We all love a little common sense. Quick to judge and point out the errors of another’s ways, resorting to the ‘common sense’ mantra. Sometimes the argument is petty, the viewpoint simplistic to the point of folly, but no matter, humans have never been one to shy away from offering their humble opinion to all aspects of life. Most, unfortunately, upon which they really have no expertise or insight to offer but yet the rest of us must suffer their respective whining.
History teaches a simple lesson: learn, and you will not repeat the mistakes of others who have gone before you. Sounds simple enough, but in practice rarely understood, followed, or even entertained as a possibility. Governments, we like to call them usually, but in our case a vast number of growing experts in the field of Autism apparently.
Progression is a wonderful thing, hindsight, too. For the former demonstrates humankind’s development and the latter, a wonderful perspective from which to view. Teaching continues to mould new ideas, bring creativity to all aspects of learning, and engage the student. Gone, thank goodness, are the days of parrot-fashion repetition of facts, and replaced with engagement, interaction, and a whole number of processes to improve the ecosystem. Except, perhaps it appears, when it comes to Autism. We are told Behavioural Analysis is the way forward. Speech improvement immeasurable and integration into main room classrooms evidence of its brilliant methodology. Well, forgive me if I don’t jump up and down from the rafters in celebration of this major miracle brought forth by the psychology movement. Seat me in a room and force me to repeat Mandarin Chinese phrases and hey presto, with a little over 40 hours a week of repetition and a cowardly rewards based system, I too would probably fit right into a Beijing based call centre. Backtrack a few years and remember the old style origins that included punishment. Probably not the best basis for the modern world – most of us tend to abhor physical violence of any kind but to ‘bully’ an Autistic child under the pretence of speech therapy is somehow classed as acceptable. Again, threaten me with a cattle prod and I will sing soprano, whilst wearing nothing but pink underpants, and juggle lemons for all to enjoy along with their London bus tour.
Of course, Lucky may end up in mainstream classes. But at what long-term cost? ABA might be approved but where are the studies that demonstrate its effects upon poor individuals over a forty or fifty-year period we like to refer to as life? Armed forces provide the largest organic psychological study of what happens when you break someone’s spirit. Troubles integrating back into society ring any bells. Nevertheless, why entertain such thoughts when they do not support your hypothesis?
All aspects of a child’s education have been rewritten over the years. Benefits of research and in some cases sheer bloody mindedness of those who refuse to accept the political norm, have led to countless new and brilliant developments that see children learning faster, and more importantly, happier, than ever before. Conversely, we are led to believe the best option for our child is the archaic system of stern teacher, respectful student, an assortment of rewards, and monkey style learning. As if, the scientific community forgot to keep the Autism professors in the loop.
Different, Lucky’s brain may be to his siblings, but guess what Autism experts: one language every child understands, including Lucky, and responds handsomely to, without the requirement for gimmicks, incentives or harsh tones already exists. We like to call it LOVE.