Sunday, April 7, 2013


It's midnight. The last seconds of Spring Break have just slipped away. As usual, I completed my school newsletter the evening before distribution, and my eyes are glazed over. But before I slip into a coma, I thought I'd share a piece I included in my newsletter (which is distributed to all parents, teachers/assistants, the boss man, and the BIG boss man). Perhaps it's a little too cynical for a school newsletter, but...that's how I roll...especially at midnight.
  • Do not refer to students as “autistic”. Autism is not an adjective. Always put a person before his/her disability. I do not have an autistic son; I have an awesome son with autism.
  • Definitely do not refer to Mrs. Condrey’s class as “The Autistic Classroom”. We deserve the same respect as other classrooms. Would you like to be referred to as the “ADHD room?” or “Miss OCD”?
  • Avoid assumptions. Don't assume our students would not enjoy the same field trips as your classroom. Don't assume because a student is non-verbal, he/she has nothing to say. Sometimes life with autism is trial-and-error, but the most wonderful things are discovered when you take the "can't" out of the equation!
  • As you may already know, my favorite autism quote is “If you’ve met one person with autism…you’ve met ONE person with autism.” Have you ever heard someone say (or said yourself) “He can’t be autistic. I had a kid with autism last year and he acts nothing like him.” Think of the stereotypes we constantly encounter as Southerners…or women…or minorities…annoying, right? Imagine someone judging you based on ONE other person. “Your name is Delores? I had a Delores in my class last year – a real whipper-snapper. Sorry, I’m gonna have to ask you to leave. NOW.”

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