Saturday 27 January 2018

Dear Teacher!

Yes, of course, you can ignore all the visual aides and sensory tools that we send to school for use with my children. Said no parent of an ASD child, ever!

I am growing rather tired of having the same conversations over and over again.

And it all has to do with the fact that apparently my children do not fit the mould of people's perceptions of what autism looks like. Pray do tell, what does autism look like?

So here is an open letter to all teachers in the future that may teach my little superheroes, or any other children for that matter, who require the use of visual aides or sensory breaks in class!

Dear Teacher,

My child has been placed into your class for this school year and as such I am putting my trust in you, that you will do the right thing by my children. Both of my children are eager little learners but there is a slight difference between my children and the other children that have been placed in your class.

You see, my children have autism, sensory processing difficulties and they learn differently to other children in your class.

First up, can you please place what you know about autism into the back of your mind - keep it somewhere easy to access but not directly at the fore front of your mind when you meet my child for the first time. You see there is a saying that goes "so you've met one child with autism, you've met one child with autism."

Every individual who is on the autism spectrum presents differently. Please don't assume that you know everything about autism based on your previous encounters with children who are on the spectrum. You know about how those children present with autism. You know very little about how my children present with autism. By the end of the school year you will know about how my children present with autism.

Just because my child doesn't fit into the idea, the perceptions, that you have about autism, doesn't mean that he will be able to cope in your classroom without assistance. Yes both of my children are verbal, but that does not mean that they understand your instructions. You may need to walk my child through what you want him to do. You may need to provide step by step instructions.

Every child has a different learning style, my children are no different. Both of my children are visual learners. Both of my children benefit from the use of visual schedules, social stories and visual choice boards in class.

My children's Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapist have put a lot of time and effort into creating numerous visual aides for us to utilise at home as well as for you to use in the classroom. 

The great thing about this is that you do not have to prepare any visuals, we will provide them all for you. All that we ask is that you actively use them in class with my child. Please do not put them in a basket and think that my child will access them by himself - he does not yet know how to independently use them. You will need to prompt him to use them.

These visuals make my children's lives a lot easier for them to understand and manage. When you start utilising them in your classroom, I can guarantee that you find teaching my child a much easier task.

We will also provide a sensory tool kit for my children to use in their respective classes. Both of my children enter into sensory overload on a regular basis. You may or may not notice when this occurs but believe me, we see the fall out at home after school. Every day.

When we say that they have had a rough afternoon, evening or night, please believe us. We do not make these things up for the hell of it. Just because you have not witnessed a meltdown at school, doesn't mean that they don't occur. You are more than welcome to visit our house anytime after three thirty in the afternoon after school on any school day to witness a meltdown. Please be warned, meltdowns are emotionally, mentally and physically draining for everyone.

My son needs regular sensory breaks to keep himself on track. Please let him have these sensory breaks. There is even a sensory break choice board for you to use.

Please let my children keep their sensory tool kits in an easily accessible place in class where they know where it is kept. A sensory tool kit is no use whatsoever when it is hidden from their sight. And heads up, if it is hidden from them, neither of my children will ask to use the sensory tools. It simply does not occur to them to ask.

Again you will see the benefits for allowing them to use their sensory tool kits in class.

I will apologise in advance if you feel that I am over stepping my mark as a parent, but I am my children's advocate. Neither of my children have yet found their voice to be their own advocate, so in the meantime, I am it.

I look forward to this year and hope that you enjoy having my child in your class.

Kind Regards,

This concerned Mumma Bear!


  1. Such a beautifully written post! As moms, we always look out after our kids and make sure they have everything they need wherever they are, especially when they're in school. I hope it gets better for you and that your child's teacher starts to REALLY listen.

    Belle |

  2. You are such a wonderful momma! Being their advocate is so hugely important!

  3. This is an amazing post. I love following all your stories.. It is very clear you are an amazing mama bear! <3<3

  4. Totally loved the statement every child has a different learning style and yes we need to respect adhere to each child learning style.Such a beautiful post loved reading it :)

  5. Excellent write up, i totally agree with the statement "every child has a different learning style " and it is crucial for us to respect that


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