Yesterday Corbin and I visited Brian’s regular education classroom to teach his “typical” peers about autism, more about Brian himself, and how they can be a good friend to someone with autism.
Though I often refer to this as “The Autism Presentation”, it really is a “Be a Kind Person Presentation”. I’ve always felt that most hatred comes from ignorance and by teaching children about differences while they are young, we can nip that behavior in the bud.
The third graders were so excited to see us come in. Most of them have seen my presentation in prior years but they don’t seem to tire of it. They all have so many excellent questions and stories to share about Brian.
In short Corbin and I remind them that just because Brian has a hard time making friends and doesn’t approach them, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want friends. We teach them to be patient and to be understanding. A huge part of the presentation is called “Walking in Brian’s shoes” where we experiment with sensory overload and imagine what it would be like to not be able to say what we want or need.
And I’m always blown away by their innate kindness. This is our next generation and I have a lot of faith in them. I always walk away from these presentations with an overwhelming feeling of hope.