I started a group today ready to praise one of the guys for how he handled a particularly complicated bullying situation over the weekend. I tip-toed and politely asked if he would like to share his story of success. Mark declined, but Morgan quickly reported: ” I have a bullying situation that I need to share. He said to me, in front of the whole class, that I needed to keep my instrument with him because I couldn’t remember the combination to my orchestra locker. Then, later, at the end of class, he said to me that if I forgot my instrument again, I would be given a detention.” Morgan’s “he”: his middle school orchestra teacher. Within 240 seconds — or four minutes — the problem of the combination was solved (“Write it in your planner, dude!”) but the burn of the humiliation still resonated.
I’m going to believe Morgan with 100% certainty and do some speculation (neither of which are sound ideas) for a minute here. I’d bet my right arm this orchestra teacher was someone who “forgot” to read Morgan’s IEP. I’d bet if he had read the IEP, he wouldn’t have known what AS was or what the implications of AS are on how Morgan learns and communicates. I’d bet that he thought a consequence changes all behaviors. And it can, just not in the ways he may want.
I’ve decided that rather than rant about my frustration, which is usually therapeutic for me and (hopefully) a good read for you, I’ve decided to compile a list of resources for general education teachers about AS. These are resources less than $25 (cheaper than dinner for two) and easily accessible. If you know a general education teacher with a student with AS, please pass this on. It could save future humiliation.
Life Journey Through Autism: An Educator’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome (Brenda Myles, Jeanne Holverstott, Anastasia Hubbard, Diane Adreon, Melissa Trautman, and Kristen Hagen)
Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Practical Solutions for School Success (Brenda Smith Myles, Diane Adreon, Jennifer Stella)
Starting Points: The Basics of Understanding and Supporting Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome (Jill Hudson and Brenda Smith Myles)
Asperger Syndrome — Practical Strategies for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Guide (Leichester City Council and Leichestershire County Council)