I watched this brilliant Ted talk yesterday whist getting ready for school, which really got me thinking. It’s quite long but, if it takes you forever to look vaguely human like me, maybe pop it on whilst straightening your hair!
It made me wonder…
- Do we accept individuality? Encourage it? Value it?
- Do we want to fix or treat or cure differences, when they are what make that individual who they are?
- Do we value ethnic or cultural diversity but fail to value the fact the child on the Autism spectrum in our class can recite all the capital cities in the world by heart?
- Do we comment on how we wish the ADHD child in our class didn’t have ADHD?
I’ve thought about these sorts of questions for some time now -in a MUCH less eloquent manner than Andrew Solomon! Prior to teaching I worked as a therapist with Autistic children and, as I spent more time with these kids, I began to wonder if I was doing the right thing. Was I just making these kids conform to the world I lived in? Was I making them behave in a manner that society expected and, in doing so, undermining who they were? Were they quite happy with the status quo and didn’t need the likes of me coming and ‘fixing’ them up?
I’m still not sure what the answers are to these questions are but I do think we need to consider how much we value conformity and fitting within the box we label ‘normal’…