Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Teacher's Question

SS writes:

Dear Philip,
I read in your blog how much you dislike it when people talk as if you are not there. I am a drama teacher, and I have students with autism in my class. I often have trouble knowing how to help my other students understand how to communicate with my autistic students without feeling as if I am doing that very thing - speaking as if they are not in the room. Can you help me with this? Thank you!

To Ms. S,

I am going to tell you this story. Before in school I caught teachers talking about each student each day as if we were not listening. They said poor things about us. They said we are lazy and defiant. I heard a lot in school I am not smart. It was awful to imagine they assumed I am retarded. I felt so small. I am now at a regular school.  Teachers now know I am smart. They talk to me and not about me. I am much happier now.

You can write a letter to your regular students to introduce your autistic students. Tell them we are smart and to speak normally to us even if we don't respond like a normal person. We are listening. We love friends too.



A classroom in California greets its students and all who enter with Philip's words:

"Today try to make our lives better by understanding us and accepting us as we are.  Include us in your lives.  Talk to us even if we don't respond.  We are listening.  
I am storing up happy memories with every person's kindness."  


  1. Thank you, Philip. Your kind response - as well as your beautiful statement that appears above under the photo - will help us all to understand how to communicate with each other in my class.

    Susan Scaccia

  2. Such a strong, message from a truly incredible boy! Thank you Philip.