Do you think that autism should be taught to school students

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Rodey316
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16 Feb 2015, 3:48 pm

Imagine if there was a mandatory subject that all public school students had to attend for at least one full year that was all about Autism Awareness. The course would probably take place in middle school and all students (both on the spectrum and neurotypicals) would be taught about the different forms of autism and how they should treat children on the spectrum exactly how they would want to be treated. Also, the class would inform the students about how we autistic people or Aspies are just like them (the neurotypicals) except that we have somewhat differently wired brains. As a result of this, there would be no more bullying towards autistic kids just because they happen to be autistic or "special", and we wouldn't be isolated from others because the neurotypical kids/teens would realize that we have the same wants/needs as them. I could picture a much higher amount of neurotypical school students walking up to autistic students and inviting them to join their "group". And what would THIS result in? Less anxiety, depression, suicide, anger, and paranoia in us autistic people! The point is, all students would be informed about neurodiversity at a young age so that they can be educated enough to treat everybody the way they want to be treated. And it could benefit the neurotypicals too because they'd be able to choose from a higher percentage of people to befriend and they'd learn a lot of interesting things about us! Who else thinks this would be a great idea? If you don't, then that's okay. Feel free to be brutally honest about this and voice your opinion, but I for one think this would solve a lot of problems that autistic people have to go through whilst growing up. I don't have the power to make this happen IF you support the idea because I'm in my second year of high school, but this would be just amazing in my opinion.



TheAP
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16 Feb 2015, 4:38 pm

That's a cool idea. I don't know if it would make the cut as a mandatory subject; at my school, the mandatory subjects are things like English and math, and not more specialized things like that. But I like the idea of having a course about autism. Maybe it could be a more general "disability" course and also teach about things like ADHD and learning disabilities, so people could learn to understand those disabilities better as well.



Rodey316
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16 Feb 2015, 4:50 pm

Yeah that sounds great! I like your idea better actually because it includes even more people. Yes, I think this should be a real course in schools all over the United States and the rest of the world too.



Feyokien
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16 Feb 2015, 4:51 pm

It kind of already is, it's called Psychology. The curriculum at my old high school definitely needs to be reviewed and updated though. The mental health system in America really needs to get everyone on the same page, right now it seems really fragmented. The class I took was kind of arcane, the text books were really old. And maybe offer it at a slightly younger age, senior year seemed a bit to little to late. I agree an intro to psychology should be a mandatory course taught at all schools.



Logston
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16 Feb 2015, 4:58 pm

I feel like it would place too much emphasis on how we are different than "them". You could argue that the class could teach about how we're all alike in so many ways as well or whatever, but having the class in the first place would send that message imo. Not only that, but I think people would find it even harder to view us outside of the stereotypes if this class would be anything like any class I've ever had in HS. Plus, I don't know about others but I personally would hate being approached as some sort of friendless charity case by others. Not that anybody would be likely to suspect I'm on the spectrum without me informing them, but still.

Seconded that a Psych class should suffice.



Rodey316
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16 Feb 2015, 6:36 pm

But Logston, let's say that the course would teach the students NOT to think in terms of stereotypes and instead, the teachers provided VARIOUS examples of people (perhaps advocates of these conditions) who are comfortable with sharing their life story with these conditions. What if the course explained the conditions IN DEPTH- like, it would give examples of cases that DO NOT necessarily fit into the classic stereotypes we see associated with autism, Asperger's, ADHD, etc.? What if the teachers gave like a summary of a person whom nobody in the class would suspect of being an Aspie or a person with another condition and then, they'd surprise the students by like not telling them until the very end of class. Then, the students would think, "Wow! These people ARE just like us!!"



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16 Feb 2015, 6:53 pm

Go ahead and design the curriculum. Then try to get it past the teachers' unions.

Good luck.


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SpaceAgeBushRanger
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16 Feb 2015, 8:15 pm

I think this is a good idea, but it may increase bullying in the long term. I mean, it may give bullies a clearer profile of who to target.



Moromillas
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17 Feb 2015, 12:29 am

This subject does exist, it's called humanities, and the vast majority of schools have cut it. Perhaps it's due to budget reasons, where they had to cut something, and humanities looked the most useless. To me it only looks like people are only out for themselves, and care more about the grade average and salary rather than imparting knowledge. Which is one of the reasons why they just look like a school to prison pipeline.

Awareness, I think, is not a good goal. It's just not needed. People are plenty aware of us, what we need instead is acceptance and inclusion, rather than hatred and extermination.



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17 Feb 2015, 1:24 am

I feel like conflict resolution, communication, and things that work on ways to reduce occurrences of bullying by addressing general ways that kids and people tend to stigmatize lots of individuals. Discussing things like media ideals and messages is helpful for this too... I feel like that all might be more appropriate and generally helpful for a larger group.

Delving into autism specifically would be something that people can explore in development and psych classes, as was mentioned before.


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mr_bigmouth_502
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17 Feb 2015, 3:43 am

I think it should definitely be worked into public school health classes, though I don't see why it should have its own course devoted to it, unless you're talking about post-secondary, in which case I'd love to see something along the lines of "autism studies"...



kraftiekortie
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17 Feb 2015, 10:25 am

Absolutely....definitely!



pcuser
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17 Feb 2015, 2:42 pm

Moromillas wrote:
Awareness, I think, is not a good goal. It's just not needed. People are plenty aware of us, what we need instead is acceptance and inclusion, rather than hatred and extermination.

That's nonsense. I wasn't diagnosed until age 61. I knew I couldn't do many things others could do seemingly effortlessly. I just thought it was something I was simply unable to fathom. I had heard of autism and Asperger's, but I didn't know enough to figure out I had it. Information is rarely ever a bad thing. Also, until we all understand what autism is in some detail, we'll have little or no change...



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17 Feb 2015, 2:51 pm

Quote:
Also, the class would inform the students about how we autistic people or Aspies are just like them (the neurotypicals) except that we have somewhat differently wired brains.


Wouldn't that than kind of defeat the entire purpose of the thing....how can we expect to raise awareness of our differences, and autism specific struggles neurotypicals don't deal with, if claiming 'we're just like them' if that was the case there wouldn't need to be autism awareness. The whole point is we aren't 'just' like them....we certianly are not lesser, but we are wired differently...that makes us different not just like neurotypicals.

As for bullying obviously a goal of raising awareness would be to reduce that...but not so sure it would entirely 'end' bullying, some people don't really care why someone is 'different' and will still pick on them...or feel the need to put them in their 'place', but hopefully it would reduce it.


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Rodey316
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17 Feb 2015, 5:04 pm

When I say "just like them" I mean that the course would teach the NT students that we have the same wants/needs as them, the biggest ones being ACCEPTANCE, UNDERSTANDING, and LOVE/BELONGING. The course would try as hard as it can to put the neurotypical students in our shoes so that they can gain a better understanding of what it must be like to live with these conditions, both the pros and the cons to them, with the pros being more emphasized. Of course, we wouldn't want the neurotypicals to think we are better than them, because that's simply not true, so we'd explain the pros without sounding arrogant.
Example of a paragraph on a sheet of paper that would students would take turns reading out-loud by sentence- "People on the autism spectrum tend to engage in special interests and depending on how passionate they are about them, they can become very knowledgable or even expertise and/or skilled at their interests. A special interest can be about anything you can think of, from dinosaurs, to trains, to World War II facts, to Minecraft, to comic strips. This can also apply to neurotypicals (those who don't have a neurodevelopmental disorder) but to a generally lesser "obsessive" degree than their autistic peers. Some autistic people tend to talk about their special interest in public and sometimes they miss nonverbal communication indicating that others may not be as interested, so they may be unaware that you're bored. If you have a special interest and have difficulty sharing it with your peers, maybe you could consider joining an after school club that can help fulfill your interest. (But remember- just because you have a unique interest that a majority of your peers don't engage in, does not necessarily mean that you have autism. If you think that you have autism, the best way to find out if you DO have a form of autism would be to set up an appointment with a psychologist/medical professional and perhaps take an assessment. Some people self-diagnose themselves and chances are, their self-diagnosis could be correct, but maybe consider consulting a professional to be certain.) If you're a neurotypical student with a passion for a specific subject and are looking for someone to share it with, then one of your options could be to share it with that person with autism who enjoys it too. You two could become acquaintances or the closest of friends. You never know for sure until you try. Of course, don't feel like you HAVE to be friends with others you may know with autism because it's perfectly okay to just not naturally like some individuals. But don't EVER feel that your options for friends should only limit to people without a neurodevelopmental disorder such as autism. They're WAY more than just their condition-so don't pay attention to stereotypes, be mindful that they have unique qualities just like how anybody else does, regardless of whether or not they have a neurodevelopmental disorder. Treat everybody like how you would want to be treated because nobody knows what it's TRULY like to live in someone else's shoes."



Moromillas
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17 Feb 2015, 6:08 pm

pcuser wrote:
Moromillas wrote:
Awareness, I think, is not a good goal. It's just not needed. People are plenty aware of us, what we need instead is acceptance and inclusion, rather than hatred and extermination.

That's nonsense. I wasn't diagnosed until age 61. I knew I couldn't do many things others could do seemingly effortlessly. I just thought it was something I was simply unable to fathom. I had heard of autism and Asperger's, but I didn't know enough to figure out I had it. Information is rarely ever a bad thing. Also, until we all understand what autism is in some detail, we'll have little or no change...


I agree with all those points, however it doesn't change that the people fighting for "more awareness" are deeply misguided. Awareness isn't the issue, and won't solve any problems. Like I said, we don't need people to be more aware, we need people to be more accepting and inclusive.