Psych Right now Asks “Are We Giving Autistic Youngsters PTSD From Faculty?”
As schools have become “behavior management factories,” what was the benefit for students with autism – from the most severely affected non-speakers to those with what we used to call Asperger’s? My youngest had the worst time in school, especially when she was in high school. I spent 4 years having IEP meetings to review chart by chart of their “SIB” (self-harming behavior) and AGGRESSION. The SIB hit or pounded on her thigh. The aggression hit the desk. At one point the school assigned her two parasites – one to work with and one to click data on the chart. I once asked a teacher, “How would you feel if your boss stole your coffee mug as soon as you walked in and you had to EARN every sip of coffee in the morning according to someone else’s success chart? taken away and had to do boring, repetitive, often abusive work to deserve a 5 minute break on your phone? “My older daughters are 25 and 26. Their behavior has improved since leaving school. I think they are feeling free to be yourself for the first time since preschool.
If you started with Spelling2Communicate, HALO, assistive technology or other successful endeavors to enable your son or daughter to convey their intelligence, their hopes, their thoughts, their fears, what did you learn? When I read JB Handley’s book Underestimated, An Autism Miracle, one sentence stuck in the manuscript. So much so that I influenced the final name of the book (I didn’t bow, but shared how much that influenced me.) When he asked his son Jamie what he thought of teachers who spent 12 years on preschool work who treated him as if he was unable to study or make progress, he told his father that he thought the teachers “… seriously underestimated him …” immediately to tell him that I thought it was his title.
The author of this Psychology Today article is local – I think I will contact her.
Marcia Eckerd, Ph.D., has worked with neurodiverse clients for over 30 years. She was appointed to the CT Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisory Council by the State Legislature of CT and is a member of the Clinical Advisory Group of AANE.org (Autism / Aspergers Network). She is a member of the Professional Advisory Board of Smart Kids with LD and the Community Medical Staff in Psychiatry at Norwalk Hospital. She has authored several professional, peer-reviewed journals on the diagnosis of autism and contributed to Autism Spectrum News and several other websites and publications.
From psychology today:
Do We Give Autistic Children PTSD From School?
1) We need to understand the behavior of autistic children in order to help them.
2) Answers without understanding decrease the personality, self-esteem, and confidence of autistic children.
3) Providing an environment that addresses the needs of autistic students benefits all students.
For most autistic children, school can be a toxic environment. On the advice of experts, school staff aim to ensure that the behavior of autistic children conforms to neurotypical expectations. The more indistinguishable a child from normal peers, the more successful the school intervention will be believed.
Disruptive or atypical behavior is described as oppositional, avoidant, attention-grabbing, rude, or simply inappropriate. Children who do not “cooperate” (that is, participate in and respond to behavioral interventions in schools) are often referred to as non-compliant. The problem is the child, not the intervention itself. Autistic children are often taught that what they feel, think, or do is wrong and instead should do what they are told. This can have a lifelong impact on self-esteem, self-confidence and self-advocacy. Quote from a student on a Stanford University panel: “It kills my soul.”
Suppressing the issue of self-confidence and self-advocacy is worth considering as schools expect students to “participate in post-secondary planning”. According to a 2017 study, “77 percent of autistic high school students play very limited or no role in post-secondary planning compared to 47 percent of students with intellectual disabilities and 27 percent of students with all other disabilities.” (Gillespie-Lynch , K. et al. 2017)
Many interventions address externally perceived behavior without understanding the meaning or necessity for the child. Behavior is the tip of an iceberg due to sensory, social, emotional, motor, and cognitive problems in the child. A child who “acts out” may react to internal frustration, overstimulation, fear, or other ailments. Plans often focus on eliminating “acting out” behavior rather than recognizing suffering. We need to support children and not focus purposefully on correcting behavior. READ MORE HERE.