People learn and interact differently. Different doesn't mean wrong. Difficult doesn't mean impossible.
If everyone accepted these three statements, life in general, and education specifically, would be very different. How? For one, our state (Texas) wouldn't be embroiled in a heated discussion over which bathrooms students should be able to use. More directly related to the article, students with learning differences wouldn't be discouraged from pursuing more challenging educational options. Students who socialize differently wouldn't be discouraged from trying to learn more about subjects they are passionate about. Parents with children that have unique needs in school and the classroom wouldn't be made to feel like they or their child are defective or incompetent.
Teaching is about providing tools and options to students. Does this mean telling a kid that thinks they are going to the NBA but has such poor grades that they are never eligible to play for the high school team (true story) that they can't or they won't achieve their dream? No. That is not your place. Your job isn't to crush dreams. What's important is letting students know how challenging that particular road is, encouraging them to follow their passion, and also providing other paths and the tools to take them. If that student also likes cars and numbers, teach them how the two relate. Perhaps there's a future in engineering there as well? You never know.
My aunt, a Dallas ISD alum, was told by her college guidance counselor in high school that she was smart, but not smart enough to apply to Harvard. She did applied, got accepted, graduated, and then got both a JD and an MBA at the same time, also from Harvard. Decades later she encouraged me to apply and now we get to share being grads together.
Why can't a child with Asperger's do the same? I'll tell you from experience that there are plenty of people at Harvard and other "top universities" that have learning differences, Asperger's included. If you have students that have learning differences to encourage them. Open doors, don't close them. They are different, not broken.
Article: My son has Asperger’s and wants to attend a rigorous college— why shouldn’t he? - Beth Hawkins
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