I can fully admit before Kate was born I knew little about autism. I was a teacher so I knew the basics.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviour.
I just googled it to see what I would have found if I knew nothing at all and found this to be the first hit: (You can read while I seethe)
What the hell internet? I am busting my ass to get the word out about the realities of autism and this is what you are offering people? You can reach so many more people than me and it kills me that this garbage might be considered a valid definition. Here is a definition that I approve of. You may have your own:
Autism: Read this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this and you might have some idea of what autism is:
Would I have read the googled definition a few years ago and taken it for truth? No. I know better. Right? Hard to say, really, since I just googled "remedies for a week long headache" and found these and I am actually considering trying the second one:
All you need to do is take a nice warm shower and listen to your favorite music. Your headache will slowly fade away.
Take a tablespoon of vinegar, or get a sour pickle and eat it. Never fails.
It scares me now to think about how little people know about our kids and how little I knew before it became my reality.
I received absolutely zero training regarding autism in my education degree or my Masters degree. (Although the Province of NB is going to change that I am sure). I became a teacher and relied on the internet to teach me about the terms that would appear in the files of my students: ADHD, Autism, Asperger's, Tourette's, Down Syndrome etc. I had textbooks and files galore but they were painfully outdated when I used them so where would I find current information? I chose the internet and looked for definitions and articles. I wish I had found the amazing blogs like Mostly True Stuff and Homestyle Mama with a Side of Autism before I walked into my classroom. For the first few years of my teaching career I feel I was extremely superficial with my knowledge and treatment of these kids. I wish I could go back.
Believe me, I am not saying that you have to experience autism first hand to be a good teacher to these kids, I am just saying that is what it took for me. I will forever try and help people understand our children.
Alex always says: "This is the hill I will die on." He means he will never stop advocating for Kate and kids like her and neither will I.
Happy Mail to:
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)