I wrote this for Folks Magazine. Here’s a preview, but you have to click to read the rest.
My teaching career leads me in odd directions: to places full of wonder and excitement and to places as magical as they are heartbreaking; to weaknesses I didn’t know I had, and into strengths just as profound. Just recently, I came off a week-long stint in a special needs classroom with non-verbal kids who have autism. And this experience, like so many others in my teaching career, has had a profound impact on me.
Before working with this class, I had limited exposure to people with autism. A couple friends and acquaintances have had relatives on the autism spectrum. I’ve seen Rainman and I Am Sam, and I watch The Good Doctor on television. But these second-hand relationships and pop-culture examples only scratch the surface of this magnificent and much misunderstood disorder.
To show you what I mean, let me tell you about one kid in that class. We’ll call him George. …Read the rest here