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From out of the darkness

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
This was good to read. I met someone who was put in slow classes only because they didn't didn't talk much, and everyone that assessed this student was wrong. They are highly intelligent and self-made. But l am angry at the system that treated this person with zero respect and dignity. And you start to wonder how many others are falling thru the cracks. Again, it's that communication aspect that really screws up things.

They should have better ways to assess autistic children's cognitive abilities and students in appropriate levels instead of just trying to raise head counts for federal funding. A child's ego is fragile and this still makes me angry. My homeschooling concept was to build my daughter's belief system in herself and not hold her down by emphasis on rote learning and grades. I rewarded her creative thinking, and her passions such as writing, ability to appreciate software, ability to adopt to whatever she need to learn and to pursue her passion. I only homeschooled because a bully threatened he would kill her. Now l am grateful to this bully. And at that time, l had no idea my daughter may also be on the spectrum.

At some point on our journey, she decided she wanted to be in the public school system. I think it was 6th grade. So l said sure no problem. I enrolled her. She called me from the principal's office on day three and told me she needed me to pick her up. I asked what happened. She told me that she informed the principal that she would be homeschooled and no longer would attend the public school, and her mother would be picking her up. I still laugh about that day. I think she figured out that the public school wasn't going to give her a lot of choices and foster her independent thinking and special interests. By high school, l did find a performing arts school, which she absolutely fell in love with and survived.

My daughter picked her time schedule, and l had zero issues. I never told when to go to sleep or when to wakeup. As a young adult, she attends a university and holds a part-time job.
 
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Active Member
@Aspychata , I wish my parents had been more like you. A favourite childhood fantasy of mine was that one day a man from the government would come and get me and give me back to my real family.

I wrote a letter to our newly appointed Minister for Autism, she liked my story and asked permission to quote parts of it in a speech. Naturally I gave permission, that's the whole point of me sharing my stories. Copy of letter below.

-----

Dear Assistant Minister Bourke,

I’m writing to express my pleasure in the creation of an Assistant Minister for Autism. Better education of teachers is something I see as a very positive move as well.

I grew up in a very rigid and unforgiving society and I still look back on my school years as the most traumatic period of my life. We didn’t really know anything about autism back then but I always knew I was different, in a society where being different was unacceptable.

I was in my twenties before I started to figure out that I was autistic and I didn’t get a formal diagnosis until I was fifty five years old. But from a very early age I understood that I had to live according to my own expectations instead of trying to be like everyone else and I had to have an indominatable will to make that work.

I was just shy of my fifth birthday when I quit Sunday School, “They’re not very nice people, Mum.”. That was a side of me that my teachers never understood, if I decided I wasn’t going to do something then that decision was final. I’m a high function polymath with extraordinary memory, I never understood why we were expected to sit there and repeat the same lessons over and over, year in and year out. So I mostly just sat in classes reading novels, if I bothered to show up at all. I always got straight As in end of year exams.

In year 11 I only showed up for two weeks. The first week was to find out where all my classes were supposed to be and who my teachers were. The second week was the last week of first term and exams. I got straight As again.

My Chemistry teacher accused me of cheating, I'd only showed up for one lesson for the year, I finished 20 minutes before anyone else and I got 96%. I arced up at this. I told her that I didn't cheat but if she didn't want to believe me then she was quite welcome to stay back during her lunch break and give me a retest.

She did, but she gave me the same test again. I finished in about 6 minutes and got 100%. She couldn't believe it, she asked me how. I said "It wasn't a chemistry test, it's just maths." "Rubbish." she said. "It's all chemistry questions." I told her "No, it's not. Take another look at it. All I had to do was learn the elemental chart, the rest is just maths. You've been my maths teacher before, you know what results to expect from me." She reluctantly agreed and let me keep the 100% result.

That was the last time I went to school. I had just turned 16 and was legally able to get out of there regardless of my father’s wishes.

I’ve had a very good life, all things considered. I have very few regrets, but I think I could have been of much greater value to my society and my country if the education I received was better suited to my needs. I think a little bit of change and a little more understanding could open up access to a great wealth of mental ability.

It’s nice to see positive change in our society, I hope it lasts.

Cheers,

Andrew.
 

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