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I felt pressure in trying to help him, because let’s face it, screaming disturbs the peace. With it, Adam’s flight-fight prompts him to bolt when he sees pathways and stairwells.These are all the signs that had to be put into effect.Now that his body is changing as well as his needs, I am considering a leave-of-absence to help him, but also to help myself in so doing.In thinking of Adam’s life and the very complex anxiety he has, his motor-planning difficulties, his frustration so apparent as he tries so hard to talk (the other day he got so frustrated, he picked up a pencil and in his chicken scratch wrote that he wanted to go to “gramma’s house”), we can’t always expect a learner like Adam to spend day-after-day exactly the same.
This is one of the most fundamental obstacle I can think of in how we teach children in general – in chairs for too long, in small rooms, with little outdoor exercise because of liability issues. If Adam had an outdoor learning environment as a major part of his learning experience, I think he would be able to take in much more (outdoor education is decreasing but can be made accessible to people with disabilities).I am writing in these terms because when looking at sites or articles about autism, the terms and ways of thinking about intelligence and learning are so “matter-of-fact” or normalized that we forget about how other kinds of learning can take place. In essence, I’m trying to move away from a linear model of development and learning which doesn’t work for many people.When the body has to spend so much time readjusting and becoming comfortable, the rest of the school work (at a desk in a chair…) has to be put aside.Think of the life-skills training in addition to the education that our children also deserve.This takes more time than the allotment prescribed during the Industrial Revolution. Then there is the need to reconsider how we look at behaviour from the outside.
I am certain some of Adam’s stress comes from having very little autonomy, and although he is strong and willful (which I believe will bode him well), if you can’t communicate fluently in our society, or you can’t cross the street by yourself, your autonomy is limited.