Showing posts with label Cool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cool. Show all posts

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Back to School and Try to be Cool

The Milaneses and their shops
Another school year has begun, which is always a good time for Monty, with ASD now aged 15. He loves his small international school; he has been there since was 3 years old. School is fun because he gets lots of attention and stimulation. Other children are surprisingly nice to him and the teachers get to meet someone with autism.

In kindergarten and the early years of primary/junior school boys with autism often get taken care of by some of the nicer girls. It is like having a live human doll to mother. It is amazing how this pattern repeats among different children with autism. This gradually seems to fade away as girls discover that they need to be cool and kids with special needs tend not to be cool.

We had a visit over the summer from a Dutch girl who was one of these nice little girls when she was younger. Now she is also 15 and has not seen Monty for a few years. The difference between them now is much starker than 10 years ago, but there still is a bond.
Last year at school for friendship development day they had to climb a small mountain, this year they went bowling. The girls in the year above wanted to teach Monty how to bowl and they did. The year above is unusual in being mainly girls.
I know that most children with autism/Asperger's cope with junior school but many, particularly Aspies, really hate high school, because they do not fit in and so they get bullied. Monty has never experienced any such problems, but he is not an Aspie, so he is not a target.  People who are a tiny bit different get bullied, people who are more different tend not to get picked on.
Big brother has graduated from high school and gone to University in Milan, Italy, far away. In his time at school the class were not so nice to the Aspie boy they had in their group and he was not nice to them. I think it was a lost opportunity; ultimately it is up to parents to make things happen.  Parents often blame schools, but most schools have no expert knowledge and have many other issues to deal with. Much more could be done to integrate those who are just a tiny bit different.
I think that to fit in, the special needs pupil needs to be “cool” and have an assistant who is seen by the class as “cool”. What counts as cool? How you dress, sport you do, musical skills etc. For the assistant it includes how old you behave; having an Assistant who behaves like a 50-year-old, is not going to help integrate a teenager.
Most kids figure out what is cool, but if you have any degree of autism you may not. I think some people would indeed benefit from “cool lessons”, you could call it “how to be a teenager”. There are workshops for Aspie teenagers, a little bit like this. 
In our household this new school year is much more about big brother. We have lots of video calls about Italian bureaucracy, how to cook, how expensive going out is, but how cheap Italian coffee is (no Starbucks).  Overall Milan is beautiful city, full of very fashion-conscious people who do seem to enjoy life.  The Italian students in class can be identified by their expensive sunglasses and their going for “aperitivo”.  The foreign boys are going for birra, bier, pivo, bira or cerveza, which is cheap in a supermarket but very expensive elsewhere. 
Bocconi is Italy’s top University for economics; it seems pretty well organized and is very inclusive. They have many students from poorer countries, who get substantial financial support from the University, which is the opposite of what happens in England (where foreign students face paying up to 3 times more for tuition). Germany is also good in this regard, where even Medical School is free to all, but you do need to learn German. Big brother is getting to practise his foreign languages, but tuition is in English.