An apology to my autistic students…

Escaping from the “should’s”

Someone's Mum

I am sorry. I am a good human being – a good teacher, I think. I listen, I learn, I strive to be better. I know it is a great responsibility to shape young minds, young opinions. I thought I knew what it means to teach a pupil with autism. But experience has given me something knowledge never could and I am sorry; now I begin to understand.

Before I was the mother to my son – my son who I now know is autistic – I thought you might struggle to imagine as vividly as others. I see now that isn’t so; your minds can be quick and bright and colourful – like exotic birds, beautiful but unusual. Sometimes you just struggle to imagine things that are governed by the expectations, the minds, of others.

Before, I knew that some of you might find relationships difficult. I thought your emotions ran differently…

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Talking Sense: Nocioception


Never Less Than Everything

What if you were crying in pain and no one would hear you? 

Ethical questions about nocioception and ASD. 


The Second Pathway within the Somatosensory System (touch) is called nocioception.

The word, nocioception, comes from the Latin ‘hurt’ or ‘harm’, and represents the structures and senses in within the body that detect and respond to pain. The sensations of itch, tickle and of temperature are also considered parts of the nocioceptive pathway.

For much of history pain was considered the result of the over-loading of the body’s sensory receptors. However, recent studies show that that this is not the case, and point to the likelihood that pain is a distinct event that involves all of the other senses, including touch. Pain functions primarily to defend and protect the body from potential harm and the experience of pain is now understood to register in specific parts of the brain.


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We who are not disabled – we need to “check ourselves before we wreck ourselves” and more importantly, before we wreck those we love with our lack of listening and empathy. It’s on us.

To my Son – Your stimming is beautiful.

Like breathing…

Someone's Mum

I hear your voice from the other room:

“Hello Harri. I am running about in the kitchen! I was running about and then you came!”

It is the longest utterance you have addressed to your sister. In fact, I can’t ever remember you speaking directly to her in this way before. My heart swells.

I creep in to watch you, in case you have more to say, but you turn away shyly; my presence has dispelled the moment.

“Sweetheart, that was lovely. It is wonderful to hear you speaking to Harri so nicely and being kind to her. Well done. What a good boy.”

Your face contorts with emotion, mouth open, eyes wild. You raise your hands up towards your eyes, twisting finger between fingers, shaking your whole torso. This pose is held for a moment before you move, turning away, your legs carrying you off with a joyful little…

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