27 comments on “Could you pass this kindergarten?

  1. It’s a good thing I went through normal kindergarten, because I wouldn’t be able to pass that one. As it was, every year the new teacher would try to get me to “pay attention” as they understood it. And every year I was harassed about it until they finally noticed that I was making straight A’s with my “not paying attention.”

    These days, I tell coworkers that I’ll hear them better if I stare off into space or fidget. I’m out about my diagnosis. And here in the Pacific Northwest, in the tech industry, people are pretty okay with that.

  2. I still couldn’t do that. I can’t do that for more than 45 seconds. I have very…active hands. And that’s good-if I’m still something is *very* wrong.

    Why do they even care if we move around? I went to school for education & not one of my profs could tell me why it was so important to get kids with disabilities to sit still other than assimmilation, which is a poor excuse.

    • The only somewhat reasonable explanation I have heard is that the movement is distracting. Conventional thinking is that the only solution to that is to stop the movement. We challenge them to come up with solutions that respect the need to move, and there are plenty: look away from it, let kids who need to move be in the back of the classroom… even just changing the way you think about the movement can make it less distracting. It used to drive me nuts when Nick would pace around the house because I thought he was being impatient or waiting for me to do/say something. When I came to understand that he was just regulating himself that way, my stress about it melted away. Now when he paces I feel happy, knowing he is using a perfectly valid and important self-regulation tool. It no longer distracts me (and I am easily distracted so if it can work for me…)

  3. This is also the kind of “teaching” that for me, inculcated a sense that neurotypical expectations were fundamentally hypocritical – a web of pretty theories that the proponents don’t follow themselves and certainly don’t demonstrate when it’s their turn to listen to people unlike themselves.

    • This is the concept of ableism, at its core. It’s important to press on with advocacy just to make people aware. So many just accept conventional thinking without question, but advocates and allies (like me 🙂 ) will keep pushing people to look more closely, because once you do, it’s clear that it doesn’t make sense.

  4. That’s gonna be rough for ADD/ADHD kids, too. Heck, I don’t think I could do most of those today, even assuming I cared about what the person was talking about.

    I actually concentrate and listen _better_ if I’m doing something with my hands and/or tapping my feet or something.

  5. Yeah… and just gonna put it out there- completely backwards and double-standardy to demand all this stuff even more strongly when there is a neurological reason that we can’t than when we are presumably capable of it.

  6. As a special needs teacher who trained in a ” normal ” class I would have to say that none of the “normal ” children could sit still either. Working in an integrated classroom made me more determined to find way to make all the students comfortable . I fell in love with teaching when I worked with children on the spectrum . For me that look of delight when they mastered a skill will forever want me to help then do their best according to their ability

    I never forget that I did it smile and that once in a lifetime hug

  7. Curebie Social Skills classes are a disaster waiting to happen! Someone should go overkill on the surveilance of these classes, bugs, moles, informants, the whole nine yards.

  8. Awesome job advocating for your child and fighting the typical IEP by insisting on a truly individualized plan that actually works for the best for your child. I know it’s not easy to do – educators would so often rather go with a “one size fits all” approach – pretty ironic, considering that word “individualized” right in the title. And you’re right on about honoring a child’s learning/listening/thinking style rather than forcing her to conform. Our three kids don’t have autism, but they all have their own exceptionalities. It was a constant struggle to remind everyone at school that bottom line they were just DIFFFERENT from most of their peers, and that they needed different rules in order to succeed.

  9. Wow, that is some pretty hostile signage. I know I still have trouble with some of those items, especially eye contact — not only do I have trouble looking at people when I’m talking to them or listening to them, but I hate people looking at me — it always feels like they’re judging me. I would have failed that kindergarten for sure. (I am not autistic, that I know of — I’ve felt for a long time that I might have some symptoms of it, but there’s no real point in getting diagnosed at 33, since I’m an adult now and I have to try to pretend to be normal whether I want to or not :()

    • I’d love to see you rethink the idea that you have to pretend to be normal. Even (perhaps especially) adults can successfully advocate for accommodations and support. Have you been to Karla’s ASD Page? She writes often about how she advocates for herself at work and in her daily life, and how her diagnosis has allowed her to get the support she needs.

      • My main concern is with things like job interviews (a concern for me as I am coming to the end of a Master’s degree program and looking for jobs in my field). In an economy like this, I feel like I won’t get hired if I can’t do the eye contact “acting normal” thing, and, anyway, I have been told that it is a bad idea for your employer to know you have a disability if it’s not obvious on the outside, because it’s none of their business and it gives them an opportunity to trump up a reason to fire you because they don’t want to do ADA stuff to accommodate you.

        (I am really sorry if anything I say sounds hostile or mean to you. It’s not my intention. This is an upsetting thing for me in my life because I’m sort of on the edge, where I feel guilty because I know what I “should” do (eye contact, bright cheerful appearance, endless love of socializing with strangers instead of being afraid of them and not wanting them to look at me, etc.) but I can’t quiiiite manage to do it and I don’t know what to do.)

        • You don’t sound mean or hostile at all. 🙂 I understand that this is a difficult issue. One thing to think about: even if you could manage to put on an act for an interview, do you want to be hired based on that act when that personality would then be expected of you all the time? I ould say that any job that requires you to be other than yourself is not the right job.

          What I hope for my son is work that suits him as he is, where his strengths are valued and his weaknesses either irrelevant or easily accommodated. Karla found that in high tech. I hope you can find it too.

          • Me too! I was always told that there are a lot of shy/autistic type people in the library field (which is what my masters is in.) People in my program seem much more outgoing than me but hopefully the overall industry will not be hostile to me.

  10. Teaching “impression management” one ‘reject’ at a time. When confronted by This kind of a picture while being literal-minded and thinking in pictures natively? This thought occurs to me – “Thou shalt worship thy Betters, for they are better than you, who art an object. Thou darest not become as they are, for that is Sacriledge, and unseemly. Instead, thou must become their perfected mirror, that THING which existeth solely to make them look and feel as good as is possible, as is appropriate for one’s GODS…” Ugh! Such EVIL! Why not say the TRUTH – “either provide us with the worship we are entitled to, or be destroyed for our pleasure!” (note: worship ~narcissistic supply)

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