Daily Archives: June 14, 2007

…because people only have one “condition” at once. Or something.

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An online friend (who I’ve also met offline) wrote this: How to Teach

I am finding it really ironic that because she was autistic, people assumed they couldn’t teach her anything useful, but when she was completely unable to move due to Guillan-Barre syndrome, suddenly they saw her unresponsiveness as part of that and taught her the same as they would a non-autistic student with Guillan-Barre. I don’t think I would have learned all that well from this teaching method regardless, but I agree from experience that it’s important not to assume that a lack of typical response means a lack of comprehension, and that at least being exposed to various material means being able to sort it out later even if it’s not comprehended right that instant.

Some of this also mirrors my experience walking vs. using a wheelchair. When I walk, people frequently view me as uncomprehending. It happens in the chair, too, but quite often people will assume I have a purely physical disability in the wheelchair, and treat me as more of a person. I actually pass better in the chair, because the chair “explains” all my weirdness. Without a chair or other noticeable equipment, I’m just weird and quite possibly “not there” or “not all there”. So my social experience using a wheelchair is reverse of most people’s, just as Crabtail’s social experience of Guillan-Barre was undoubtedly the reverse of many non-autistic people who get it.