Background to My Interest in Teaching Children with Autism

More Background to My Interest in Teaching Children with Autism
I am 81 years old. I may have already told you that I am an achiever of sorts – competitive – and that, having had an older brother who was stillborn, the major motivational drive in my life has been to live up to my mother’s unspoken requirement that I achieve academically – she was a teacher – so as to justify being allowed to live. However, my dad had a Grade 8 education and was a jack-of-all-trades, and I inherited his polar-opposite-to-academia skills. What a mish-mash! I may also have told you that I have about 14 years of post secondary academic education – teacher’s college and university – spread over about 17 years, that I have more than a touch of autism, and that I am only marginally “successful.” Neither a true “thinker” nor a true “doer.” Quelle tristesse! C’est a pleurer. (How maudlin! Like my frined, Doug, who used to refer to himself as a poor little upside down cake.)
I have never been under the illusion that I am a nice person – I am much too self-centred, focused on whatever it is that I have chosen to do at the time, which, more often than not, is just to escape from the reality of life into some fantasy adventure or other (usually science fiction novels or action movies). When I was Coordinating Psychologist (or some such title) for the Central Region of the Ministry of Correctional Services, the Ministry’s Consultant Psychologist, Wes Coons, wanted the three of us CP’s to do things the same way. I was totally in agreement with that, so long as everyone did things my way, which never happened, of course! ☺
I think that I may have been a psychotherapist for too long. The head of the Psychology Department at the University of Western Ontario while I was a student there was Gord Turner, and he was a Rogerian. Me being an introvert, that probably set the pattern. But then I found Robert Langs’ psychoanalytic approach, which certainly confirmed me being a listener rather than a talker – and I don’t do social communication all that well, anyway.
There is too much stress in my life, he said. Too much? Well, a lot. “Stress, the confusion created when the mind overrides ther body’s impulse to kick the living shit out of some asshole who desperately needs it.” ☺
So, here I am in the twilight of my life, with all my closest friends already dead; and thinking, not about whether or not I will die, but about how and when. My wife tells me that I sleep too much, and perhaps that is part of winding down. But I still want to be up and doing, so perhaps winding down is a blessing – maybe I can, for a short period of time, at least work towards become a human being rather than a human doing. On the other hand, how would that make me useful (except as an organ bank)? I keep promising to cut back on working so as to enjoy retirement, but I seem to keep getting busier. Not nicer, just busier.

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