Background to my interest in teaching children with autism


The testing was ridiculous. He met Felicity’s psychometrists on three occasions. One of them, a pretty female, showed him a bunch of inkblots on cards and asked him to tell her what he saw on them, asked him to copy a number of geometric forms from a booklet, and asked him all sorts of questions from an intelligence test. She then gave him a bunch of questionnaires to take home with him, to complete and to return at his next visit. At the next session, another one of them, an ugly male, took him into a small room, asked him to put a little metal crescent thing around his penis, and then showed him all sorts of pictures of nude and semi-nude boys, girls, men and women. As if this were not enough of an indignity, he then asked Englebert to answer a lot of personal questions about his sexual experiences since he was a child. At the third session, he met the pretty girl again, having no idea what sort of collusion may have gone on between these two people. She sat with him while he answered another bunch of long, boring questionnaires about all sorts of issues most of which he had never thought about. He was relieved when he was told at the end of this meeting that the testing was done. He was given his appointment with Felicity who was to unravel the mysteries of this invasive set of procedures.

Since he had gone through all these unceremonious rituals, he decided he should at least find out what it all meant by attending his appointment with Felicity. After the usual greetings, he let Felicity know that if he had known what was involved, he would not have agreed to do all that junk. Perhaps for the first time in his life Felicity was in a benign frame of mind, and so he smiled inanely at Englebert as though totally unaware of why he was so annoyed. He said that the purpose of this interview was to answer Englebert’s original question concerning his homosexuality. He then began to leaf through the thick file he had in front of him. Felicity grunted and wheezed as he examined each page.

Finally, Felicity looked up and asked the astonished Englebert, “Do you want to be a homosexual?” Almost spluttering indignation, Englebert stammered, “I am a homosexual!” “Yes, I know,” Felicity replied, “but do you want to be a homosexual?” “What sort of a question is that?” Englebert was close to being furious. “You are what you are. And I’m a homosexual. It’s not a question of whether or not I want to be. That’s like asking me whether or not I want hair on my body.” “Exactly,” Felicity replied. “If you want hair, you can probably grow it or have it grafted or otherwise attached. And if you don’t want hair, you could probably have it shaved off or you could use some of the available methods for hair removal. The question here, though, is whether you want to be homosexual.”

This had gone far enough. “Of course I do,” Englebert affirmed. “Fine then,” Felicity said, “you’re welcome to be one.” Englebert looked suspiciously at Felicity. “What would you have said if I said I didn’t want to be a homosexual? I suppose you would say: ‘Well, too bad, you are one’, huh?” “No,” Felicity said simply. “Do you really want to know what I would have said, or is that just a rhetorical question?” After a few moments pause, Englebert said, “No, I really would like to know. Certainly after all those tests you did you must have something more to tell me than what you’ve just said.” “If you like,” Felicity shrugged.

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