Autism: A Lesson in Compassion

Posted on September 09, 2011

If you’ve met one person with autism, recipe you’ve met ONE person with autism.

Encourage your child to be a buddy with a classmate who may be lonely and feeling like an outcast.

“Do you want to eat lunch with me?” Those simple words may not seem like a big deal to most children, story but as parents with children on the autism spectrum know, they can mean the world to their children. Chances are your child knows at least one peer from school who is on the spectrum. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, three to six children out of 1,000 will be diagnosed with some form of ASD. Understanding autism has become increasingly important in our society and across the globe and it presents a significant opportunity to teach our children compassion through awareness.

As a teacher, some of the most fascinating students I have encountered in the classroom are children who have been identified as having autism. Often, the negative stigma that follows them around comes from a misunderstanding of their behaviors. Thinking about Autism Awareness Month made me think about all of the wonderfully hilarious, thoughtful, unique students I have taught who were on the spectrum. A bumper sticker I once saw read: “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met ONE person with autism!” This is so true! As with all individuals, children with autism have wonderful qualities worth recognizing and highlighting, unfortunately, some of these qualities cause them to be ridiculed in class. My responsibility as a teacher is to facilitate their acceptance in my classroom.

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Author: Jennifer Luchesi Long