A Better Way Q&A
1. One of the most important questions asked after reading "A Better Way Pamphlet" is - What does it really mean?
Does it mean that we need to disband the current system - the schools for autistic kids, the institutions - teachers and others who work in that field - so many good people? After all, "A Better Way" school we are promoting is so different.
The answer is NO!
We don't need to disband the system we have. All we need is to change it,
and that change may be gradual, starting with simple yet important things:
How we teach, where we teach, what we teach, and when do we teach what.
We can change the way these things are done, within the current infrastructure.
These are not difficult things to do, and can be done within the framework of the current system. To learn how, we first need to understand what we do wrong, and then change our ways to do it better. As simple as that. Teachers can be retrained, the system can be modified step by step, and we at ABW Foundation will be happy to help.
2. Isn't ABW School just another special needs school?
The answer is NO!
The principles of the ABW School apply to all children, and we believe
that these schools are better schools for everybody, especially at a younger age.
In essence the ABW School is a polar opposite of a special needs school – an essential part of it is integration, teaching in the real world and in a nature environment, exposure to the mainstream vs. enclosure and isolation.
3. How should we teach children?
We must first accept that we can't change who they are. Not by electric shocks, not by special diet, not by ABA, not by some other therapy. We can't change who they are by relentless aggressive non-stop in your face force – it can only cripple them. This is true for all the children, including autistic children.
Teach we can, but not unless we try first to learn how. We have no upper hand knowledge of it. The outcome of the past 20 years is proof to that.
What is a wrong way? Don't teach just by the picture in a book. Don't teach by treats and trinkets. Don't teach by intimidation. Don't teach with a whip in your hand. Don't force your will.
What is a better way? Get them into the real world. Encourage them to explore and make decisions. Challenge them.
Accept who they are.
4. What should we teach?
We should teach the most vital knowledge - how to move in the world; how
to move in it with grace and confidence. We all are capable of it; we all can learn it - both Autistic people and those who are not.
When you see that a child doesn't move well, wouldn't you think that that is wrong? Wouldn't you think it to be more important to help them learn to move rather than teaching them to sit at your command?
We should teach them to move through the world and how to expand the boundaries of self. This is the vital knowledge, and it comes before all else. All else can be learned along with it.