Friday, April 22, 2011

Typical Kids, All Is Forgiven

As a special needs parent who does not have any NT kids, I tend to be a little too in awe of the skills of typical children.  I tend to idealize them and assume that Audrey lags hopelessly behind and sticks out like a sore thumb in the shadow of their fabulousness.

And then I went to observe some general education classrooms.

Holy crap are those kids the loopiest bunch of ninnies I have ever seen.  And I mean that in the nicest way possible, because I was totally in love with each and every one of them.  

Most of the children were about as unfocused as Audrey would be.  When they were supposed to be pulling out a worksheet and completing it independently, a majority of them were staring off into space, shifting around in their seats, picking their noses (literally, as if I have to clarify), or all of the above.

One kid seemed to be falling ill.  He kept vampire-coughing into his arm and then looking up to see if the teacher noticed.

The same 4 kids kept raising their hands, while the others were clearly working for the weekend.

A boy wandered into the bathroom.

A kid in a Bears jersey was craned around in his chair making eyes at my cutie-pie ABA consultant.  Who also happens to be 54 weeks pregnant.

Count Cough-ula eventually went face down into his workbook.

A different kid started hacking up a lung.

The girl seated in front of where I was standing never even bothered to take out her workbook and just sat there.

When it came time to turn in their worksheets, I'm pretty sure that at least 1/4 of them didn't turn one in or turned it in blank.

Yeah, somehow I think Audrey could keep up.


  1. Like I said before, we all have challenges with our kids. They're just all different kinds of challenges.

    Has Audrey ever sat in front of the TV with a pair of underwear on her head? And a pillow stuffed under her pj top? With a cape on?

    Mine has and I have the picture to prove it.

    And you worry about Audrey?

    She's more NT than your giving her credit for.

  2. Oh, I so hear you! I used to worry if Bud was learning enough at home. Then I met her NT friends. hehehehehe. Kids is just kids, eh?

  3. You are right on. My EC classes are about the best behaved in the school. And the EC kids are typically better behaved than the regular ed ones. I've never had an autistic student jump in front of a window, gyrating hips, and barking like a dog.

  4. This is a great post! I have to laugh sometimes about things that people attribute to the fact that their kid has autism. A lot of them are just things that kids do, because kids are weird.

    It CAN be hard to tell the difference between what's typical and what's autistic. My older 2 kids are NT...but they've done plenty of things that might be attributed to autism if they were on the spectrum. My oldest daughter dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz for a good 2 years of her life. She was totally obsessed. My son is obsessed with stuff like Legos, Star Wars, Lego Star Wars...and I'm pretty sure half of the boys in his class are, too. Oh, my son was also a puker...major sensory stuff going on there. He couldn't look at eggs or mushrooms, etc or he'd hurl. Kids just do weird stuff. :)

  5. That's so funny! Next week I'm doing a post on an area that I thought my daughter was being particularly "Aspie" about. It turns out she's acting like every kid in her class in that aspect. The behavior is very much first grade behavior. Who knew?

  6. Really? Not buying it. I still hate them all.

    Too much?

  7. ryoko861- please know you have made my day THIS MUCH better :) lol!

  8. Are you sure your presence wasn't the cause of some sort of Sasquatch induced e-coli outbreak? Mock them if you wish, but one of these kids may grow up to write and publish a book someday. Was there a chubby one with thinning hair and a dynamite sense of humor?

  9. As if I needed one more reason to love you . . .:) do you have any idea how many times a DAY I look at my kids and think "really? This is 'normal?' Holy hell, help us all." And since I started my kid experience in special education I REALLY thought I had this parenting thing down, I mean, I'd had my own classroom of kids w/ all sorts of different abilities. So what were my kids going to do? Yeah. Totally wig me out. Daily. As usual, you're awesome, Lynn :)

  10. ha! You are soooo right! General Ed teachers in my school often comment "I don't know how you do it" but I look at their classrooms (add all the above and add in inner city + serious poverty + crime, etc...) and I know my job is easier most days. I get to spend a lot of my day just teaching my students about behaving appropriately, having good listening skills, working quietly and independently, etc...and sure - while my students have some tough days - I don't have the crazy attitudes and disrespect that they get out of their 5th and 6th graders!

    I'll take my students any day over a class of 30 something gen ed pre-teens!!

    April is Autism Awareness Month. I'm dedicating my blog all month long to Autism.

  11. Aahh, the old "can't grade my worksheet if I don't turn it in" trick.
    I know it well.

    I notice the same kind of thing with the NT kids when I see GA's girlscout troop in action. 3rd grade girls are WACK-EEE! (Thankfully!)

  12. Okay something stinks in suburbia cuz every Christmas I STILL get letters recounting tales of the academic superiority and athletic prowess of said kids............

  13. Any time I've discussed Cody's behaviors with teaching staff or caseworkers I almost ALWAYS say to myself (or ask out loud) "okay, how much of this is *typical* for kids his age?" - And when I realize how much of it IS typical, I'm proud. :)

  14. This is one of my favorite posts of all time, anywhere.

    It's basically how I saw the world as a kid. I always thought, why are they all acting so strangely? And I didn't mean, why are they engaging in socially appropriate behavior that makes no sense to me? They weren't. I meant, why are they eating their boogers and thinking it's FUN?

    Yeah, Audrey will be just fine. :-)

  15. Yeah, I have two NT kids along with my son and I oftentimes wish they were more like that wrong?!?

  16. "count cough-ula" BAH!

    And Dani G's commment? LOVE!!

    I can't stand kids in general, typical or otherwise.

  17. I love this!

    The funniest part is that I teach Statistics in a Business College to mostly sophomores and juniors. Probably more than half are legally allowed to drink, yet much of what you described above is pretty common-place the last couple weeks of the semester, including the nose picking! (And yes, I wash my hands thoroughly after grading their homework!)

  18. It is SO true. I have gotten pretty good at knowing what is Autism and what is typical kid, and a lot of time things are totally typical kid. I think we just attribute a lot of stuff to Autism b/c it looks weird...but, really, ALL the kids are doing it. HA. ; )

  19. @Autism Mom Rising: I hear you. I can't stand those letters either. We get them, too, and my neurotypical kid always responds to them with a variation of "I'm so glad I'm not part of THAT family."

    Me too, kid. Me, too.

  20. bwahaha i always say corbin is harder and more out there than Brian :/

    I don't know about liking all those normies though- actually it's usually the normies parents that do me in...

  21. @Christine et al: I love hearing stories about the weird stuff that NT kids do...this is the perspective that my husband needs when he is so hard on everything that Audrey does.

    @AMR: Oh you know how I feel about those letters...

    @Rachel: Wow...thanks! I can't wait for Audrey to tell me about how weird she thinks NT kids are :)

    @Heather: THAT'S WHY I didn't hate them...their parents weren't there!!!! You have so put your finger on it. I'm never around NT kids without their parents and therein lies the problem.

  22. love it
    Lynn I so enjoy your posts
    Never stop !!

  23. Does this mean you are giving up retention? I wonder if I could sit in on one also cuz, like you I have no experience with this NT kids and so I'm lost as to what would be typical vs. autistic behavior although I have a pretty good feeling about some of it. Since my son has no siblings and no playmates that he regularly plays with at home, that kind of observation would be really helpful to me too.

    Thanks Lynn for this post! Looking past the boogers and coughing, I can see that our kiddos will probably be just fine in NT school and I should quit worrying so much. :)

  24. I am okay with NT kiddos one on one. It is the pack mentality I can't bear. You don't get a pack mentality with autistic kids. Hee! Can you imagine!

  25. I needed this, too. This is Jack's last year in the safe cushy confines of preschool. YIPES!

  26. I can't tell you how many times we've been in the backyard and I've seen my older son interacting with the other boys his age, and I've turned to my husband and asked, "Is that what boys do?" He assures me 90% of the time it is. I have no experience with boys. I only know what my friends and I were like at these ages, and it was a totally different experience. Kids are nuts. All of them. But I would be too stuck sitting in a room most of my days during the school year.

  27. Told you she could do it! I used to be the teacher for those kids!

    Now I have "everybody's workin' for the weekend stuck in my head." Complete with Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze dancing Chippendales style.

  28. This totally made me LOL and you NAILED classroom behavior spot on! I teach middle school special education and this is exactly what I deal with on a daily basis in inclusion!