Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sit Still! (OK don't then.)

Teachers constantly complain (well I do anyway) about how pupils cannot sit still and keep quiet in class. The official reason for this is that our lessons are not interesting enough. The real reasons are as follows:

1) Some have realised that there is no discipline in schools and they can do pretty much what they like. We'll address this one in a future post.

2) Fed on a diet of sugary drinks and snacks throughout the day, many kids are in a constant hyperactive state. To excuse this, a whole load of medical problems have been dreamt up by drug companies eager to sell new products to the gullible. Every register is chock full of acronyms and excuses such as ADD, Bipolar Somethings, Aspbergers, Oppositional Defiance Nonsense and of course ADHD. Here's a handy tip: if your own child is naughty just send a letter to his form teacher with your own impressive sounding disease and his every misdemeanor will be forever excused. It's like the 'Get Out Of Jail Free' card in Monopoly.

3) If I am cooped up all day without taking any exercise I will cause mayhem and go mad. Funnily enough the kids do exactly the same. Many are driven to school and simply forget their kit or waste their time playing table tennis in PE. Nobody dares force them out to do physical activity and so they burn off their excess energy in our lessons.

Ask anyone who has taken a school trip somewhere involving lots of fresh air and physical activity whether there were any problems from the naughty kids after the first couple of days.

Private Schools realise this and make them do sport every day whether they want to or not.

121 comments:

Genghis said...

The Head Teacher at my school thinks I'm an oppressive, antedeluvian Nazi because I insist kids in my lesson sit down, shut up, listen to me when I'm speaking and (worst of all) get them to read in lessons and write a lot of things down which I later ask them questions about.
I refuse to call pupils
"learners", I think "multiple intelligences" is a bag of shite, I think we need a damn sight more selection and corporal punishment needs to be reintroduced ASAP.
I could go on......
Y'know, somehow I just don't think I've got much of a future in State Education.

Mary said...

I believe certain of those conditions you've named do exist, but that they are hugely over-diagnosed. Unfortunately, the poor sods who ARE ill and DO need help get tarred with the same brush as the outright troublemakers who are plain and simple little gits.

In a school of 500 kids there will almost definitely be one or two where the teachers say things like "it's not that he's a bad kid, he's just..." or "I can tell he's trying but it just..." and those are the ones who need help and understanding and 'study support services' and so on.

Trouble is that when, in your school of 500, you have 150 kids (parents) claiming to have these conditions, the one or two genuine cases get kind of railroaded.

Anonymous said...

meh, regardless of if the child has a certain condition or not, it may explain their behaviour but it sure as hell doesn't excuse it.
In the real world, acting like half these kids do would make you unemployable pretty quickly.

Anonymous said...

Who said anything about employment? They're *kids*, remember?

Anonymous said...

One word, Frank: bigoted crap.

OK. I lied. That was two words.

" Every register is chock full of acronyms and excuses such as ADD, Bipolar Somethings, Aspbergers, Oppositional Defiance Nonsense and of course ADHD. Here's a handy tip: if your own child is naughty just send a letter to his form teacher with your own impressive sounding disease and his every misdemeanor will be forever excused. It's like the 'Get Out Of Jail Free' card in Monopoly. "

If you are not willing to inform yourself of the differences between bad behaviour, psychological disorders and neurological disabillities, then you are not fit to teach. It is, if you care to investigate, a contractual obligation.

I really think you should present yourself to the General Teaching Council, who will do the honours and pull the plug on your classroom career.

As a parent of an SEN child and a special school teacher, as well as someone who is active in support of parents who are desperately seeking the help and expertise that is available and can help these children, I have no hesitation in telling you this: you cause the problems with your attitude.

It isn't just grossly unprofessional, it is also discrimination.

Cynical

Almost American said...

The big difference between private schools and public is not the sports, but the fact that kids who truly can't (or won't) cope with a more disciplined environment can easily be asked to leave. Removal of the disruptive kids makes it easier for the others to stay on track.

I spent 10 years working in private schools, and despite the daily required sports, there were still kids who were clearly ADHD. I remember one kid in particular who had an awful first year at the school, socially and academically, was finally diagnosed and prescribed Ritalin and it changed his life.

The 'energy drinks' are definitely a problem. Teachers at my school this year have commented that they see a huge surge in energy levels after lunch (when the kids drink the stuff they've brought from home - it's not sold at the school!)

Lack of physical exercise is certainly a problem - far fewer kids walk to school than when I was a kid - when of course it was uphill both ways ;-)

My first year teaching I took my tutor group to the Yorkshire Dales for a couple of days and young Danny never seemed to burn off all his energy - jumped in the duck pond in Rosedale at the end of the second day (and had no change of clothes with him.) Wonder where he is now? In and out of jail ilke his older brother I would guess . . . Not a stupid kid, but never got the help he needed in so many areas. ADHD medication would have been a good start.

Oregan said...

after just five years of teaching, I'm long past caring whether these complaints are real or not. I just don't want to teach them.

I want to teach French to a normal range of pupils not spend my days doing crowd control and baby sitting.

What Frank says may not be what everyone wants to hear, but for me, it strikes a chord.

Almost American said...

I was ready to leave teaching - like oregan, fed up of the crowd control & babysitting. Then I moved to the US and taught my way through a Master's degree. What a revelation - I found I loved teaching when I actually had the chance to do it. That led me to private school teaching. I've just finished my first year in over 20 years in a non-private school. I spent most of the year in culture shock . . .

cramerj said...

The ineresting point was where was this behaviour (and all these ailments) in the 1950s We sat still and quiet. Mostly because everyone else did.
But also some of our energy was dissipated in the playgrounds and playfields. Plus adults were disciplined and polite too.
Another point of interest is what happenes to these bad behavers later on in life. In the workshops etc. That is when it becomes unprofitable.

Hal said...

I wouldn't say Chalk's post is 'bigoted crap' more 'Inconvenient Truth'

There's no way that these conditions, which never existed 40 years ago can possibly be due to anything other than lifestyle changes.

His point about the drug companies talking these diseases up has been made many times before. Think about where the profit for these companies is: it's not in curing Third World diseases such as malaria- thay can't afford the drugs. They would much rather sell more medicines to the Developed World who can afford it.

MM said...

In the 1950s, kids on the Autism spectrum were medicated and locked up in institutions for their lives - that's why you never saw them in the classrooms. Many of the children with the disabilities that Mr Chalk listed in such a cavalier manner (and yes, some of them are genuine disabilities and people who have the impairments are registered as disabled) will never hold down a full time job or have a "normal" life because of their difficulties. Many of them deal with prejudice and discrimination every time they leave their homes and some schools and some teachers also treat them very badly.

Fair enough, complain about the "naughty" kids and poor parenting, but why damn the children who struggle with real and significant difficulties?

As for Oregan - I wish you luck in trying to find a classroom of automatons who have no emotional problems or difficulties or challenges in their backgrounds. I find it very sad you want to teach a subject, but not teach real children. I hope you meet with more sympathy when you hit a personal problem in your own life - if people are not supportive of you, what hope do you have? Please - for the sake of the kids in your care -THINK about what you're doing to the very vulnerable with your attitude. As a parent of a severely disabled child and a teacher, I could take a leaf out of your book and say, I don't want to have dealings with narrow minded bigots - however, life isn't that simple. I'd prefer to try and educate you - you just see these kids as a problem (as presumably you would with a wheelchair bound child in your classroom) - there's far, far more to it than that.

Anonymous said...

I can see that there's two sides to this particular argument but i think the truth lies in the middle(somewhere!)

What has to be remembered is that many teachers are unpreppared for those children who do have genuine disabilities or disorders simply because of inadequate training.

In addition to this there are many children who, because of poor parenting and lack of a systematic approach to classroom discipline, (and overall school policies,) disrupt classes and humiliate professionals who would otherwise be good teachers. It also has to be remembered that these students are denying the other 95% of a decent education. Where are their rights in this, as well as a professional right to personal and professional dignity?

One of the things that I find hadest to take is that management, right up to government level, won't acknowledge a problem with these students. Therefore we cannot own this problem and solve it. That is basic variance analysis managment that the private sector (including education!) does everyday. Or fails and dies. Is our eduaction system going to fail and die because we won't own this problem?

Louise said...

MM I've got one class of 29 with 7 who have medical notes claiming one of these conditions.

I can't accept that. I just don't think they are genuine. Sure in the past we had maybe 1 in 100 children with some sort of problem but now I've got almost one in four!

In my view, many are the result of parents refusing to accept that their child is simply naughty and desperately seeking an excuse for their behaviour.

Why is it so bad to just want to teach normal kids? I never applied to teach special needs and have never been trained to. I applied for a job as a Science teacher many moons ago but alas I am no longer able to do much teaching, as I'm too busy just trying to stop the class killing each other.

Tom Welsh said...

Whatever may be the case about psychological conditions, Frank is dead right about lack of exercise. No two ways about it: we evolved to cope with regular, demanding exercise. It might have been trekking 20-30 miles to a new location, sprinting a few yards and leaping up a tree or a steep cliff to escape predators, or clambering through trees. Whatever, our bodies are "designed" for that exercise, just as they are designed to breathe, digest, and sleep. I once saw a TV programme in which a Kalahari Bushman ran a gazelle into the ground, just by steadily jogging after it. After about 24 hours (and 40 or 50 miles) the gazelle could no longer stand up, and the Bushman just walked up and cut its throat. How many modern British people could do anything like that?

It's amazing the number of modern ailments that simply go away if you walk a brisk 5-10 miles every day, ideally with some exercise for the rest of the body thrown in. You sleep far better, digestive problems become a distant memory, and you even start to prefer healthier foods. You can concentrate better because your body stops nagging you for something it knows it needs, but can't quite identify because it's so long since it got any.

Even the chronic problem of salt levels in the blood could be caused by lack of exercise. Even brisk walking makes you sweat steadily, and sweat contains plenty of salt. Try walking 20 miles, then lick the back of your hand!

Pity modern life makes it so hard to get that vital exercise. It's partly lack of places to do it, but mostly lack of time.

Anonymous said...

Genuine illness or reaction to too much blue pop and television, who would think for even a second that they can be educated in the same class as pupils who are not thus afflicted?

Oregan said...

MM children who can sit still and listen are not 'automatons'. They are simply decent pupils who know how to behave.

I fully admit that these are the ones I prefer to teach. This doesn't make me a monster, simply an average teacher, as you will discover if you ask around any staffroom when the SMT are not listening.

Anonymous said...

We have a teacher in our school who is great at talking all that "value children as learners" and "meet the needs of needy children stuff" However, she's also the one who turns up late for classes and releases her classes early. Parents also complain about her ability as a teacher. If SMT were any good they'd be addressing the competency issues that are so evident to the rest of us.

Martin said...

Best current estimates for the prevalence of autism put it as 1 per 1000. Asperger's is 2.5 per 10,000.

At a conference recently, someone said to me, "Ah, autism - the new dyslexia".

Anonymous said...

It's fine to make fun of the nice kids by calling them 'automatons'.

Call the loopy kids 'nutters' and you will get a telling off.

ldygwynedd said...

Long story short:

I've been a high school teacher since 1978. I spent the first ten years of my profession learning how to manage a classroom full of all kinds of students. During that time, I blamed the students for the disruption -- not my own lack of competence. I eventually figured out that if was going to stay in the profession I was the one that needed to change. So, I did. From my tenth year of teaching, when I finally got the hang of classroom management, I finally was actually able to teach my students. The last twenty years have been rewarding both personally and professionally.

If you honestly study the past, kids with severe disabilities were warehoused and doped up, excluded from society entirely. Kids with milder learning disabilities were segregated from the "normal population" and usually dropped out of school and got a laboring job somewhere. There's not that many laboring jobs anymore, if you've noticed. What should we do? Ignore this section of our population? Or try to give them the tools they need to make something productive of their lives? I guess it depends upon whether you believe your job is to teach a subject or it is to teach a child.

I've found in order to be successful in the classroom, I first have to LIKE the students I teach. This isn't a pappy, hippy-dippy, let 'em off easy approach. I am the most demanding on the people I actually care about. I want them to reach their potential. So, I push them but with a smile. And, while they may not care one way or the other about me, they recognize I have their best interests at heart and usually they surprise themselves at what they are able to achieve.

Life is too short to spend it working in a profession in which you are unhappy. It really is.

MM said...

Oh, believe me, I'm not making fun of the 'nice' kids. I like teaching them too. I teach because the teenagers in my care make it worthwhile, and because the buzz you get when the challenges they present pays off is like nothing else - whether it's getting a student their A* or helping them to cope with horrendous home issues. It's part of what makes them them.

Unlike some people here, I don't and won't reject children just because they're disabled. I've learnt to teach them and get the best out of them. It would have been easy to shrug and say I wasn't qualified, but my conscience won't let me abandon any child to rot just because I don't like students with labels messing up a nice orderly classroom. Like someone else has said, change your approach and your teaching style and you'll surprise yourself as to how much the problems are coming from you, not the kids at all.

Autism and other disabilities are real. So is discrimination. It's the kids I feel sorry for - as unimpaired adults, we can adjust to accommodate them and learn how to educate them (if we choose to), we have those skills.

You can't reject kids in the classroom because they're not perfect, just like I'd never reject my own disabled son because he doesn't have (like his sister) Oxbridge potential. They're both valid people in their own right and both important.

If you want a bandwagon to jump on - I suggest you start protesting about the special schools closing and a lack of specialist provision. A massive percentage of the parents of disabled kids WANT their kids out of mainstream because of the abuse they suffer - they're not singing from a different hymn sheet. Ironically they want the same thing that some of you do - their kids out of your classrooms because of the lack of training for teachers and the damage that is done through ignorance.

MM said...

Almost forgot to respond to Louise - sorry.

I can only really speak of Autism as it's the only one I've got personal experience with on the diagnosis front. Have you ANY idea just how hard it is to get a diagnosis? You're talking about a multi-agency assessment across several years and an uphill fight to get it.

As an example, it took us two years and our son is non-verbal with no understanding of language, no sense of danger and very, very obvious indicators of his issues. The support group I set up for parents has several hundred people telling the same tale. It's not as easy as you think to be diagnosed and the impairments can be crippling, even if they're not as visible as a wheelchair.

When you've got the medical qualification to be able to diagnose, then I'l be prepared to listen to your rejecting of children's needs. Until then, you have an obligation to handle them in a manner appropriate to their medical needs. You're playing with fire not giving them appropriate educational provision because of what you believe and think about them.

Like I said on my previous post, parents are desperate to get their kids out of mainstream and into specialist provision. The system is letting them down very badly. It's not the disabled kids at fault here.

lilyofthefield said...

As someone else said "Stop that! Or I'll tell you to stop it again!"

Anonymous said...

It saddens me to see an attitude in so many teachers of "I couldn't care less". As long as the wage slip arrives at the end of the month eh! GET OUT OF SCHOOLS and give our kids a chance to thrive!

If you hate the job ... go to Tescos and use your degree to swipe my shopping over the scanner!

It never ceases to amaze me ... every one of the teachers who like to sit and moan know exactly what is involved in teaching today ... if it didn't appeal ... why are you ruining your own life and those of your pupils?

I have taught in some very deprived and harsh schools, been sworn at, assaulted, spat on etc etc ... but with strong BUT fair discipline I have won round all but a handful by getting to know them and the issues affecting them.

Empowering myself with knowledge and skills (as is a contractual requirement) has made me a teacher that kids respect, where they wouldn't put a foot wrong in my class but where they feel they can speak to me about anything.

Teaching has moved on from corporal punishment and traditional rows upon rows of children ... give yourself a shake and assess whether YOU are fit for the job!

J

Anonymous said...

With words like 'empower' you could be in the next TDA recruitment campaign, J

However not all of us feel that we should be the ones to bend over backwards to accommodate the nightmare pupils.

Also I reckon you can do a lot better than checkout work at Tescos with a 2:1 in Maths from a real Uni.

Maybe I'll follow your advice and make way for another of the hopeless cases who get jobs at our school nowadays. God help the bright kids though.

Jut said...

mm
well it would seem that inclusion is a lose lose situation then.
Parents want their disabled kids in specialist schools and teachers don't want them in mainstream (for your information I don't want them in my classes because I am not trained to provide for them and have the choice of ignoring them and concentrating on the 24 able students or ignoring the 24 able students to provide for the disabled child.)
Inclusion is a joke.

MM said...

Yes, inclusion is a joke, but I'm not going to let the kids down that I teach. I've got a professional responsibility towards them that I meet. Sadly, not all staff (as we can see from this conversation) do meet their responsibilities and the damage resulting from this is enormous. Try the stories here just as an illustration: http://www.helpushelpthem.org.uk/page_1172051136500.html (and no, I'm not involved in this campaign)

Jut - I'm speechless. It's like me saying I don't want any Islamic kids in my class. It's not the child's fault that they're disabled - HOWEVER it is the school and the LEA's fault that they're in your class and unsupported. Maybe you need to rethink the direction of your irritation?

Anonymous said...

Working as a teaching assistant, I was helping two dyslexic children in the classroom. Whilst explaining something to one child, the other one cried: "Miss, Miss, you've got to help ME more, i'm MUCH more dyxlexic than HIM!". Says it all. Funnily enough, whilst having great, great difficulty in doing anything that included reading whilst inside the classroom, you should have seen them texting on their mobiles during break time! No sign of dyslexia then. When I mentioned that fact to the powers that eb and suggested to apply my help so some more deserving causes, I was met with icy stares. How DARE I suggest such a thing such as some kids just not being bothered to work.Poor, poor challenged children.....

jerym said...

Not being a teacher and a father of four sons I can only imagine what is involved in the job and you have my thanks, admiration and respect but reading your comments over the past months I am more and more convinced that your real job isnt teaching but crowd control.At what point does a group become a mob?The obvious answer to this is smaller classes,one disruptive kid in fifteen is bound to be easier to control than two in thirty and maybe thats just one of the reasons why private schools are so popular with those who can afford them. I know I`m being simplistic but it is often a matter of seeing the wood and forgetting the trees for a minute.

Jut said...

mm - Being Islamic doesn't affect the ability of a teacher to provide for the entire class, so enough of the PC bullshit please.

It's not the kids fault, but it doesn't change the fact that often I'm unsupported and unqualified to deal with many of the disabilities present as a result of inclusion.
Placing blame is drawing attention away from that fact.
Being placed in a specialist school, where staff are trained to work with disabilities is better for them, the kids that are in mainstream and me.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what the 'differences between bad behaviour, psychological disorders and neurological disabillities' are?

I just want to teach French to a class who can sit still and pay attention and maybe remember the odd word! Why is that considered so bad nowadays? I never asked to be a Social Worker or an SEN teacher.

Anonymous said...

I don't know of any other job than teaching where you have to put up with

people calling yuyou insulting names

being sworn/shouted at daily

being blamed for EVERYTHING that goes wrong

working more than 12 hours a day without any overtime pay AND being expected to be "enthusiastic" at all times

being evalued all the time by three different groups: pupils, parents, school management team

Pretending all the time that completely hopeless cases are just "not quite yet reaching their potential" rather than calling a loser a loser.

Having to put up with your "workforce" arriving on a daily basis with their 2toolkit" not there or inclomplete, expecting you to supply them


Being trained to work with normal people and then having lots of psychos let loose on you

Genghis said...

When I read posts by people such as MM I genuinely have to ask myself if they are, actually, sane?
Children who can behave in a normal (oooh, look, a naughty word!) fashion are not "automatons" and teachers who would like to work in an environment where they are not abused, insulted, intimidated, assaulted, ignored and, generally, treated with contempt are not "narrow minded bigots".
A monstrous crime has been perpetrated against the children of this country and, no, it isn't "denying them their human rights", it is denying them the right to be Human. It's denying them the opportunity to understand what it means to live in civil society, to have consideration for others, to know what self control and, yes, self restraint (of the kind I have to practice every single bloody day in this dump where I attempt to teach) means, denying them the experience of taking responsibility for one's actions and the results of those actions.
I fear, I truly fear for our society.
The mindbogglingly STUPID bleating about violent, unsocialised, self-obsessed, sociopathic "youth" as having "issues" or "chaotic backgrounds" is nothing but suicidally self indulgent navel gazing. While insisting that the mayhem in our schools is the fault of teachers for not being "concerned" enough, or "professional" enough, or "interesting" enough, or "relevent" enough is enough to make one cry with frustration. By constantly bending down and pandering to the whims and demands of pupils we are lowering standards of behaviour and genuine acheivement to oblivion.

Anonymous said...

anon ... a 2:1 maths degree does tell a tale .... learn to teach children and not teach a subject!

Danielle Abernethy said...

My son is ADHD, and I do not allow it to be an excuse in the classroom. We also found out he was having absent seizures. We found this out in a 48 hour EEG and sleep study. He was not sleeping at night, unable to get to the final round of sleep due to episodes that caused him to not get the final stage of sleep. He was also known to tune out the teacher or get up and walk around the classroom without understanding of what he was doing. Sort of like sleep walking. It scared him when he snapped out of it and wasn't in his seat or where he thought he should be. His teachers all know about his condition and they work with him or take note of anything I should tell the doctors about. Other than that, if he is disrespectful or does not follow directions - he gets written up and punished like everyone else. His ADHD is not allowed to be used as a crutch because he can control himself, especially with medicine. We're teaching him to recognize the inappropriate behaviors and how to correct them when possible.

So I take offense to Mr. Chalk's blanket statement. Poor diet is one contributor, bad parenting is another, lack of skilled professional educators is yet another - and the list of medical problems are compounded by the above if not handled correctly. If he was a true educator he'd become familiar with any of the "diseases" (which it's not, it's a disorder) and be prepared to professionally respond to the parent when they try to use that as an excuse.

Jimmy T said...

I'm with Oregan on this one. We're not doctors so why should we be interested in this weeks fashionable complaint?

If they can't behave I don't care what their problem is.

I'm a maths teacher and I will teach maths to pupils who behave in my lesson. End of story.

Anonymous said...

'Teach children not the subject'

What a load of crap. Give me a teacher with a 2:1 in Maths over some clown who thinks they are one of the kids, any day. Not that we have the slightest chance of attracting one at our dump.

dessy said...

We are here to teach so give us the kids that are equipped to learn.
If kids are disabled enough to be unable to learn in an ordinary classroom then reopen the special schools for them.

Anonymous said...

Genghis,

Did you read a word of MM's comments, or did you decide that disagreeing with you justifies a recitation of your script?

If you refuse to accept that there is a difference between a "violent, unsocialised, self-obsessed, sociopathic youth" (your words) and a child with a diagnosed neurological disability or a pschological neurosis caused by factors beyond their control, then you are a bigot.

Neither MM nor I disagree that antisocial youths who know better need to be tackled head-on.

But children with disabilities and induced neuroses need an intelligent, informed response. If a teacher decides that s/he does not wish to be either intelligent or informed, then that teacher is in breach of their contract with the LEA and the DfES and, therefore, not fit to teach.

You don't "have principles" or "maintain standards" if you treat disabilities as a fashionable excuse. It makes you no better than the Nazis.

Cynical

Phil said...

I'm in with Ghengis, Oregan, Anonymous etc. I don't want to know about neoroses, nutters or whatever and I certainly don't care if that puts me in breach of some contract with the LEA. I just teach (geography) to those who have the manners to listen.

Also, putting words in bold doesn't make them more important.

Jut said...

nothing like a comparision to the Nazi's to prove your point; You would make a good Daily Mail "journalist" :rolleyes:

Tell me anon, do I have principles or standards if I'd rather teach 25 "normal" kids at the expense of someone who I'm not trained to deal with who should be in a special school anyway?

And you're naive to think that there are not a percentage of children with behavioural problems who are labled as "disabled" when all they need is some exercise, a change in diet and clearly defined boundarys with sutible sanctions in place when these boundarys are crossed.

Jules said...

Well. That was delightfully ignorant.

My son is autistic and simply cannot sit still for long periods of time. If he's forced to he gets very stressed. Thankfully his teachers know better than yourself and allow him short movement breaks, after whcih he can come back and continue working.

There are huge differences between these conditions and bad behaviour, and if you don't understand that or can't be arsed to learn, perhaps you're in the wrong job.

People like you make our lives that much harder.

Gordo said...

I've got a class of 28 with 5 having one of these 'syndromes'.

Unfortunately I can't spot any difference whatsoever between the behaviour of these five and another dozen or so who don't have these complaints but are just labelled 'naughty'.

Joey said...

Couldn't agree more with this post. There may well be one or two with some mental problem in every school but the other hundred are just suffering from that old fashioned complaint of 'pain-in- the-arse child' syndrome.

Can't parents see that if their child can't sit still and behave then they will be unemployable.

An employer isn't interested in any of these conditions. Parents should stop going on at the teachers to try to 'understand them' and concentrate on what's important; ie sorting out the child's behaviour.

Anonymous said...

Chalk, you've spelled 'Aspergers' wrong. (or 'ass burglers' as the kids call it here)

Anonymous said...

No one has mentioned how much television has changed student's attitudes toward school, creating a need to be "entertained" in any way that doesn't require effort on their part. For more info read "The Plug-In Drug" by Marie Winn.

And, for those of you who don't think diet is a problem, schools in my district serve the students government-sponsored lunches such as this one, which comes on a styrafoam tray: a cup of liquid nacho cheese from a large can, a handful of taco chips, chocolate milk loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, a juice popsicle (with real juice, at least) and about two tablespoons of pale, shredded iceberg lettuce with salad dressing. Students have difficulty concentrating in the afternoon when they don't eat FOOD for lunch.

Here's one great solution for that:
http://www.edibleschoolyard.org

Anonymous said...

Wow there are so many people on here who are so in the wrong job and in this changing world will probably end up with the much deserved sack
for their cruel, blind, unrealistic and clearly UN educated ways.

I just hope you people NEVER have to live with any of these all too real conditions and that you never have children with them (as with parents with your level of ignorance there will be no hope for them)

I agree with the comment about Daily Mail journalists too (Although at least most of them can at least spell the conditions they know nothing else about.)

Anonymous said...

"Tell me anon, do I have principles or standards if I'd rather teach 25 "normal" kids at the expense of someone who I'm not trained to deal with who should be in a special school anyway?"
Jut, if you are a teacher then you are a professional. That means that you have an obligation to inform yourself about the needs of your pupils and find the necessary skills to deliver what they need.

It's part of the job. If you don't like it, then don't do the job. It's as simple as that.

And regarding the closure of special schools - if you don't like it, then get politically active. The parents already are. They don't want their vulnerable children to be taught by wilfully ignorant teachers who dismiss diagnoses and needs just because they can't be arsed to make an effort.

Anonymous said...

Look at the stats- 4 million kids in the US diagnosed with adhd. Where they lead we always follow.

It's utter nonsense, cooked up as Chalk says by the drugs companies.

Most teachers I know think that maybe one in ten cases is genuine and the rest just can't behave.

parentandteacherone said...

Here's a link to a discussion on the TES board

http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2388967&path=/Opinion/

http://www.tes.co.uk/section/staffroom/thread.aspx?story_id=2396429&path=/Opinion/

I think, like most teachers that it is massively over diagnosed. I also ahare the view of Oregan etc that we shouldn't have to bend over backwards to accommodate these pupils. We've got enough on our plates trying to teach the majority who can actually behave.

I love these idiots who lecture us on what we should be doing (and sprinkle capital letters around for good measure)

Anonymous said...

My 16-yo son is autistic with severe learning difficulties. He couldn't cope in a mainstream school and I don't want him in one, not because of the abuse he would get there so much as because I want him taught by teachers who know what they are doing, as he is in his excellent special school. Mainstream schools are for mainstream kids, and that doesn't include handicapped ones. But there are far too many people jumping on the autism bandwagon. Autism is a crippling, serious disorder. Mild Asperger's is a completely different kettle of fish and parents of genuinely, severely autistic kids get extremely fed up with seeing the word autism bandied about for kids who are not cripplingly disabled but who use it as an excuse for behaviour that they are quite bright enough to control if they feel like it. If my son can learn to control himself, which he has to a large extent, then I'm damn sure someone whose IQ is about 50 points above his can do the same if they try and if they aren't excused all the time. So-called special needs aren't a blanket get-out clause and it's about time parents realised this.

Jut said...

anon - In most jobs if you are expected to take up extra roles and responsibilities you are given training and a payrise.

You can't expect to close special schools and have teachers give up their own free time, unpaid, to deal with the fallout. There is enough work to do as it is.

Teaching is a JOB. Nothing more, nothing less.

DavidMBaker said...

As a special support assistant I don't think the types of special needs you mentioned are over diagnosed at least not in the area I work in. Personally I enjoy working with students with the various special needs you seem to be suggesting 'don't exist' or are 'over diagnosed'.

Part of the reason various of these needs weren't diagnosed years ago is that it is only recently people have defined the problems some students face and categorised them. Often you find when you use the latest methods to help teach these type of students you find that the issues with behaviour decrease and their ability to access the curriculum increase.

Part of the problem I think is that often the students with the special education needs find the work a lot harder at school and hence are more likely to lose focus. They also seem more prone to been distracted by any other incidents in the class and because of the way they react can make the incidents worse.

Personally I have put myself through one course on Autism and Related Communication Difficulties which has helped me understand that particular condition much better. I think one of the problems though is such courses are not made available to staff in mainstream schools. I personally had to self fund that course.

Also talking to friends who have trained as teachers (as I am about to do after the summer) they recon that they didn't get much teaching about special educational needs. So unless like me you have a particular interest in the area teachers won't know how to handle the students with these needs and hence will face difficulty.

There are some students who are just badly behaved. However I know one student that is said about in my current school who has just had support added to some of his lessons. The lessons with support he has been a model student in because he has had someone to clarify instructions and simplify them. This seems to be particularly needed in inner city schools.

I am going into teaching because I enjoy working with students. The special needs students can often make steps that are bigger than any gifted and talented students can make when you look at their ability levels. I know which ones I find more pleasurable.

I think the main problems are really:

- Lack of training of teachers with respect to special needs and what stratergies work best with particular students.
- Lack of support assistants to support special need students in mainstream schools. (Not helped by the number of statements LEAs withdrew.)
- Too much red tape stopping schools getting rid of really disruptive students who often unsettle any special needs students in the same class.
- Too many teachers going in the job for the wrong reasons. You should do the job for the love of teaching students not financial gain.
- Teachers not realising in some cases parents aren't appauling and can help them minimise disruption caused by their child in class and particular stratergies that work well with their child.
- Teachers not teaching to childrens interests. Hence they find the lessons boring.
- Teachers having too much paper work to have time to plan lessons that are holistic.

Anonymous said...

Further to my post at 20.02, can I just add that special schools focus on what their pupils can do and build on that, step by small step. They DON'T, unlike so many parents of kids with 'special needs' of one sort or another, start with the assumption that a kid can't do this or that therefore there's no point trying. My son was recently one of a party of kids from his school who went on an outdoor education trip with 3 overnights at a centre 100 miles from home. There were two other school parties at the centre, of so-called normal kids. Our kids were apparently the best-behaved and most enthusiastic lot there. And yet when they were all younger they were variously non-verbal, hyperactive, prone to tantrums, you name it. If these kids, all of whom are autistic with severe learning difficulties, can improve their behaviour to this extent, any kid can achieve it. Parents have got to understand that there is no such thing as a child who can't change their behaviour, because it just isn't so.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance, pure ignorance, there is not really much more to say is there?

As for "what other job do you have to put up with being....etc" I can think of plenty, nurse, doctor, council worker, traffic warden, prison officer, bouncer, to name a few. Its such a shame that there are those few who obviously are not prepared to "work" with these children and would rather they were not in their classroom. No wonder the children don't make progress.

Like others have said, take it up with the Government don't blame the child or their parents.

I have 2 children with an ASD, both statemented, I DONT have a choice of where they are educated. I would rather it was anywhere other than mainstream away from attitudes like this and some of the teachers above. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Whether you like it or not, it is your job and you have a duty of care towards all the children in your class.

I worked in care for many years, I left because in the end I didn't enjoy it and I had enough respect to walk away rather than take my hang ups out on the people I was supposed to care for. I suggest you do the same.

Anonymous said...

I'm an adult with Asperger Sydnrome. It's something I have lived with all my life but didnt find out about until I was 29. I am now in my late 30's.

I take huge offence to what you have said. I was perceived as being a bad child but that wasnt my intention. I never meant to upset people or cause fights and arguments but it happened because I didnt understand people and they didnt understand me.

As a teacher, you SHOULD be more aware of your students and realise that they may have problems but your job is surely to recognise and bring out the best in these kids? If you cant do that, then maybe you should be looking for another job.

Had I not had support and help from my teachers I wouldnt be where I am today. They helped me harness the things that I was good at and obsessive over and it became my career.

Am I on the Autism spectrum? Certainly am but I can guarantee my achievements are much greater than yours because I had people who supported me and helped.

I now work in a very senior management role, I take home more money in a month than many people make in a year. I live overlooking the Thames and I am proud of my achievements.

Some of that is down to the fact that I had teachers at the private boarding school I went to who actually cared. They didnt know I had Aspergers and neither did I.

Here's another little thought for the rest of you... Do you think that maybe its possible that the diagnoses are not over done but that 10-20 years ago less was understood about these conditions and therefore less people were diagnosed?

If you are told that a child has a condition, surely that should give you an idea of how to relate to that child? Dont excuse bad behavior but be aware of what causes it. If you think sugary drinks are causing issues with a child tell the parent that you have noticed that young Billy seems to change his behaviour after he has had his can of softdrink.

I would hate to have had you as a teacher.

Helen said...

I am amazed a parent of a child with Autism using a seriously outdated word like 2handicapped" and attacking parents of children they feel are less affected than their own.
No one has the right to judge another parents or chil's suffering like that.
We should stick together, afterall there are enough "Idiot" out there ready to stick the knife in as it is.

But I must say how good it is to see there are some obvious natural teachers on here with the compassion, commitment and heart the vocation of teaching children calls for.

Anonymous said...

Helen - I make a point of using the word 'handicapped'. It's simple and people understand it, which makes my and my son's life easier than using mealy-mouthed euphemisms like 'on the autistic spectrum' which nobody outside 'the business' understands. And I make no apology for castigating those who seek to put their mildly affected children in the same category as severely affected ones. There are degrees of handicap and if 'autism' in the general perception comes to be identified with those who are mildly affected, as is starting to be the case IMO, it actively disadvantages the more severely affected. My own son wasn't officially diagnosed till he was 14, at our request, because we wanted to deal with the child we had and to see how well he could do, not to have him labelled and categorised. You may not like my approach, but that's your choice. I do not choose to be a professional autistic parent. It just so happens that one of our children has some difficulties. He's still a human being and he has to fit into the world as far as he can. Labelling him and expecting nothing of him helps nobody, least of all him. I'm afraid that after 16 years of dealing with a severely-handicapped son I am not about to be lectured by someone whose approach may be different from mine. There is more than one way of dealing with the situation and we don't all have to be the same.

British National Party member said...

Right, i have aspergers. This makes being around people very different. I hated (catholic) school because of the proximity of others.

Never the less, if i am in school, i must conform. If it was too much for me i should have left. It is not the school that should conform to the pupil, but the other way around. The school needs to hold absolute, high standards, for the kids to strive for. And if my apsergers were to stop me meeting some of those standards than that's too bad for me. don't lower the bar for everyone, otherwise schools will just churn out ignorant scum.

British National Party member said...

*I actually meant to say difficult above, not different, but that's a freudian slip of sorts.

Having aspergers is like this. Our body language is completely foreign to normal people. Every person you meet has to learn our body language. This might be something to do with the limbic system - this is a very interesting article entitled Reality is a shared hallucination which mentions the limbic system.

Anyway, it makes being around people tiring. Imagine going to germany and not being able to speak or understand more than a few words of German, but having to interact with people who don't know that, who just think your being "difficult" Or "naughty" or something. The thing is though that because of the way your head is wired you will never be able to learn more than a few words of "german" (normal body language) so being around people is basically one long experience of letting them down, offending them or just not understanding them, all the time while trying your hardest to alleviate the symptoms.

I dont know why i said all that but there we are. The point is that school is there to teach childeren, and if you can teach 20 normal kids 100 things each when they are together together, or 20 normal kids and 5 different kids 50 things each when they are together because you are forever mopping up after the different ones, then for all concerned schools should be set apart for different needs, with the wilfully bad kids just kicked out.

To anon who has achieved so much overlooking the thames, i felt proud reading about you, oddly! but my teachers didnt know i had aspergers either, nor did my parents, we found it out when i was 21. I was in top sets for everything though, and did pass the exam to grammer school (but lived outside the catchment area so i wasn't lucky enough to get in)

Good for you. I wish that was me. I guess i just didnt get the support i needed socially to be able to cope with people IRL. Its a tricky one and i can see it from a few sides, but i have to say that at the end of the day the first step to improving schools is to kick out all the very badly behaved kids and re-introduce corpral punishment for the rest. We have to make sure that the majority are well educated, or in fact simply educated, before we worry about the minority.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, BNP member. You have just reinforced the point I was trying to make. You have Asperger's, but you are very much capable of thinking about it, analysing it, writing in a complex way about it and all the rest of it. My son reads and writes at the level of a 5-6-yo, his speech is like that of a 2-yo and he is not capable of analysing anything much. This is why he is severely handicapped. But even so he has made great progress, for him, and his behaviour has improved hugely over the last 10 years. What I am trying to say is, if HE, with all his problems, can do that, then surely someone whose abilities are much better than his can do the same? That is, diagnosing a child as 'autistic' or 'Asperger's' or 'ADHD' or anything else does NOT preclude their being able to control and improve their behaviour. The real issue here is inclusion. It's fine for children with purely physical disabilities but dumping kids who need the protected environment of special schools into mainstream is good for nobody, as far as I can see. I wouldn't criticise any mainstream teacher for saying they can't be doing with kids whose needs are genuinely such that they don't fit in to mainstream classes. That would be like criticising a GP because they baulk at doing a heart transplant in the back of the surgery. Most teachers aren't trained for dealing with genuinely handicapped kids and why should they be? It's the fault of those councils which have decided to save some money. Special schools are wonderful places and I will defend them to the death; luckily where I live there is no need, as the council is so committed to them that they have just spent £6m on a new state-of-the-art one. Smug? You bet.

Anonymous said...

If it was as simple as "normal kids in mainstream, kids with needs in special school," then there wouldn't be a problem, would there?

But it isn't that simple.

There will always be children who can do well in mainstream schools if only their teachers accept that it is the school's responsibility to make adjustments for their needs.

These are children who do not have full-on disabilities, but do have conditions and syndromes and neuroses that make life genuinely difficult for them. They don't need excuses for their unacceptable behaviour - what they need is teachers who understand that a small but significant extra effort on their part makes the difference between failure and success.

The teaching profession has relied upon that extra effort since godknowswhen. No-one has ever made a secret of it.

If you aren't prepared to go the extra mile for those children who will respond to it, then you are not fit to be a teacher. It is part of the job, no-one ever denied it, hid it or dismissed it as unnecessary. In fact, it is more often than not described as one of the major incentivces of the job.

The rewards you get from knowing that you have made an instrumental difference to a particularly disadvantaged child's life by using your initiative and a little bit of extra effort are what, as far as I am concerned, makes the job worth doing. By doing this I am helping that child in a way that "the system" never could - not in a lifetime of New Initiatives.

If, as far as you are concerned, these rewards are a burden you would rather do without, then you are not good enough to be a teacher.

Cynical

Anonymous said...

It is pure nonsense to say that such conditions as Asperger Syndrome, ADHA, Dyspraxia, etc, didn't exist 'years ago'. Forty-odd years ago my father taught in a residential school for 'maladjusted teenage boys', as it was described in those days. He later became an Educational Psychologist, and was convinced that a large number of the boys he taught at that school had a variety of the conditions mentioned above...the only difference being that 40 years ago they were simply written off as 'maladjusted' instead of receiving a recognised diagnosis.
To Anon: my son is Autistic, not 'handicapped'. The greatest handicaps he faces are the kind of ignorant opinions found in this thread. By the way, do you describe wheelchair-users as 'crippled'?

Anonymous said...

"To Anon: my son is Autistic, not 'handicapped'. The greatest handicaps he faces are the kind of ignorant opinions found in this thread. By the way, do you describe wheelchair-users as 'crippled'? "

No, because I don't have a child who uses a wheelchair and therefore do not have the right to choose what terminology I use. I will not be described as ignorant by you or anyone else because my choice of terminology is different from yours. My son is autistic and learning-disabled and he very definitely is handicapped. But then I prefer to face reality than to comfort myself with fantasy. How dare you castigate me for taking a different path from you? If 16 years of working out how to deal with the situation is ignorance, then I shudder to think what that makes most other parents and indeed teachers and educational administrators. Once again - you do what you like. But do not criticise me for choosing to use different words from those you like. As far as I know being not quite as PC as I might be in the situation in which I find myself and my family is not yet a crime.

Anonymous said...

Look, now I've calmed down a bit: if a person who has a particular condition, or the people who love him most, can't choose what to call it, who has that right? I am fat. If calling myself 'cuddly' would mean i instantly lost 4st, I'd do it. My husband is bald. If calling him 'follically challenged' would give him a luxuriant head of hair, I expect he'd do it. If calling my son something else would magically improve his problems, we'd do it. But it won't. It happens that we find that using the term 'handicapped', or even (gasp) 'mentally handicapped', is a convenient and universally intelligible term which immediately makes people understand why he speaks and acts as he does. He looks quite normal and sometimes it is a shock to people when he makes odd noises or something like that. In actual fact even the term mentally handicapped is a euphemism; before it was coined terms like 'moron' were common. We choose not to use those. My son is not offended by being called handicapped, and we are not offended on his behalf. So where's the problem? It's the term we choose to use for our son. You choose something else. Fine. End of story.

pearl said...

My son was among the first tranche of Asperger children to be dx'd in the early 90s, aged 5. He stayed in mainstream with support and has just finished 6th form gaining 3 passes, 12 merits & 3 distinctions in his Btec. He has been offered an advanced apprenticeship in business admin at our city council and starts in August.

Having read Mr Chalk's comments, I am eternally grateful that teachers like him were few and far between. The outcome could have been very different otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Replying again to Anon: if you don't see why using the term 'mentally handicapped' is inappropriate in this day and age then we will have to agree to disagree.

I have lived with Autism for 18 years, through my son being suicidal, having a severe breakdown, regressing into his autism and periods of serious self-harm. But no, he isn't 'mentally handicapped'. Yes, he has areas of difficulty and at times he can struggle enormously, but I prefer to look at his many positive qualities and the contributions he is able to make. That is not 'comforting myself with fantasy', that is according him as much validity and dignity as any other person.

Helen said...

My older brother is severely autistic, he is 35 with a mental age of 5 and has no speech at all, he lives in a fantastic place with 24 hour care.
My mother still usees the term"mentally handicapped" and I hate it.
But she has her own problems so I do not think is willing or able to understand him better.
She will not accept he has autism but will call him mentally handicapped???

I have a 12 year old son with autism and dyspraxia who is on medication for anxiety which can get so severe he has self harmed so I have lived it my whole life (I am 32)

Anonymous said...

I give up. If you people who 'hate' the term 'mentally handicapped' can't explain what's so offensive (allegedly),to you personally, about it, then what's the point? Are you really saying that being 35 with a mental age of 5 and living in full-time care is an advantage? If it isn't an advantage, it must be a handicap. But your brother isn't handicapped? What is he then? Nobody is saying he is not a person or that he is not valuable, etc etc.It's purely a matter of semantics. And as for criticising your mother, you have some nerve, madam. She's the one on whom, presumably, most of the burden has fallen and she has a right to deal with it as she chooses. Suggesting that using the term mentally handicapped means that a mother does not understand or accept her child is extremely offensive to me. Siblings may feel hard-done-to but if you have a disabled son of your own, or whatever you choose to describe him as, then presumably you know that being a parent and being a sibling are two completely different things. I now feel I understand Mr Chalk a lot better, BTW. Just because something is said to be 'old-fashioned' or non-PC doesn't make it any less true.

Anonymous said...

All right, Helen, before you say it - I don't know your mother and I should not make assumptions about her, so I apologise for that. But I truly cannot see that failing to keep up with whatever is the currently fashionable terminology for any particular concept makes much of a difference to how one feels about that concept, and I actively repudiate the idea that using a term which some may see as old-fashioned implies anything about one's feelings. Again, I apologise for making assumptions. I know nothing about you, your mother or your family circumstances and was just angry that anyone might imply that *I* didn't understand or love *my* child because I choose to use a particular description of his difficulties.

Helen said...

Sorry I maybe should have explained a little more about my mother, as I really was only talking about her.
I do find it hard to explain about her because basically she could be classed as an alcoholic by some and has definate mental issues herself.
She really has not been the one to cope with my brother, I was regularly left alone with him from a very young age when we were children as she was afriad of him (He could get violent/aggressive at times)
I do understand that people find different words.terms more comfortable than others and I think maybe if it had not been her using the words mentally handicapped they would not affect me the same way. (Years of having "at least you are not mentally handicapped you should be gratefyul I had you after your brother" thrown at me I think.
But I honestly was not trying to upset anyone.

Ellie S said...

If school is about preparing children for life afterwards then the last thing they should be doing is pandering to all these complaints. And let's be honest most of them are just naughty kids.

No employer in their right mind would ever take on anyone who admits to these syndromes in an interview so parents need to get their child's behaviour to change.

It's no use expecting everyone else to put up with every type of behaviour- that's just unrealistic.

I'm not a teacher just the parent of a child who complains that every single lesson at school is destroyed by the kids who shout out all the time, run around the room and get all the teacher's attention.

Helen said...

Ellie S I think it is probably pretty obvious you are not a parent of a child who has to struggle through the most basic things on a daily basis.
As for being unrealistic, how unrealistic is it to just dismiss these children's difficulties?
Also if your own child's education is being affected then surely you should be in the school demanding to know why the teacher does not know how best to teach them all and stay on top of everything.
I am sorry to say employers DO infact employ people with "syndromes", ever heard of the Disability Discrimination Act?

Anonymous said...

I'm an ICT teacher in a secondary school. The head of my school often expels children with Asperger syndrome out of love and kindness because the school cannot cater for their needs and they are seriously unhappy attending. All this inclusion is a load of tosh and annoys everybody. Many parents of neurotypical children are relieved when they find out they no longer have to share lessons with some genius with no social skills aka a child with Asperger syndrome.

The parents of a child with Asperger syndrome are often devastated when they are expelled, but really it's the best for them. I would rather see children with Asperger syndrome spend their time at home in happiness studying what interests them, rather than struggle and suffer at school.

In my opinion there is little point in people with Asperger syndrome getting qualifications because they are virtually unemployable. I'm not bashing people with Asperger syndrome, but very few employers would ever want to take onboard such people. Most adults with Asperger syndrome end up in unskilled menial jobs despite having a high level of skills and qualifications. They are capable of much better careers, but employers rarely give them a chance to excel.

Helen said...

UNBELIEVABLE
So are all these people "unemployable"
Jane Austen, 1775-1817, English novelist, author of Pride and Prejudice
Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827, German/Viennese composer
Alexander Graham Bell, 1847-1922, Scottish/Canadian/American inventor of the telephone
Anton Bruckner, 1824-1896, Austrian composer
Henry Cavendish, 1731-1810, English/French scientist, discovered the composition of air and water
Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886, US poet
Thomas Edison, 1847-1931, US inventor
Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, German/American theoretical physicist
Henry Ford, 1863-1947, US industrialist
Oliver Heaviside, 1850-1925, English physicist
Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, US politician
Carl Jung, 1875-1961, Swiss psychoanalyst
Franz Kafka, 1883-1924, Czech writer
Wassily Kandinsky, 1866-1944, Russian/French painter
H P Lovecraft, 1890-1937, US writer
Gustav Mahler, 1860-1911, Czech/Austrian composer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791, Austrian composer
Isaac Newton, 1642-1727, English mathematician and physicist
Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher
Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, British logician
George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, Irish playwright, writer of Pygmalion, critic and Socialist
Richard Strauss, 1864-1949, German composer
Nikola Tesla, 1856-1943, Serbian/American scientist, engineer, inventor of electric motors
Henry Thoreau, 1817-1862, US writer
Alan Turing, 1912-1954, English mathematician, computer scientist and cryptographer
Mark Twain, 1835-1910, US humorist
Vincent Van Gogh, 1853-1890, Dutch painter
Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1889-1951, Viennese/English logician and philosopher
Historical people prominent in the late twentieth century (died after 1975)
Isaac Asimov, 1920-1992, Russian/US writer on science and of science fiction
Hans Asperger, 1906-1980, Austrian paediatric doctor after whom Asperger's Syndrom is named
John Denver, 1943-1997, US musician
Glenn Gould, 1932-1982, Canadian pianist
Jim Henson, 1936-1990, creator of the Muppets, US puppeteer, writer, producer, director, composer
Alfred Hitchcock, 1899-1980, English/American film director
Howard Hughes, 1905-1976, US billionaire
Andy Kaufman, 1949-1984, US comedian, subject of the film Man on the Moon
L S Lowry, 1887-1976, English painter of "matchstick men"
Charles Schulz, 1922-2000, US cartoonist and creator of Peanuts and Charlie Brown
Andy Warhol, 1928-1987, US artist
Contemporary famous people
Woody Allen, 1935-, US comedian, actor, writer, director, producer, jazz clarinettist
Bob Dylan, 1941-, US singer-songwriter
Joseph Erber (No Sites In English Found), 1985-, young English composer/musician who has Asperger's Syndrome and subject of a BBC TV documentary.
Bobby Fischer, 1943-, US chess champion
Bill Gates, 1955-, US global monopolist
Al Gore, 1948-, former US Vice President and presidential candidate
David Helfgott, 1947-, Australian pianist, subject of the film Shine
Garrison Keillor, 1942-, US writer, humorist and host of Prairie Home Companion
Kevin Mitnick, 1963-, US "hacker"
John Nash, 1928-, US mathematician (portrayed by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind)
Keith Olbermann, 1959-, US sportscaster
Michael Palin, 1943-, English comedian and presenter
Oliver Sacks, 1933-, UK/US neurologist, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
James Taylor, 1948-, US singer/songwrite

They ALL had Aspergers.

I would love to know how many times your LEA gets taken to SENDIST (Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal)

Anonymous said...

Ellie, you cannot blame the children or the parents of the children. Believe me, its a tough job for us parents, its not a job I would want to wish on anyone.

First as a mother you are presented with a child that does not resemble the "norm" after years of clearing up faeces they spread over the house, cleaning up the urine they pee in their toy boxes, alarm all the doors in the house, safe proof everything, you cannot sit down for one second and enjoy a quiet story with your child, in fact you cannot sit with your child for one second whilst he or she does anything or go out anywhere. Do you know what it feels like not to be able to sit and just drink a cup of tea? Oh how wonderful it would be to do the things that you all take for granted, like days out to the park, or trip to the cinema. you first seek help and are told your child is normal but naughty at the age of 3.

Then they start school, immediately something is picked up and you are reffered to god knows who for god knows what. They slap a lable on it, and you think, ahhh at last Im not going nuts, something IS wrong with my child. You hope thats the end of it, a little treatment and sent on you way to enjoy "normality" WRONG.

Abuse from peers, abuse from teachers, lack of services, to even contemplate getting your child in a special enviroment to suit EVERYONE, you are looking at a tribunal costing £1000's with places limited anyway and because of dear sweet "inclusion" our children are forced to be normalised and live in your world, a cruel harsh world that equals abuse, bullying from peers, abuse from ignorant selfish teachers, no one cares.

Before I had my girl, I worked full time and so did my husband, I owned my own house and life was good with 2 sons. Now? I cant work, hubby is part time, I live in a council house on a rough estate, no help from anyone and labled bad parent. Is that worth any amount of benifit? HELL NO.

walk a mile in someone elses shoes before any one of you dare to comment on what a tough life you have with your 2.4 children, cosey jobs with all the benefits and blissfully un-aware INGNORANCE.

My life is meetings, letter writing and appointments for speech and langage, Physio and OT, ed physc, consultant, not to mention supporting other parents in the same boat. We dont all do all this for an easy life.

so you all complain what a tough life it is for you all, because your child is disrupted, or teachers who constantly complain what a tough life they all have in poor conditions for poor pay, my heart bleeds for you all, you lot all have a choice, WE DONT. so back off and leave us alone, campaign constructively to the government who thinks inclusion works, its THEIR fault not ours.

Anonymous said...

"quote" The parents of a child with Asperger syndrome are often devastated when they are expelled, but really it's the best for them. I would rather see children with Asperger syndrome spend their time at home in happiness studying what interests them, rather than struggle and suffer at school".

You really are insane do you know that? Do you know where most of these kids end up?? EBD schools to be abused even further!!

Your attitude sucks it really does, call yourself a teacher and loving and kind? Might as well give them a lethal injection eh, being the burden to society you think they are!! Un-employable?? I reckon most of them would be fitter in the job your in than you are!!

Anonymous said...

I see the book is number one best seller?? More like amazon's bargain basement. its total hogwash like some of the opinions on here.

Anonymous said...

As a matter of fact I am quite knowledgeable about Asperger syndrome and have read Tony Attwood's book. I also work as a private tutor for children with Asperger syndrome and similar SEN, and am known to a local Asperger syndrome support group.

In over 90% of the cases, the children who are expelled become much happier and confident in themselves by staying at home. They were often suffering from undiagnosed depression whilst at school because of Asperger syndrome and the inability of the school to meet their needs. It is the parents who usually want their children to go to school, but not the children themselves. What is needed are more schools and education centres for children with Asperger syndrome, but they aren't going to materialise for the forseeable future.

I am fully aware that back in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s before Asperger syndrome was discovered, many children with the condition were sent to EBD boarding schools. Life there was often a complete misery and bullying and victimisation was rife. Often these schools did more harm than good, but thankfully most of them have closed down years ago.

It is the employers who are aresholes by refusing to employ people with Asperger syndrome. They often reject people at interviews because of niggling issues like lack of eye contact or appearing nervous. I am capaigning for the government to create more public sector jobs for people with Asperger syndrome who have skills and qualifications, because the private sector bosses won't shift their attitude. So far my campaigns have fallen on deaf ears.

British National Party member said...
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British National Party member said...
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British National Party member said...

I think this is a fascinating discussion on a lot of levels.

Most normal people i read, i cant really feel them. Its like they are all following the same paths like a computer program, just going through the motions. But all of you are bleeding emotions through the screen.

Practically, the ways forward from here that i can see involve splitting the discussion into two levels. On the one hand you might find it therapeutic to discuss - like plato does in his republic - what the ideal situation would be. I think that this is the most stimulating way of looking at things, especially considering that as the way our country works whatever small improvements to the current system you come up with will get shuffled from desk to desk before being binned.

The second way of looking at things is to argue about what you can do with the resources available - who should get priority and so on. But you will just tear yourselves up doing that without changing things, so id say stop talking along those lines.

i went out with a beautiful lass who was non verbal until she was 17, who played with her own poo as a kid. (i went out with her when she was 37, when she was giving speeches on vaccine damage) who was locked in an institution for her autism as a teenager and raped by one of the workers there - the father of her only child, who is not only autistic herself but has retts syndrome. Her first word was "STOP!". In terms of the 'victimhood olympics' she would win! She also spoke to other autistic people telepathically btw, but thats another thing.

She was mentally handicapped for this world. In another world she would have been 'top of the class', but not this one. Society is set up for the norm - highly sociable and malleable people. deviations from that suffer according to the extent of their difference. I am handicapped vis a vis real life, but not as much as a properly autistic person, not by a long shot. Such is life. But thats not to say we dont have fantastic qualities, unknowable to normal people. You parents out there may see beauty in your child, and want to shield him/her from the label of mentally handicapped, while others want him/her to be seen as mentally handicapped so he/she can be treated in a different manner.

I think my point is that you all care, its just the way you think you should spend your finite love and time that differs. Please dont beat each other up over that, because you all care, and that's a good start which most people won't ever take.

Those two deleted posts above were my posts BTW, i was just trying to get this post right you see.

Best,
G.

British National Party member said...

One question i would like to ask though as there is a lot of expertise in this comments section, is what resources/groups do you know of that have been set up for aspergic parents?

Anonymous said...

quote" I am fully aware that back in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s before Asperger syndrome was discovered, many children with the condition were sent to EBD boarding schools. Life there was often a complete misery and bullying and victimisation was rife. Often these schools did more harm than good, but thankfully most of them have closed down years ago.

It still happens, it certainly does in this borough, children with Aspergers going to EBD schools I kid you not.

There IS no where else for these children, most of them high functioning with above average IQ, MLD, SLD no good for them, all thats left is EBD or mainstream, that is the bare bones, the FACTS.

With these kids, their ability is their biggest disability.

Anonymous said...

Hi Helen -

Impressive list, but 'fools gold', I'm afraid... the list is of people who demonstrate AS traits, not people who have been diagnosed.
I think the danger with the kind of rubbish "Mr. Chalk" spouts lies in the half truths concealed within the speculation. It does no good to fight that kind of argument with even more speculation.
"Mr Chalk" identifies a small but none the less real minority. Denying the existence of that minority helps no one. All of the conditions mentioned (ADHD/AS/ASD/ODD etc) are REAL, which is exactly the reason why they WILL be exploited by an unscrupulous minority, and why people like Mr Chalk will use that minority to disenfranchise those with genuine needs. (well that and the publicity for his vanity published book!)

Anonymous said...

I can assure you that getting a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome is very difficult and expensive. It is almost impossible to accomplish on the NHS because they do not have the knowledgeable staff. Some children at my school have been trying to get an official diagnosis for as many as 5 years without success due to lack of facilities.

I have been informed that a certain university in England is setting up a large scale diagnostics centre for both children and adults.

David said...

I'm a teacher in an inner city comp. I've been teaching in the same school for 24 years now and have seen a steady decline in behaviour and a huge increase in all these disorders.

I do think that a small percentage are genuine mental conditions and those children should be educated in special schools by teachers who have chosen to go into SEN.

The argument that we should have to learn to deal with every type of student is simply not valid, any more than you would expect a GP to do back surgery, or a Special Needs teacher to teach'A' Level.

We applied for jobs as mainstream teachers and expect to teach a limited range of ability and a reaonable standard of behaviour in the classroom.

I'm not trying to set out to annoy parents by writing this, but I do think that it's important to let you know what many of us really think.(Because the Head certainly won't tell you the truth)

Anonymous said...

"I can assure you that getting a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome is very difficult and expensive. It is almost impossible to accomplish on the NHS because they do not have the knowledgeable staff. Some children at my school have been trying to get an official diagnosis for as many as 5 years without success due to lack of facilities"

----------------------------

Ah. Not sure how helpful that is to this debate, 'anonymous'.
What criteria has been applied to the diagnosis of these children in your school? A level of expertise surpassing that of the unreliable NHS services, or the opinions of the completely unqualified parents themselves?
The fact that these parents (or others) believe that their children have an ASD doesn't make them right. That's not to say it neccesarily makes them wrong, but it doesn't make them right!
I have huge fears about the validity of 'bought' diagnosis after being told by one parent of how the Harley Street Dr she paid made a dx within '2 minutes of walking in the room' on their first consultation. No Connors assessments, no programme of observation, just 'yes he has, here's a letter to say so, please pay my secretary on the way out'...
'Mr Chalk' is talking rubbish, and yes, autism/adhd etc are all very complex and difficult disorders to diagnose, and professionals can be fence sitting pains in the backside.
None of those things, though, detract from the fact that a small minority of 'claimed' diagnosis are flawed, and these will always undermine the very real problems of those genuinely disenfranchised when people like Mr C make their sweeping generalisations.

Helen said...

Parents do NOT diagnose their children themsellves and most eventually get the diagnosis via SPECIALISTS on the NHS which takes time and a set process.
Schools would recieve reports from these specialists (those teachers that are interested and commited enough to read them of course)

As for the teacher who feels he is being honest with parents in saying he basically only wants to teach easy children!
It is a shame you do not have more confidence in your abilities to teach a wide range of children because that is the REAL world I am afraid.
Infact to all the teachers who want an easy life only teaching children who find everything easy and do not want a challenge, prehaps in this day and age you may need to reconsider you career.

British National Party member said...

I have home schooling books next to me and a 6 month old child in the womb.

No way am i going to send my precious to school (unless he gets a scholarship to private or accepted into a damn good grammar), partky because of the notion that "special" (disruptive) kids are as deserving of the teachers time as the normal kids.

*they are not*. people are investing their emotions into this without using thier heads. *teachers only have limited amount of time* and every time you are forced to change kyle's emotional nappies your are 'abusing' the normal children in the class, if you will.

Ive patiently explained to you above that i have aspergers but not only that i had a relationship with a genuine, top spinning autistic girl and know what im talking about here, im talking to you *from the point of view of mentally handicapped people* but you are all ignoring that and having a liberal wank fest.

AAAAAHHH!

Mr Chalk your a dying breed. Long live Mr chalk! the (mostly anonymous) commentators above should hand their heads at the way they describe you - A teacher who holds up high standards for all, a teacher who doesn't bow down to buzz words. God bless you sir, this 'mentally handicapped' person salutes you, don't listen to the bleeding hearts or they'll have you dribbling down your chin before you can say "spastic"

Helen said...

BNP member.
As you have Aspergers I realise you cannot fuly understand how people here feel or why people are reacting as they are.
Just as all people without special needs are NOT the same, neither are all those WITH special needs.

Yes ALL children do have the right to an education, but it needs to be the right education for them and if today's teachers are not able to provide that then the school managers (heads, deputy heads, govenors etc) are not doing their job properly and are failing everybody (ALL children, teachers and parents)

I know there are people oit there (and unfortunately many on here) who would like a return to the old days of asylums and anyone remotely different from the norm being locked awway, but thank god that is no longer the case.

I would also add, as someone pointed out to me being the sibling of somone with special needs is very different from being a parent, so it is very different being the person with the special needs and being that person's parent where it is your uncontrolable inctinct to protect your child and their best interests.

Where are you Mr Chalk?, you have gone very quiet, hmm prehaps he is the one...enjoying this debate.

British National Party member said...

I support special needs schools for those that need them. I support kicking genuinely bad kids out. I support corporal punishment for those that are wilfully errant but are salvageable.

More than all that i support home schooling, that's the very best idea. It is true that if you teach your own kids you don't need corporal punishment like it used to be in school, but school is unnatural so you need measures like that to enforce discipline. You have to teach to a group, not to 30 individuals, or else it just becomes a question of which individual can monopolise the teachers attention most, while shy kids stay quiet and those who have manners are effectively punished by being excluded from having attention and either switch off or become bad to fit in.

I do accept - of course! - that genuine neurological differences exist and special schools should support those kids in manners which are best suited to them, just as im saying that normal schools should support normal kids in the way best suited to them.

Canopus said...

I am getting fed up with all the vitriol being spouted here. I am a 30 year old with (undiagnosed) Asperger syndrome who was given one hell of a difficult time at school because teachers didn't understand the condition back in the 80s. At my secondary school there was even a teacher like in 12:14 who told my parents at a meeting that it is pointless for me to bother taking GCSE exams, despite my intellect, because no employer would ever want to go near me with my attitude. He also refused to take my parents seriously when they stated that I wanted to work with computers.

I ended up being wrongly diagnosed with EBD and sent to an unsuitable boarding school over 200 miles away. The school was a throughly obnoxious place filled with nasty (but neurotypical) yobs and thugs. Bullying and victimisation by the staff and other students was rife. The headmaster did nothing about it and held a 'fight your own battles' attitude.

To make matters worse, the headmaster was also a man incapable of effectively dealing with people with Asperger syndrome because he never explained things in plain clear English, but used all sorts of cryptic similies, metaphors, and figures of speech. When students had problems he challenged them rather than helped them. He also denied that dyslexia existed and blamed it on poor standards and negligence. It wouldn't surprise me if he would deny that Asperger syndrome or ADHD are for real, and instead consider them as excuses by parents who don't bring their children up properly.

14:01, 15:34, 09:35 are spot on. It is very difficult to get an official diagnosis, and nowhere wants to deal with a 30 year old. There are also virtually no schools for people with Asperger syndrome. My ability was my biggest disability because there were no SEN services back in the 80s for children with higher than average intelligence, and it was assumed that children with higher than average intelligence could not have SEN. Sadly, the situation hasn't moved on much in 20 years when it comes to providing services.

British National Party member said...

Something else id like to say is that my autistic ex went to special school (she was locked up after this on the advice of an old fashioned doctor, after a number of years her family literally broke her out, like raided the place and took her out - this was in america). She liked the special school! her best friend was a down syndrome girl, and she thought that she was special - in a good way. She was sad when she told me this, because in the end that 'illusion' was shattered (by normal people) when they told her it wasn't that kind of special.

Well, wasn't that awful? why cant these schools be for special kids, in a good way like she thought it was?

I think shirley williams, in being the prime advocate of lumping everyone together and letting them 'get on with it' (lord of the flies, anyone?), has a lot of pain to answer for.

British National Party member said...

Sorry sorry me again, but i just thought of something from my past that i could offer as advice when it comes to spotting aspergic people.

don't give us written tests to 'fish' for us! We are excellent at written tests. Give us face to face, verbal tests.

My Primary headteacher called my parents in and said something like "his comprehension is awful" and my parents were aghast (they knew how much i read, school books were boring, i read watership down when i was around 8)

So they agreed for me to do a test - but the test was written, and i passed with flying colours. Thing is my headteacher was right, but it was my real time, audio visual abilities with others that was letting me down.

Hope that helps an aspergic kid sometime!

Anonymous said...

Helen (11.08) -

I really can't believe you said that! BNP member, as a person with Aspergers commenting ON Aspergers has no right to an opinion because his Aspergers means he cannot understand fully the nature of what is being discussed???
You and Mr Chalk would get on well together - both masters 9excuse the pun!) of the sweeping generalisation!
:0

Helen said...

Anon you clearly misunderstood what I was saying, I would NEVER be like that becasuse I have a son with Aspergers so I DO understnd it a damn sight better than Mr Chalk!!!

Anonymous said...

It is frightening to think that what is supposed to be a profession contains such ignorant people. My son has Aspergers, Adhd and Dyspraxia. They are very real conditions. He is very intelligent and I dare say has an Iq higher than most of those who post such ignorant comments. He is a caring boy who sees past others disabilities. He works hard every day to overcome his difficulties which I find humbling as apart from the social side of school I sailed through. We had to fight hard to get him placed in an appropriate school where thankfully the teachers understand and appreciate his quirky intelligence. My daughter is also Aspergers. She is a beautiful kind intelligent child. I hate the thought that some of her teachers might view her as some have suggested. I am also Aspergers and I'm a professional in the city. Unemployable think not. My husband is also probably Aspergers and also a professional. The conditions are in reality underdiagnosed. In our area it can take three years on a waiting list for a child to be seen.

Anonymous said...

helen (16.25)

This is what you said:

"Helen said...
BNP member.
As you have Aspergers I realise you cannot fuly understand how people here feel or why people are reacting as they are."

I'll accept that you didn't mean it how it sounded, but that's not MY misunderstanding, and as it stands it IS a sweeping generalisation (and hugely negative one) about people on the autistic spectrum.

LIZCmumto3 said...

Hi well firstly you need a dictionary as it is spelt Asperger syndrome! as a parent to a child with the condition aswell as ADHD I think I have the knowledge to know it is real, how dare you sit there and say it isn't true! I have always known he was 'different' ever since I was pregnanct with him. I had to fight to get a diagnosis, it isn't something that is made half heartedly, he was assessed in many situations including school, home and at the centre where he was diagnosed. And I want to point out it isn't just behaviour that is all about this condition there are some nice things about it too. he is very clever and can work out the computer and alsorts of tehnology before I could and he is only about to turn 7 and he can't even read or write! He loves museums and history too. he hates the school he is in as he can't cope with crowds, smells and lighting (they can hurt them physically) he is now in a room on his own with not much interaction with other kids, thank fully he is going to a special needs school soon. We/he have gone through hell! and he doesn't have fizzy drinks all day long either!!!! oh and yes Autism (aspergers is a form of autism) has been around forever. My grandad was an aspie and he was born in 1921!! he was a brilliant musician. and please don't use the word normal etc my child is not abnormal but probably more intelligent than you!!! and it is people like you that make the condition a disability. also did you know how much A.S can affect the whole family/siblings!!!

anyway I suppose I am only hitting my head against a brick wall as there will always be ignorant people like you in this world!

Helen said...

Anon It is a fact that part of AS is difficulty in having empathy or understnding of people's feelings and behaviour.
Believe me I spend so long every single day trying to help my aspie son to understand such things.
I was trying to let BNP know I do have some understanding.

Babyboots said...

Hello all you fellow aspergics! I'm the six month pregnant partner of British National Party Member! And, wait for it...I'm also discalculiar, peculiar ever so slightly aspergic, from a long generation of ASD and aspergics family!

Being a female aspergic, when I was at school I was completely the opposite of disruptive. I was the silent loner who sat at the back completely by so-called teachers forgotten and ignored! The only ones noticing, of course, the disruptive ones that made my school life a misery.

Most 'normal' peoples knowledge of aspergics is that they cannot understand peoples body language or social situations, meaning poor aspergics can't possibly understand!

My own personal experience, which has been identical to my partners, is that we both have high IQ's, can only TOO well understand other peoples view points and know TOO much about most things! And that can be a disability in itself, making us highly sensitive to everybody and thing that is going on around us.

I most certainly WILL NOT be sending our little treasure to school, that would be child-abuse! He will be home-schooled and just incase you think I'm living in cloud cuckoo land, looking through rose-tinted spectacles. I also have an eighteen year old son and I feel terribly guilty of putting him through the child-abusing system of school!!!

Helen said...

I did home educate my aspie son for a time as we were in the fight for a statement after he had an awful time at primary school with teachers with absolutely no understanding (or willingness to understand in many cases) anything about autism.

He was also the one who sat quiet, never complaining (in school anyway) and because of this the teachers were constantly telling us there was nothing wrong, but they never saw his meltdowns as he left the playground everyday.

When we did get him statemented last year he was then offered a place at an excellent mainstream secondary school with a great rep fpr their special needs provision. (The head of the SEN department has a son who sees the same specialist my son does which was also reassuring)

My son is much happier and is actually enjoying school now, but I would definately have continued home educating if this school had not been as good as it is and am ready to remove him and teach him myself again if that is needed again someday.

His intelligence has often worked against him when trying to make teachers understand his difficulties, he also often feels he understands something when infact he has got it a bit wrong (Maybe different as he is still a child of 12 and not an adult aspie.)

fedup said...

Simple test:

Stick a class full of kids with listed disorders in with a well-respected disciplinarian teacher who has the authority to make their life hell if they step out of line (if you can find one. So we're talking a strong, experienced head.

If the kid exhibits their stated disorder, it is genuine. Fair play - there are loads of kids with genuine disorders. If they miraculously work perfectly to avoid the sanctions and/or a bollocking from someone who can cause them grief, you know things are being overstated a tad.

Helen said...

lflmloHmm would be torture for the children who do have the conditions though, as school can be when you have a clueless dinosaur teaching a class as seems the case too often.

Also another aspect of conditions such as Aspergers is trhey do not show their frustration/distress where they do not feel able to and often only release it at home with meltdowns.
So just because a child might appear ok in school does not mean that is what is really going on inside them.

Another important point is that NOT ALL children with these conditions are disruptive, many are the exact opposite as my son is.

Helen said...

Lol sorry not sure what happenend at start of that post

British National Party member said...

Lol, your forgiven.

Babyboots said...

Hello Helen,

That's exactly what I did at home!

I would on quite a few occasions go into melt-down! and in my teenage years once demolished my whole bedroom! Outside pressure is enormous for an Aspie.

I'm glad you have found your son a good school. The only reasonable, ok schools that I would consider are private, grammar and just holding on by their fingertips are the religious Catholic and C of E.

Normal state schools are purely for social engineering for the liberal elite! Which in a weired way, over many years, has made this country (especially that silly little man who signed the EU Treaty, signing Briton away to Brussels) a communist state. In years to come Europe will be the new super-state like Russia, many years ago.

All this equality rubbish is precisely why no-one has control over the kids anymore!

If I was facing an operation in hospital! NO WAY, would I want to be equal to my surgeon! I would expect him to be miles more clever and more sophisticated if he or she's going to take my life into their hands!!!

Since the late fifties and sixties this country has deteriorated in more ways than one! And we and the kids in it!!!

Susan Ariew said...

Brain research shows that passive learning does not stick. The other thing is that the whold sit-quietly-shut-up mentality favors girls over boys. Boys need to move more and are naturally more kinetic than girls. Their rambunctousness has been pathologized to such an extent that too many normally active boys are on medications to calm them down. It does make the case for gender based education. Schools are dominated by a feminine culture which is less active and more passive...not good places for boys really.

British National Party member said...

Susan, I find myself agreeing with your concise post, except i differ when it comes to "shut-up-and-sit-down" - if applied rigorously i should imagine its a fairly positive gender neutral policy? After all, girls are programmed to talk about things just as boys are to jump around, both of which can easily distract from learning a specified subject.

texas physics teacher said...

I think many of you would like to teach in what you might consider a "perfect" environment... good, smart, well-behaved students who sit in your neat little rows for an hour or two listening to you drone on about your subject.

The reality of teaching is that each student is a person who has his and her own quirks and may have learning disabilities or some other label that has been given to them by a specialist in that field. We don't like people to tell us how to teach, because that is our specialty. What gives us the audacity to question another specialist's diagnosis in a student? Do I know more about ADHD than the psychiatrist who diagnosed it? Do I know more about dysgraphia than the specialist who diagnosed it? Of course not! Yet teachers all over the world try to practice medicine and psychology every day by stating that "little Johnny" doesn't have anything wrong with him that a spanking wouldn't cure.

I think it is extremely arrogant to sipmly state that a doctor's diagnosis is wrong. True, some children misbehave because their parents haven't taught them to behave. Students with diagnosed disabilities, however, are different. Because of their disability, sitting still or learning to read or learning their multiplication facts becomes an extremely difficult task. Learning is hard for these students and they often must work much harder than "normal" students to achieve the same results. With a caring teacher who has learned the most effective teaching methods, however, these students can learn as well, and sometimes better, than students considered "normal".

If you have a large number of students in any class who are misbehaving, you should look at how you are teaching and what assignments you give. Are your lessons interesting? Do they involve the student? Do they allow students to think creatively and critically? Are your expectations too low? Are they too high? Do you have a dull monotone voice that puts people to sleep?

Just because you are an experienced teacher doesn't mean your teaching can't improve. All of us should strive to improve our teaching every day. Teaching methods that work for learning disabled students and students with ADHD improve the learning of ALL students.

The biggest problem is that too many educators are far too arrogant and inflexible to even consider changing something about their teaching. I challenge each of you to learn more about at least one disability. Research it thoroughly and use that knowledge to help you become a better teacher.

Helen said...

Texas, I have to thank you for you brilliant and honest attitude.
I would have loved my son to have been taught by someone as compassionate and clearly devoted as you.

Paul said...

Texas, you're a prick. Children sitting in neat little rows listening to me is exactly what I'd expect. I am a teacher not a social worker. I have little interest in any of these modern excuses for poor behaviour.

I was employed to teach maths and that is what I do. Anyone who can't sit quietly and listen can go and stand outside as far as I'm concerned. This may not sound very 'modern' or PC but it is reality. I won't compromise 25 good kids for the sake of three bad ones.

Helen said...

Paul I think you could do with standing outside yourself and having a good think because you have NO idea what "reality" is.

As for calling someone like Texas "a prick" for goodness sake????

I think so called teachers with your insane attitude are saying more about your own inadequacies and lack of faith in your own abilities than anything else.

If you are fit to be teaching children then you should be fit to teach all children, if you are not able to teach in the real world then quit!

Anieg said...

Just been reading through the comments on this post and can't help noticing the general difference between what the teachers and non teachers think.

Teachers are human and have different strengths and interests. As a French and German teacher I am perfectly able to teah these subjects to 'A' Level. I am also able to teach Spanish to GCSE Level, but would not be able to teach it to 'A' Level. (Nor am I interested in improving my grasp of the language sufficiently to enable me to do so.)

My main interest is in German and I try to manipulate my timetable to maximise my time teaching the top sets. Other teachers try to get a timetable which centres around their own preferences.

I don't have any interest in teaching Special Needs, nor do I feel that I should do, any more than a Special Needs Teacher might feel guilty that they cannot teach 'A' Level German.

So basically I don't want to teach every type of child thankyou very much and I don't think many teachers do.

Helen said...

Then I am afriad you are in the WRONG job or at the very least are teaching in the wrong centuary!

Anonymous said...

"cramerj said...
The interesting point was where was this behaviour (and all these ailments) in the 1950s We sat still and quiet. "

Actually these ailments did exist, in smaller numbers possibly... BUT they definitely were there.
As a boy in the 1940s-1950's my uncle would not sit still at a desk even if he wanted to. He would often jump out of windows, cause trouble at school etc.
No amount of corporal punishments or threats/encouragement helped and he left school at 15. He went into manual/physical type jobs to suit his inablitly to sit and concentrate. Even as an adult he ran about and had such an inability to sit still, that eventually his heart gave out during a health problem where he was supposed to rest. He had exact classic severe case of ADHD and Hyperactivity but this was before ADHD existed as a diagnosis (early 70s). So yes these people/conditions DID exist in those days. Corperal punishment won't make it go away. Please think about this.

Anonymous said...

While I think you're right on one hand - I think sugary/additive filled drinks, lack of exercise, lack of discipline and manners taught at home and sitting in front of computer/TV screens lead to unruly behaviour in the classroom, at the same time those disorders that you dismissed as excuses DO exist. That said, they can be USED as excuses and eating healthy food, doing exercise etc can alliviate the symptoms in real sufferers.

Anonymous said...

As a parent of a child newly diagnosed with Aspergers (after countless wrong diagnoses for the past 8 years) I am suddenly enlightened by reading these posts about why he is having difficulties in school. He has always been different and he has always been a genius. His IQ at 4 was genius level. So, does that mean, teachers on this blog who only want normalcy in the classroom --whatever that means, that you can't teach my child? He is polite. He never causes disruption in class because he holds it in for his daily 4 hour meltdowns at home after school. But his teacher says that blanket punishments are fine because all kids need to understand that their actions affect the others around them. Therefore, because he has children who are not diagnosed with anything, but are just naughty, causing problems in the classroom and my child, who has done his best to control himself, gets their punishment because of the cooperative nature of the classroom. I understand it is much easier to say that everyone needs to do the punishment than to single out the one or two kids who are causing the disturbances and just punish them.

But teachers, please consider what impact you have on my child, and others like him. Where he might be able to share with the world one day a scientific finding, or something else of great significance, you might be the person that changes everything for him. Be responsible. Think back to why you wanted to be a teacher. Did you have a teacher that you looked up to? I did. I had many that gave everything to reach even the unreachable kids. And we, the "normal" learned from their example to be accepting and to reach out and to help in our lives. They never dismissed kids to "special schools" but worked hard to mainstream them. Did you have a teacher that was horrible? I did. I can even remember what they wore and imitate how they talked. And my friends from 25 years ago will still say those teachers names with a snarl. Do you want to be remembered like that? Or are those breeds of teachers so oblivious and selfish that they don't care if they were a negative influence in a child's life?

I refuse to place him in an environment where he cannot learn with his regular peers. Part of Aspergers training is to learn social skills. How can he accomplish that in a special school in which none of his peers exhibits normal social skills? And he's highly intelligent. He looks normal. He is just frustrated by the system of the school where it is alright to punish everyone for the fault of a few. Frankly, I am as well. I think schools are becoming lazier and lazier and maybe the teachers need to drink some of those energy drinks and remember that they are with the kids during the majority of their days and thus have a very strong impact on them, whether they care or not. Don't complain about the "new generation" being lazy. You're the teacher. The kids are with you all day long. From where did they learn their habits?

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David said...

Dear Frank.

So glad I found your blog. It is reassuring to find proof that there are still some bigoted, ingnorant krinoids still out there.

My son has autism. I need to protect him from anachronistic bullies like you. To do that I need proof that you "teachers" still have a toehold in some classrooms.

So thank you for that. And don't worry, us parents will root all of you out...