Regular Education Teachers Need to Read LOOK ME IN THE EYE by JOHN ROBISON.
Even a teacher with a heart of gold can have a tarnished notion of our kids. One of my children (my girls have autism) received a letter from her regular education teacher (that's the typical class, not the special education class) in the mail last week. It was a thank you sent to the entire class with lovely sentiments about the year and the end of year gifts. Very nice.
However --- she included the line "Stagliano child, (no need to tell you which one) I know you don't understand what an important addition you were to our class......"
Do you see the bit of that sentence that pushed me into that elusive combination of heartsick and furious? Gee, that usually requires a bad breakup.
MY CHILD DOES UNDERSTAND! She is not stupid. She is not unaware of her surroundings. She is not a small pet, placed in the classroom to amuse and entertain the typical children, to teach them life lessons worthy of a the sappiest ABC after school special.
Now, did this teacher mean to denigrate my child? Lord, no. She's a kind woman and she welcomed my kid with open arms. However, her assumption is "Autistic child does not understand....."
John's book will change that. And that's what makes it important for ME. And he's a great story teller, and you'll laugh like heck and cringe a few times too during the read.
I think I have to write something for Huffington Post on this one...... Or somewhere.
(PS) I recycled this photo of John and fellow writers Pat Wood, Holly Kennedy and me from lunch in New York last month. I can still taste the cheesecake.