I know I write this post at the risk of offending someone. Please believe my best intentions.
This year we have worn different colors at our school to show awareness of different things. The day I struggled with the most in my classroom was Autism Awareness.
We have several students at our school who fit in this category. When we all wore blue and discussed symptoms, I felt like they were being singled out.
One student in a different class likes me and likes my classroom, particularly my classroom library. More than once he has appeared in my room unexpectedly and begun going through my books. My students are generally polite children, but they aren't sure what to do. If I say to them that our visitor thinks differently, I feel like I have just labeled him inappropriately in front of other children.
I would like to propose something different in an elementary setting. I think all students would benefit from learning how to respond to unexpected behavior regardless of the cause. Students with physical and emotional differences sometimes behave in a way that is not called for at a particular place and time. I would rather give students appropriate responses to this unexpected behavior instead of identifying causes.
I felt awkward identifying certain behaviors during Autism Awareness, even though I never pointed out any children, because I felt like I was giving other students information they shouldn't have. My students are smart. They figured it out.
I would love to know what other teachers and parents think.