As I reviewed the interaction walking home, it struck me...how often do our autistic kids (see footnote) have the same experience? Social interactions can be a challenge for them, so we work to give them tools about following a prescribed "script" for social interactions. At the very basic level, this is helpful, but how often does life actually follow the script? This one simple interaction gave me a tiny bit of insight about how it must feel for our autistic students every single day. It also led me to question how we can improve our support of these students to better navigate the dynamic nature of social interactions in their daily lives.
While I am completely illiterate in Finnish (as is 14% of the adult population in the US) also consider adults that read below a 5th grade level (in the US, roughly 21% of the population according to the National Institute of Literacy.) In this situation, I began to think of the parents of our students that may have difficulty with literacy skills. Imagine one of these parents receiving a form in the mail to initiate an evaluation for their student, or reviewing the incredibly extensive and technical evaluation reports, procedural safeguards, and IEPs. How completely overwhelming! Knowing how important family involvement is in the success of our students, what can we do to ensure better access for all parents, regardless of their literacy skills?
What situations have given you insight into the perspective of someone else, in life or in your classroom?
How do you actively work towards considering the perspective of your students in your classroom?
Footnote: Yes, I said "autistic kids" not "kids with autism." Read about my evolving view on why I don't use "person first" language here. And while you're at it, follow Diary of a Mom for excellent insights from the parent of an autistic child.