got to eat my lunch alone... or your friend ate my lunch. That's ok, I wasnt hungry anyhow.
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At recess, if I was lucky, I played alone. If not I was pushed and beat up... if I tried to fight back, it only got worse. You cheered and watched.
After recess, there were days that it got so bad that the teacher had to move my desk to the front of the classroom... because he couldn't move the whole class up there.
Then the ride home... the same as the morning. One day I had three kids pin me down and wrap duct tape around my head. You didn't do it, you may have even felt bad, but you didn't do any thing to help.
I was eight years old when I decided, i didn't want to live any more... how messed up is that? Fortunately, I had no idea how to kill myself (I had tried to suffocate myself with a plastic bag.)
Day in day out that was my life through elementary. Middle school got a little better; I think you finally learned some empathy, but your friend didnt... you know the one... the one that always has to prove he is bigger more badass than everyone else. It wasn't everyday, b
but in some ways it was more degrading... spit in the face... books smacked out of your hand and kicked down the hall.
By highschool most of you and your friends were too distracted to notice me now (thankfully.) Sadly, it went that way for the opposite sex as well.
At the time, i blamed you and your friends... it wasn't later until I realized the problem didn't start with you... it started with me. Looking back I just didn't understand how you expected me to act... I didn't pick up on the social cues that you and your friends take for granted. Subtle looks and gestures, nods, smiles, etc.
Today, I have taught myself how to interact with other humans... though it is mentally exhausting. I have to constantly concentrate and think about your movements and tone of voice and what they signify and then react in way that you expect. I have to feign my reactions so as not to offend you or others."Oh you didn't get that promotion, I feel so bad for you."
There is a lot more I could say... but I am getting tired now. Perhaps tomorrow
Bravo Rancor!!!! Like my mother stated a long time ago to me "Everyone is different and no two people are alike, respect everyone and you will get respected!" Labeling a person is another way people try to put attention on someone else instead of their own differences.
Not sure how someone can "disagree" that many of our students are labeled. If that person doesn't think it's true, they obviously don't work in the school system. I work in the upper level grades, so I see entire graduating classes. I can't be too specific, but in one grade level last year I had more than 3 autistic, more than 8 learning support, more than 3 emotional support, more than one RAD, more than 10 ADD & ADHD. That's just one grade level. Now imagine how many there are in an entire building. Lot of kids who need special help.
First, sorry for the rant. Second, I want to make sure that people understand that I place no blame on the teachers, some of them really did try to stop the insanity.
I do understand that many people feel like kids are being over-diagnosed with things like ADHD, but dont forget that there REALLY are kids out there that do have disabilities like aspergers and autism. And that, YES, those kids do need an adjusted environment to learn in. Please don't let the the ones that are being over diagnosed desensitize you to the ones that really do need your help and most importantly your understanding.
Post Note: After learning how to work around my disability, I have learned how to interact with people. Though, as I mentioned before, doing so takes a toll on me. I am happily married with children and an excellent job. My wife of 12 years still gets a little annoyed that I am a bit "robotic" but I try to ease that for her as much as I can.
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ambprr, you hit the nail on the head. How much better this world would be if your mother could have been a mother to a lot of other people.
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Rancor, It sounds like that you are going to be a great dad and be able to help change the world for the better. The people that scare me are people who believe that "any" person who is mentally challenged, should be locked up. Truth be known all people are weird including myself. Oh I forgot that is what makes us individuals. Thank God!
Just look how well that Forrest Gump guy turned out!
MTO, I should probably be offended at that... but screw it, that was funny.
No offense intended Rancor. Glad you saw the intent.
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