Many incredible educators on TpT work with autistic children every day. And each teacher has a unique story to share. Take a look at these inspirational words from TpT’ers about the special lessons they’ve learned from a student or loved one with autism.

Autism Awareness (Image from Jana Smith on Facebook: “Here are my autism awareness jams in honor of my oldest son.”)

We asked TpT’ers, “In what ways has a student or loved one with autism taught you something special about yourself?”


“Yes you can, Mrs. London! You can do it! I know you can do it!”

Rainbow City Learning recounts, “While I was in the middle of a reading mini lesson last year, one of our sweet autistic students returned to our room and asked me to unlock the computer cart. He wanted me to give him a computer to use during his time in his own reading class. I answered that I couldn’t get the computer just then, but would in a few minutes when the lesson was over. Being very literal in his communication, my sweet little student said, ‘Yes you can, Mrs. London! You can do it! I know you can do it!’ He was so encouraging and cheerful about the whole thing, thinking that I was doubting my ability to get the computer rather than my use of time! After that experience, I was always sure to say exactly what I meant! I miss him every day and still keep in touch with his family.”

 

“No one realized when I was young that my sister’s disability was autism.”

“For me it was my sister….and all the many children I have met since then,” explains Autism Classroom News- Christine Reeve. No one realized when I was young that my sister’s disability was autism — and in fact, it wouldn’t have fit the earlier criteria. So to us, it was just the way Cathy was. For years we described her with many different labels but they always seemed inadequate to explain her strengths and her challenges. She had a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, but her gross motor skills were fine. She had difficulty with fluency in speaking, but when reading her voice was perfectly smooth.

In the last 15 years, it’s become clear that her behaviors fall on the spectrum of autism. What’s interesting is how, without even realizing it, Cathy inspired two generations of educators for children with special needs. My aunt was a special needs preschool teacher and always said Cathy was part of the inspiration for that. My other sister is a teacher, now of children with autism (and is also Teacher-Author Superteach56), inspired by Cathy. And without even realizing a connection as a child, all I wanted to do was work with kids with special needs. Since that time, Cathy has inspired me to help educators help students who are just like Cathy was when no one understood her.”

 

autism_awareness_post“This was my first real interaction with someone on the autism spectrum.”

From The ESL Nexus: “Some years ago when I had 6th or 7th grade lunch/recess duty, I was told to keep an eye on one girl because she had Asperger’s Syndrome and was prone to meltdowns. One day when she was out on the playground for the 15 minutes of recess, she was doing something that wasn’t allowed so I went over to talk to her about it. This was my first real interaction with someone on the autism spectrum. As a result of that first encounter, I made a point of talking with her whenever she was receptive. I also sought out one of the Special Ed. teachers who worked with autistic students to learn more about autism, and I read resources about working with kids on the spectrum. I think I became a better and more tolerant teacher because of this student. Although lunch/recess duty was definitely my least favorite part of the day, there was a clear benefit to it after all!”

 

 “Boy, was I wrong!”

Autism Classroom says, “I already had an interest in working with children on the autism spectrum, my first class during my first year of teaching was the catalyst for me and helped seal the deal. I was all ready, with the paragraph or so in the textbooks from college, to encounter students who might not be interested in what I said or did… boy was I wrong!! Once I began talking about the things they liked and mentioning the characters in the TV shows they watched, I couldn’t get them to stop following me. I loved when they would walk up to me, looking in my face and then when I’d look at them, they’d look away with fleeting eyes. It was even better if I caught a little smile. Those are the memories I treasure.

That class let me know that this is what I will be doing for the rest of my life. I wanted each adult in the school building to have respect for the students’ differences and knowledge about how to keep the students moving forward and making progress. Each day, this is my hope.”

 

“For me, it wasn’t one child, but a neat dozen.”

Autism Educators says, “When I picked up my phone early one morning and answered a call to substitute for a Special Ed. teacher, my life was suddenly changed. I didn’t really know what to expect. This one-day job turned into something much bigger. I found that I loved teaching this ‘neat dozen’ (yes, there were actually 12 kids!), and when the assigned teacher decided not to come back, I asked my principal if I could apply for the job. Here I am today, 15 years later, in the same school. While many things have changed, one thing has not: I love my kids and will do anything to help them be happy and successful.”

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Here are just a few incredible TpT’ers with experience in Special Education or inclusive classrooms:

Explore some special bundles that are helping to raise funds for autism:

And take a look at some of Team TpT in blue:

Team TpT in Blue

 

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