Do you think that autism should be taught to school students

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btbnnyr
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17 Feb 2015, 6:11 pm

A year long mandatory class for this seems overkill.
If there is a class on autism awareness, shouldn't there also be classes for awareness of other mental disorders, since there are plenty of children who have adhd, anxiety disorders, intellectual disability, bipolar, etc?


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pcuser
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17 Feb 2015, 6:14 pm

Moromillas wrote:
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.

Acceptance and inclusion happen when people understand what we are. When people don't understand, they often act out of fear. This does no good...



Moromillas
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17 Feb 2015, 6:28 pm

pcuser wrote:
Moromillas wrote:
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.

Acceptance and inclusion happen when people understand what we are. When people don't understand, they often act out of fear. This does no good...


Awareness is in the wrong direction. Making people aware won't suddenly make them accept us as human beings. Take Speaks for example, they would say they're definitely aware of us, yet still they're on a mad quest to hunt down "Autism risk" genes.



Hansgrohe
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17 Feb 2015, 9:52 pm

An entire class? Curriculums themselves have enough issues. There's no need to add more to it.

I think what the OP means is autism awareness, i.e. teach to neurotypicals about autistic people in a similar way how people are taught tolerance to people of other races and homosexuals. What do I think of the idea: mmm.... I don't know. I agree that the current level of "autism awareness" in schools is pretty laughable, but schools themselves are places filled with horror and hate. Not sure that's a great place to start.



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17 Feb 2015, 9:55 pm

Hansgrohe wrote:
An entire class? Curriculums themselves have enough issues. There's no need to add more to it.

I think what the OP means is autism awareness, i.e. teach to neurotypicals about autistic people in a similar way how people are taught tolerance to people of other races and homosexuals. What do I think of the idea: mmm.... I don't know. I agree that the current level of "autism awareness" in schools is pretty laughable, but schools themselves are places filled with horror and hate. Not sure that's a great place to start.


It would (could) have been a section in humanities, which is now gone.



Rocket123
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17 Feb 2015, 10:06 pm

Rodey316 wrote:
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.


Hansgrohe wrote:
I think what the OP means is autism awareness, i.e. teach to neurotypicals about autistic people in a similar way how people are taught tolerance to people of other races and homosexuals.

I think it’s appropriate to teach children about tolerance of others. Ideally, this is something that would be taught by parents to their children at a young age. Most certainly it should be discussed as school. But a class dedicated to this one topic? No.



halleluhwah
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17 Feb 2015, 10:20 pm

I really don't see how this would work. First of all, people with ASD are far from the only oppressed or marginalized group. By the time you added a course each for race issues, sexuality, gender, etc., there wouldn't be room for other classes. As others have suggested, this would be best dealt with as a topic within the humanities.

That aside, what exactly would they teach in this class? Neuroscience? Diagnostics? Controversies within the field? To students who may or may not even understand basic human biology? It's such an oddly specific topic, even for an elective, it seems as though it's best reserved for universities, in the contexts of either neurology (the sciences) or disability rights/theory (the humanities).... where, in many colleges, it already exists as such.



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18 Feb 2015, 7:56 am

I'm a bit worried about the way it would be taught. I think a mental health course in public schools is a great idea, but it could be done well, or it could lead to othering and bigotry from students and teachers. For this to go well, we have to get rid of the stigmas about autism, mental illness, and learning disabilities. Such a program could be part of that, but I think we have to ease people into it somehow.



pcuser
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18 Feb 2015, 9:53 am

Rocket123 wrote:
Rodey316 wrote:
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.


Hansgrohe wrote:
I think what the OP means is autism awareness, i.e. teach to neurotypicals about autistic people in a similar way how people are taught tolerance to people of other races and homosexuals.

I think it’s appropriate to teach children about tolerance of others. Ideally, this is something that would be taught by parents to their children at a young age. Most certainly it should be discussed as school. But a class dedicated to this one topic? No.

Yeah, that would be by the same parents who believe that vaccines cause autism???



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18 Feb 2015, 5:27 pm

btbnnyr wrote:
A year long mandatory class for this seems overkill.
If there is a class on autism awareness, shouldn't there also be classes for awareness of other mental disorders, since there are plenty of children who have adhd, anxiety disorders, intellectual disability, bipolar, etc?

Exactly. It sounds unnecessary to me.

Also, I disagree that such a course would fall under psychology. Though autism is covered in some classes (intro, developmental, abnormal, perhaps some upper-level courses, etc...) it's generally not covered in an in-depth manner; in my experience, it's mentioned very briefly - usually in one chapter only, so sadly, readers who don't know about autism very rarely learn anything new about it. I don't think the course would fall well under "humanities" in general either. It sounds better suited for a health course. It would fit perfectly in with a module on stigmatization of disorders.

Greenhat wrote:
I'm a bit worried about the way it would be taught. I think a mental health course in public schools is a great idea, but it could be done well, or it could lead to othering and bigotry from students and teachers. For this to go well, we have to get rid of the stigmas about autism, mental illness, and learning disabilities. Such a program could be part of that, but I think we have to ease people into it somehow.

My English class recently read an article arguing how colleges should implement mental health screenings and classes to help promote destigmatization of mental illness. Not sure if you're interested in reading it, but here's a link.


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Moromillas
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18 Feb 2015, 7:23 pm

With the well of knowledge poisoned, where so much stigma is viewed as fact, people do have a point when they say it can be misused.



Talos
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18 Feb 2015, 11:28 pm

From my experience, most of the damage has already been done by the time you have reached middle school. The isolation I ended up facing throughout elementary school definitely took its toll (and ended up forcing me to change schools at one point), and it was made worse by the fact that none of the kids had any idea what was going on. If anything, it is important that people understand learning abnormalities as early as possible, so that autistic individuals don't have to deal with the many social pariahs that tend to occur through childhood.

Also, I don't see a course as the answer so much as initiatives within the school community to alert students to this issue.



Moromillas
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18 Feb 2015, 11:39 pm

Talos wrote:
From my experience, most of the damage has already been done by the time you have reached middle school. The isolation I ended up facing throughout elementary school definitely took its toll (and ended up forcing me to change schools at one point), and it was made worse by the fact that none of the kids had any idea what was going on. If anything, it is important that people understand learning abnormalities as early as possible, so that autistic individuals don't have to deal with the many social pariahs that tend to occur through childhood.

Also, I don't see a course as the answer so much as initiatives within the school community to alert students to this issue.

Talos wrote:
If anything, it is important that people understand learning abnormalities as early as possible, so that autistic individuals don't have to deal with the many social pariahs that tend to occur through childhood.

Talos wrote:
learning abnormalities


You seem a bit confused there. AS isn't learning abnormalities, you might be thinking of something like dyslexia.



886
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19 Feb 2015, 5:15 am

I think in the very least schools could have a quick 45-minute assembly explaining autism awareness just to give students a general idea.. it's better than having them know nothing, and it's plenty time to get the important message across about autism.


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Moromillas
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19 Feb 2015, 7:36 am

886 wrote:
I think in the very least schools could have a quick 45-minute assembly explaining autism awareness just to give students a general idea.. it's better than having them know nothing, and it's plenty time to get the important message across about autism.


Or, it could make it easier for NTs to fill in the blanks with guesses, then cling to these bizarre ideas. You know how they are.

I've no idea what an ideal solution would look like.



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19 Feb 2015, 11:41 am

it would vary by community. In some communities it would be great. In other communities it would be we are diseased and a burden that need to cured phrased in flowery language, in other communities it will be we are mutants caused by vaccines. Look at the Jonathan Mitchell comments section if you disagree.

You know Autism Speaks will write the curriculum used by most.


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