Inclusion at school

00inclusion

I am sad today, because I had a bedtime conversation with my son evolving around the question “Why do I have no friends in school?”
As I said in my very first comic, the school’s policy ‘not to single out children with autism’ seems to backfire because the other kids cannot understand where he obviously needs help : making and keeping friends. I feel it’s not fair on my son with his ‘invisible disability’ not to give him concrete support to be more included. For Nemo’s academic performance, the school’s staff and me could help him get up to his own best. For friendships, we will need the help of the other kids.

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12 thoughts on “Inclusion at school

  1. hessiafae

    Thanks for following. My heart goes out to you and your son. I didn’t have any friends, either, and it tore me up each day. To make matters worse, when someone did try to spend time with me, I was so excited that I would become clingy and scare them off. Your son is fortunate to have a parent who understands. My parents always had this “why are you like this?” kind of attitude, making me feel even lonelier at home. It sounds like your son can at least feel safe (as possible, as one never really feels truly safe) and accepted among family.

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    1. suburp Post author

      Ah.. that’s sad to hear that your parents did ask you a question basically NO ONE can answer even now. I am certainly sometimes surprised or a bit taken aback even by some of my son’s behaviours, especially as I see how he is just not doing it right with the friendship thing.. (clingyness being one extreme. ignoring his almost-friends another..) But I make a point to help him with it and if I can’t, at least tell him that I am always there for him and that, in time, he will find REAL friends who do not care about all those little details that make it so easy for others to fit in..

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  2. Melissa

    There is a boy in my son’s class who is different. I think it’s autism (we have a close friend who has a son with autisum) and was able to explain to my son that the boy in his class has a mind is different to his, but that’s OK. I wish the school would talk about it so then it would help the other kids understand the differences. Not talking about the differences is what leads to teasing & issues IMO. After I explained things to my son, he’s got along with the boy in his class much better.

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    1. suburp Post author

      i firmly believe education about autism is key to making things easier for both, autistic children and their classmates, to get along.
      my son’s school doesn’t agree. they think he’ll be bullied ‘for autism’. at the moment, he is being teased for being different or ‘weird’.
      not actually better, i believe. i am not thinking that we can solve the problem of bullying.
      but with the help of the other kids, through education or through parents LIKE YOU! our children at least will have allies to stand up against bullies in school.
      well done you, and cheers to your son for being an open minded kid =)

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  3. autisticook

    Have you read the blog post at MOM-NOS about the presentation she did for her son’s classmates? http://momnos.blogspot.nl/2010/03/on-being-hair-dryer-kid-in-toaster.html
    Maybe your son’s school could learn something from that, as well. “Not singling out children with autism”, when in fact that is what happens constantly, intentionally or otherwise. We stand out as different. We don’t automatically fit in if you simply ignore us. For heaven’s sake.

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    1. suburp Post author

      I have not read it but I will. My son is lonely. It is heart breaking. It’s OK at home and for some time, he was happy to play with the girls. But you know how it is. He WANTS to make friends with boys his age. But he keeps failing or even clashing with then. So now he keeps to himself. This thing where autistic children “prefer to play by themselves”- that is total rubbish. 😦

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      1. ischemgeek

        Shades of my childhood. It really doesn’t take many failed attempts before you learn you’re different and weird and that’s somehow wrong and the other kids don’t like you for it. I wish I could offer advice, but all I have is sympathy.

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        1. suburp Post author

          It takes a lot of encouragement and education for children in school age to accept differences. But I believe it is already learned behaviour. Toddlers still accept any difference just as a new experience and get used to it.
          I will say some parents might do the right thing, also depending on their own experiences, but In school, the kids are on their own..well, almost. So the teachers have to play their part.
          Sorry to hear that comic reflects your childhood. I don’t know how old you are, but I hope things ARE changing slowly..
          man, I really hope they are.

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          1. ischemgeek

            I’m in my 20s, now, and academia is way more understanding of people who get too into stuff they find interesting and can’t help but excitedly flap if something good happens. 🙂 I wasn’t diagnosed (long story) but all the symptoms were there. I know of at least 5-6 other people in my dept who are like me in that way.

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          2. suburp Post author

            =) glad to hear about acceptance and also people that you feel are similar to you – in their difference!
            I mean we know LOTS of things are not right but that our society slowly brows to the task is good to hear, encouraging =) thanks for commenting and telling me about it !

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