Later today I will be driving to the Kansas City area to give a presentation to teachers and parents of the Park Hill School District. This got me to thinking about a random article I wrote in late 2007 where, at the time, I said teachers were the first line of defense. Now I believe parents are, but only just. Teachers still play a potentially vital role as the second line of defense.
If a child is comfortable at home, and maybe even home itself is "Kansas", the parents may have a hard time seeing Asperger's. I'm sure my parents had a hard time judging my social skills because I had no shortage of words when in a conversation with them. That being so, how could they have seen that I lacked the ability to socialize with my peer group?
My social circle in school was either giving an answer to the teacher when called on, helping another student out by giving them the answer, or talking to the teacher at recess. I know the teachers I had commented to my parents regarding this lack of sociability in parent teacher conferences, but at the time Asperger's wasn't widely known and wasn't in the DSM.
Let's flash forward to today. Asperger's and the autism spectrum are more widely known. The numbers of those affected are now 1 in 100. 1 in 100! I believe I sort of fell through the cracks when I was younger, but today there should be no reason for it. How can this be achieved? It's simple, educating the teachers.
Teachers may see children more than their parents during the school year. Teachers will see children play and behave around other children much more than parents will, so shouldn't teachers be equipped to know what the warning signs are?
Of course teacher should be equipped, but there's so much disinformation out there that getting them the right information is key. The signs, like myself, were very subtle, but with the right information the ball could have started rolling to get me some sort of social therapy.
With my presentation today I open up another branch of society that I have touched. I may have fallen through the cracks in way, but I can't blame my teachers because the information wasn't there. Today is another story. All the information is out there and I hope to help fortify this second line of defense today.