It has been 25 years since Johnny and I shared a classroom. I have learned so much from the teachers and the parents who have allowed me to observe and share ideas about helping their children learn. They have inspired me, as Johnny did, to organize my ideas into the form of a book.
There is no quick fix for teaching children with autism. Despite all the advances in this field in the past three decades, I realize that this is as true today as it was when I worked with Johnny. It takes enduring perserverance, and endless energy. It requires that teachers blend theory and creativity, for every child is unique.
We have come a long way in recognizing and understanding autism since Kanner and Asperger wrote of their discoveries. Still, we cannot prevent autism, nor can we cure it. We can only hope to identify and treat it properly. To do so, we need the special expertise of the researchers and practitioners who have dedicated their talents and energy to this very special condition. We need teachers and therapists who can take these theories forward, who can analyze their day-to-day experiences, and who can creatively make changes in their instructional approach. Parents rely upon all of us to look to the future with realistic optimism, to offer direction and hope. As Temple Grandin says:
There is no cure for autism, and parents must be cautious to
avoid being misled by extravagant claims made by people who
are promoting their own brand of therapy. Treatments that are