Thursday, 14 March 2013
The Birds and the Bees, Bullies and Other Things
This was a pretty good read.
If you haven't read this, and you have ever had a student in your classroom who was autistic, you should at least grab this book, and skim over it.
Here is a quick summary of the book provided by Amazon.com:
Jack Gunthridge is known for his books. What his fans don't know is that he grew up not realizing he had a high functioning form of autism known as Asperger's Syndrome.
This is a collection of his memories of trying to figure out members of the opposite sex while having a condition that made it harder for him to interact in social situations. Sometimes his awkwardness caused him to be the target of bullies.
He offers his opinion and advice on how he dealt with these issues. He's hoping it helps other teenagers going through similar situations. He also talks about how he came to terms with his own autism diagnosis.
While this book talks a lot about the author's experiences as an adult with members of the opposite sex, it does give some insight into how Asperger's has affected his life. It was interesting to see things from "his eyes."
I know, as a teacher, it is easy to get frustrated or irritated with students who are autistic because they think differently than an average child does--they have behaviors that we might consider abnormal, and they tend to not "fit in" as well with their peers. I like this book for that reason...the author describes it as, "In a world where they are getting made fun of for being themselves, it makes it worse for them to have people be afraid of them..." "They can already be isolated from the majority of their classmates for being different. They want friends and to be accepted." Instead of educate bullies like schools are doing, Gunthridge suggests that we "actually need to do something totally crazy and reach out to the people who are different and let them know that we accept them."
This was insightful to hear as a general education teacher.