Afterword

“What am I going to be if my autism can’t be cured?”  As a small child, Naoki was very afraid that, because of his autism, he would never be able to live properly and do many of the things that other people do.  He felt the need to apologize for his actions day in and day out.  His goal for writing this book was to help people understand the obstacles that people with autism face, and that they are not the result of selfishness and ego.  Through sharing with the world his thoughts on what it’s like to live with autism, he wants to give hope to other people with autism, making it easier for them to “stick at it”.  Maybe then, he says, the future of people with autism will be connected with that of everyone else.  By this I think he means that people with autism have the same goal of achieving happiness, just like everyone else.   
 
I was surprised when Naoki said that the things people with autism do are not because of selfishness and ego, as I’ve never thought this about my students with autism.  Also, I thought how sad it is for a little kid who feels like he has to apologize for himself day in and day out!   I wonder how many of my students feel the same way.  Overall I enjoyed reading about his insights on living as a person with autism.   Even though each person with autism is unique (which can be said about humans as a whole), Naoki’s specific experiences with autism have helped me to understand my students a little more.  
–Allison Dobbs, SLP at Moore Traditional
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2 thoughts on “Afterword

  1. Lindsay Manis says:

    This made me hope that my students with autism do not feel this way. I never have felt that my kiddos are not deserving of happiness and the same things that “typical kids” have the opportunity to do. It saddens me in a way that he felt like he has to constantly apologize for himself, which is not the stress a young child needs to endure.

  2. Carrie Kaelin says:

    Great summary! Thanks, Allison!
    I have a couple of students on my caseload with high-level autism. They do exhibit egocentrism, which is a large part of why they have difficulty making friends and participating in group work, among other things. As an example, one student had a melt-down in science class because he didn’t get all the answers right. The next day, he got all of the answers correct…. he came into Lunch Bunch and announced, with a smile on his face, that he had gotten all the answers right. He then turned to a peer and said, “Don’t you like science class?” She responded that actually she does like science class. He replied, “Then why do you always get the answers wrong?” He didn’t understand that this was hurtful to her. Of course he is not trying to be this way, it is just a hallmark of autism…. the difficulty with theory-of-mind / ability to take the perspective of others.
    Thanks,
    Carrie Kaelin, SLP at Brown School

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