Educate Peers About Kids With Special Needs
Submitted by Piwamoto
My son was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome when he was 5. From that moment on, my husband and I wondered when we should tell him. Should we try to tell him that his brain works a little differently than others' or should we just let him be? We chose to wait until the time to tell him seemed to present itself.
That time came last year, in third grade, when my son began experiencing serious behavioral problems in school. He'd always had some difficulty with social interaction, but it got much worse, and he finally said that every kid in his class thought he was weird and no one liked him. So we explained to him, as best we could, that he had Asperger's. He was comforted, it seemed, to know that it wasn't his "fault" that he acted so differently than other kids did.
Fourth grade began with a resurgence of behavioral difficulties. His therapist showed him a book called To Be Me: Understanding What It's Like to Have Asperger's Syndrome
by Rebecca Etlinger. It's about a fourth-grade boy with Asperger's who is obsessed with race cars and who feels sad because no one wants to be his partner in class. In very simple terms, this book really gives some insight into what a child with Asperger's goes through when trying to relate to other people. My son loved it. We bought our own copy, and he took it to school. His teacher read it to the class and the students were very receptive to the concept of kids with special needs. One boy raised his hand afterward and said to our son, "If I ever teased you, I'm really sorry."
Now every time a kid is mean to my son, he always says, "S/he needs to read the book." He's found a guide to explain himself and he wants to share it with the world. Instead of being ashamed of what and how he is, he can say, "Hey, please understand me."
Learn more about Asperger's syndrome.