Benefits to Educators
School can be an anxious time for any child but, as any educator knows, the stress and anxiety can become overwhelming for Autistic students. For Aspie students, with or without a diagnosis, help and support can be hard to come by.
New research is throwing a spotlight onto standard teaching practices for Autistic Spectrum Condition students. Autistic Self Advocacy is increasing in strength, and with this new found voice has come some surprising insights into how autistic children view their time at school, and the usefulness of the approaches that are used in the conventional teaching methods favoured with ASC students. Given the psychological differences between Aspies and NTs, it is unsurprising that misunderstandings arise. What can be more distressing however, is when these misunderstandings about our differences are unwittingly reframed as deficits, vulnerabilities and obstacles, and dealt with as such by those individuals who are genuinely hoping to offer help and support.
Peter Fowerdew has already presented on subjects such as 'Mindblindness' at teachers' conferences. The difficulty that autistic students have in deciphering or even seeing 'psychological level messages' (the complex non-verbal communication that accompanies most spoken messages) has the power to generate enormous anxiety in young people at this vulnerable stage in their lives. Being able to explain what is actually happening in such situations can make all the difference.
The insights that can be gained through the workshops will be invaluable to those supporting Aspie students. It will provide a much more detailed level of understanding of the world that Aspie children and adults inhabit, and the reasons behind their anxiety and sometimes surprising social choices. By unpicking the basic mechanics of social interaction, and learning how this differs for Aspies, it is possible to begin to forge real connections with students, and start to give them the support they need.
"...As a teacher, to suddenly grasp that some of our Aspie students not only have navigate hundreds of complex interactions every day, but may have no real sense of which are more important, was a real eye opener... they must be exhausted!"