Those of you who follow Thirty Days of Autism likely know that H co presented with me at the BCTELA Provincial Conference (BC Teachers of English Language Arts) this past weekend. You can read more about that here and here.
As anticipated, it was a fabulous experience!
H did a wonderful job sharing his presentation, and as also anticipated, he was proud to be presenting, but pretty much ready to bolt right after he clicked through his final slide.
I understand that response, and support H in responding to his needs. However this is the fifth time that H has presented, and though he would not be comfortable fielding questions, it seemed important that he stick around a little longer to hear some feedback from the teachers.
I’ll admit to having pushed him just a little bit here… but I think it was a stretch that will benefit him and support him in developing a greater understanding about the impact of the work he is doing.
Having H stay for a few minutes afterward gave the educators an opportunity to respond to him with appreciation for his message and know that the message was received.
They shared that they were impacted, which gave H first-hand information about the value of his work.
This too supports his advocacy, his sense of self, and his pride in his message.
There is value in the communication going both ways, and I had the sense that H was ready to handle sticking around to hear these positive messages:
You are appreciated!
Your perspective is important.
Thank you! This will help me understand my Autistic (and other) students better.
You are brave – I couldn’t talk to a group of teachers like this when I was your age.
It is good to understand and talk about what you need.
We are listening and you were heard!
The cycle of communication is not fully completed until we understand that the message has been received.
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 (2013)