Hello everybody! Welcome back to NTI HQ! My name is Jude Morrow. This week’s talking point is very close to my heart, and that is autistic children in schools.
Believe it or not, I was an autistic child in school, and now I am still an autistic child, but only in a 30-year-old body. So I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like. I was the child that no teacher wanted to have in his or her class. I was the child that none of the other children invited to their birthday parties. These thoughts stayed with me throughout. It really did.
Then, it all comes down to one thing. Teachers are not normally trained to form healthy and positive relationships with autistic children in their classrooms. I know a lot of teachers have their hearts in the right place. They want to develop, learn, and grow in their profession. They are bound to nurture relationships and positivities among every single child in their classroom. But it’s just not enough.
When I was very young, I found it hard to sit on a chair all the time. I often paced around rooms before, and I still do it, even now as a grown man. The truth is that I’m still taking everything in. I’m not distracting anybody. I’m not listening. I don’t disappear into a trance-like state similar to what an epileptic seizure would be like. I’m still very much conscious and aware of my surroundings. Unfortunately, not a lot of teachers know these things about me. In fact, hand flapping, toe-tapping, or whatever the same gestures there might be in a classroom are often mistaken by teachers for not listening, but it’s just not true.
Ultimately, this is one of the reasons why I founded NTI. NTI aims to encourage and appeal to every teacher’s good nature to foster positive relationships with each pupil in their class. To illustrate, I’ll give you a prime example from my own life. One thing I always loved to do was to read. I used to write short stories, and I believe I had a very creative mind. I wrote short stories, essays, articles, even dabbled in a little bit of poetry now and again. Eventually, I went on to write books.
However, it all started when I was nine. I went to school every day at that time with a classroom assistant. My teacher knew then that I loved to read. Also, I love to read aloud. Whenever we read books in the classroom, I always volunteered first since I was a confident reader. This is how I learned to speak and communicate much more effectively.
Consequently, because I was so good at reading aloud in class, my teacher recommended that I join the school play. Then, I became the narrator for the school play that year. I could still remember looking out onto the crowd and seeing how proud my mother and father were that their son was up on the stage, fitting in like everybody else, and doing what he was good at.
That teacher was a real hero for me! Without this experience, I wouldn’t have felt and drawn from within my confidence and self-esteem. I wouldn’t be able to do the speaking tours that I do now. I wouldn’t even be able to train and share this blog with you right now. It just wouldn’t have happened without those experiences. Indeed, all children have their strengths, no matter what their abilities are. Every child has strengths that can serve as stepping stones to boost their confidence.
Most teachers would conduct and get involved in autism awareness training, which only makes people aware of the negative stereotypes, misnomers, and even untruths about this condition. This, too, is why I want to bring my own brand of training, a strength-based motivational approach that will help you become a hero for an autistic child the way that particular teacher did for me. I wouldn’t be able to write this blog without the guidance and faith placed in me by that teacher!
You can do the same, and I would love to tell you more about it!