For reluctant writers, introduce novel or unexpected materials and supports. Try old typewriters, novelty or colored pencils, voice-activated software or story starters.

This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.

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Day 12: A Real Person: Life on the Outside

Posted on April 12, 2014 in Autism

A Real Person coverBecause A Real Person by Gunilla Gerland was not published in the US, it is not well known by many readers of this genre. In my opinion, however, it should not be missed. Gerland has a real knack for storytelling and I have shared many of her anecdotes with teachers over the years. Readers of this book with learn a lot about teaching, learning, communication, and connection.

Here is a story I share often when teachers report that their students are disrespectful (e.g. won’t follow directions):

My attitude to questions was quite concrete. “Can you…?” I answered with a “Yes” which meant, “Yes, I can…” But that it should also mean “I will” or “I shall…” was a totally alien concept to me. If I said “I can”, then I meant just that and nothing else. So the effect of my “Yes” to the question “Can you tidy your room?” was not the required one. I didn’t at all understand why they were so cross at me. (p. 85)

** Idea for using this book: Share this book with your favorite teacher, therapist, or caregiver. Gerland spends a lot of time sharing stories about being misunderstood by those around her. Therefore, it will serve as a useful resource for those in a position of providing support. It can be used as a tool to assess attitudes, assumptions, and practices.

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