Autism from a Teacher's Perspective
Haven De Lay
Sat Jul 16, 2005
The first year I taught was in a school for handicapped children and adults. That was in 1980. In the WHOLE school, there was only one older man with autism.
I went on to teach for fifteen years in public school, mostly inner-city. Special ed children were main-streamed. Those who needed them had aides who came to class. I do not recall any autistic children. We had several, in my opinion who had ADD and ADHD. These were the years from 1982-1997. I taught high school. What I recall is wondering why so many kids couldn't seem to pay attention like we did when we went to school. They had trouble sitting still, and each year there were more kids with behavioral issues. In 1984 I had maybe five kids out of 165 who could not behave or were constantly defiant, but by 1997, I had 40 out of 165 who had serious behavior problems.
Now, in my son's school, which is out in the country, there are many children who are autistic, and sad to say, none of the other parents in my son's class are doing anything to help their children. I think they see me as "way out there."
It's interesting to note, that when my son was first tested there, he was severely "autistic." He had no speech, socialization, etc... He was way below these other kids his age who were diagnosed "autistic." Now, he has far surpassed them. Teachers who were skeptical of what I was doing say, "It's a miracle." And they tell me they wish the other parents would try doing what I have done.
We still have a way to go, but Ethan will be half day in life skills in the fall and a half day in regular kindergarten! He is sitting next to me now, spelling colors. Wow! And the mainstream doctors told me he would NEVER talk!