Thursday, March 28, 2013

EDUCATION AND AUTISM - What matters most to me

As far as education for Limefreckle Jr. goes, there is really only ONE thing that I have cared about, since we received his diagnosis.  SOCIALIZATION!  I'm not much of an academic.  I did OK in school.  B's, C's, the occasional A.  In University I think I had around a 3 pt. average, that rings a bell (I went to school in Michigan - do they still calculate grades that way?).  I wasn't much into books.  Loved to read, but not so much study.  I remember in highschool my parents went to a parent/teacher interview, and the teacher told them that I wasn't applying myself, and I could do so much better.  They came home and my response was "If I can go out and see my friends, and get B's (which in my mind were perfectly acceptable grades) then why would I instead stay home and miss out on all the fun, just to get A's?"  My Dad said I had a point....Mom, wasn't so convinced.  But I made it through. I went to University,  I worked, I got married, I have a comfortable life.  My philosophy worked just fine for me.  And I didn't miss out on all the fun in my teenage years staying home studying.

My favourite saying of all is "The A students will teach the B students how to work for the C students".  Like I said, I'm not an academic -- that doesn't impress me so much. Hard work does.  Personality does. Not diplomas.

So when it comes to Limefreckle Jr. and school, I've never really focused on the school work.  To me the focus has always been, and probably always will be SOCIAL.  I can't see a bright future for him if he can't learn to be comfortable with, and socialize with other people.  I remember back in his preschool days, the particular school he went to focused a lot on teaching children to read  (sadly, he didn't do to well, being delayed and all!)  The worker that helped me with him always blew it all off, and said "they all pretty much figure it out by grade 3" but I remember so many parents so impressed with their 3 year old's reading.  And that's GREAT, if that's your focus for your child, but never really mattered much to me.  I was busy trying to get him to learn how to relinquish a toy to another child without having an epic meltdown -- reading wasn't really on my radar.  He did learn, is still learning it, at a delayed rate to his age appropriate peers - but who cares, he's learning it!  We wasted 2 years of school in the public system, where his day pretty much consisted of hanging out in the principal's office when he wouldn't do as he was told (or coming home with me, I got a lot of calls to pick him up) so I can't really expect him to be at his age related grade.  His school work is modified.  That's OK.  AND HE IS ONE OF THE MOST SOCIAL CHILDREN ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM I HAVE EVER MET.  Now THAT is something I'm very proud of!

I've met kids with autism that struggle to say hello to other people, and while they might turn out to be geniuses,  I worry about how a child like that will cope in the adult world.  So for me, I don't worry so much about the grades, as long as he's learning the skills he needs to navigate this big, bad world, I'm happy.


Nelesc said...

YES!!!!! I am so with you on this. My 4th grader is preparing so hard for the upcoming state tests, and while we want him to pass, my main focus continues on him being a good person, having a high EMOTIONAL IQ, being polite to people, that is what i care about most. Really loved this post. i'll respond to ur e-mail soon, kids r off from break here too.

Kelly said...

Amen. I think you are a wonderful mom. I've always thought that I don't want to raise *children* , I want to raise adults! My husband, despite years at college, has fallen short of any kind of degree. He is able to support our family of six because he is a hard worker, a faithful employee, and is personable with everyone he meets. And, while we homeschool not because we've found anything wrong with traditional school setting, we know that not every person thrives in a "traditional" setting. I'm so glad your son has you :)

J and A said...

My bracelet came yesterday!! Put it on my post today! LOVE it. And I love this post!!!

Looking for Blue Sky said...

"as long as he's learning the skills he needs to navigate this big, bad world, I'm happy" That says it all for me, and it's where I'm at too, but it's taken me a while to get there!