I started High School with several big challenges. The challenges are why I am easily the most different kid you have in your classes. I have a serious neurological difference. Recently a neuroscientist I know told me that it is theorized that autistic people have a surplus of neurons. Our brains don’t prune properly. The result is a communication interference between thought and action. This is why I don’t speak with my mouth or why my writing is messy. It is also why I am impulsive or emotional with poor brakes. It is awful for me to sometimes be the follower of my actions. I am struggling daily to master them.
The second challenge is attacks of anxiety. In autism we often are anxious, nervous, and worried. That’s when things are good. In real stress we sometimes are overwhelmed. Starting High School was really overwhelming and I lost my self-control. I am trying so hard to do well and I hope you see I am improving. I regret any disruption I caused and I will try to be a more relaxed student in the future.
One additional stress was that I was not with the right aide at the start of the school year. I think I need to work on finding good matches who help me stay calm. I have this now with Cathy. I did not have that before so I became stressed and even frightened.
I want you all to know that my education is a thing I value very much. It is challenging to be the only autistic kid like me in school. I know other students have autism but they are verbal or with less severe symptoms. Now I struggle to show that people like me can be educated too. I think the vast majority of people with my degree of autism have only a simple and very basic education of alphabet, arithmetic, and not much more. It was my good fortune that I was able to learn to communicate on letter board or computer with my one finger. Thanks to that, my education is possible. It liberated me from total isolation.
I know you are all busy and I appreciate you welcoming me to your classes. I realize you may get worried about whether I do my own work. I do all the thinking work but I don’t do the hand-writing. I invite you to watch me on my letter board and see for yourself how it is done. I have had several teachers do this. It is helpful to see I work on my own assignments, moving my own arm, and not being manipulated. I would be happy to show you any time you wish to observe.
That is such a clear, communicative, helpful letter. I am going to use some of it for my son and his teachers. School is such a challenging environment. Thank you for sharing your ideas and experiences — your blog is reassuring and inspirational to me.