Square Pegs are not necessarily a problem
fitting in is not always what is best.
I am reading over the descriptions for programs offered in my area for Asperger students. It all sounds good, but when we venture to the schools to look at the programs we were not comfortable. If a program seems to be a true transitional program preparing asperger students for life that would be wonderful, what we are looking for at this stage of the game, High School. In my area, there are so few programs and so many people moving into our area, it is quite insulting for any parent to believe that their child will be serviced properly in these conditions.
There is one program available to us. It is run very well. The Asperger students have an official transition class where they learn to fill out job application, go on interviews
and basic social skills. It starts the day off with a period 0 (that is the period in
High School which occurs before classes) Breakfast club to settle the students, socially and emotionally prepare them for the day. This is a great situation for the teachers of those students since whatever problem the student may come in with (which happens alot) might be worked out or redirected at that point thus causing less disturbance later on.
The true mission for these programs is for the student to learn in the least restrictive environment for him or her. However, so many think that this is the gateway for this type of personality to "fit in". It really isn't. Yes, they will learn to manage and cope with society, but will they truly "fit in". Who does? Come to think of it, why would they want to?
Asperger Students are able to attend regular classes and they SHOULD attend regular classes Many are excel in honors classes. They should NOT be sequestered because they WILL work in the mainstream, AND they will be lucrative members of society. However
to get through the difficult High School AND Intermediate school period they need support. AND our teachers need support. Telling a teacher to "read a book" or putting staff in yet another unproductive day of professional development with everything else they have to learn, for example: the forever changing curriculum and making the grade through test scores, is not going to cut it with our teachers. They are tired and angry right now. However, they also need to understand that medication and therapy will not change WHO a student is, what kind of personality they have. But if they are given programs that are not that costly to the school, but bring up the grades and the quality of life within the classroom it will definitely prove beneficial to all.
Preparing staff and giving Asperger students a comfort zone will cut down on
meltdowns(ASD) and in the case of the dyslexicor another Learning Disabled students in High School or Intermediate School, the cases of truancy because he/she cannot stand failing anymore may lower somewhat, because someone is finally working with their problems and helping them overcome their low self esteem.
It is so unnecessary to put students, staff and their parents through so much trama. So many dyslexic/Learning disabled students, like asperger students possess major
gifts. But those gifts are stifled because they cannot fit into the "round
hole" that has set up by society. I keep being told by people at schools that
they would be so happy if there was a place my son could "fit in". That is
never going to happen. He is a square peg. But that is not a bad thing. It
has to stop being thought of as a bad thing. THe greatest discoveries in the
world were made by square pegs and most of them were learning disabled of some
sort. My daughter is also a square peg, (although she is not Asperger nor is she learning disabled) and I tell her all of the time that this a beautiful thing. She designed a doll dress the other day, actually pinned and sewed it. She writes songs, lyrics and music. She is in 3rd grade. So I should want my kids to "fit in" so they can be like everyone else?
So few people are willing to take the risk and walk their own path. But as history shows, these are the ones who change the world. The square pegs will always be remembered. They are not afraid to stand out, they already do. They will forge ahead and find the answers, make a difference. Please do not attempt to stifle them or put out the flame, Anyone can be the person who dresses the same as everyone else and agrees with everyone word out of the so called scholar's mouth. But someone has to be the one to ask WHY? Someone has to be the first one to try. .