Tonight I spent the evening giving an autism presentation to a group of SFU graduate students (who also happen to be K-12 educators). It was titled Thinking about Perspectives: Developing Perspective Taking and Social Understanding… and the fact that there is a double meaning to this title is not lost upon me. The teachers were rapt, even after a long day of working with students. To me this is tells a story of the capacity and commitment of teachers, and their desire to understand their students and their experiences. These educators are at the end of a two year graduate diploma program, and I was indeed fortunate to have the opportunity to share my perspectives, ideas, and experiences with them. (And uhmmm… I guess I’ll have to admit that I appreciate having a couple of hours to talk about my preferred topic to an interested audience! Can anyone say shadow traits?!?) One of the things I mentioned, in and amongst many other points, was that I have occasionally seen “lacks empathy” as a descriptor of a child with autism on an IEP. I encouraged these educators to correct this faulty thinking… and I explained why.
When I got home tonight… I arrived to news that one of my posts is being featured on the Autism and Empathy site. This is a fabulous site that is curated by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, and I encourage you to have a good read around and through there. The perspectives are profound and insightful, and I just can’t help but think that the world would be a better place if sites like these were widely read.
Check it out: Autism and Empathy
I want to express a very heart-felt thank you to Rachel for the wonderful work she is doing to increase understanding for those who process and experience the world differently. I am so honoured to be included.
And I also want to appreciate the amazing educators I worked with this evening. Thank you for being so open to a different way of seeing, and being. Teachers like you are going to make the schools a better place for children who have social cognitive challenges and who need our deep and profound understanding. This whole evening has been spectacular!!
30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.
© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2012)