Autism Spectrum

  “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But how often do people follow this unwritten rule? A worldwide topic that is directly affected by this expectation is Autism.

  Autism comes down to how an individual’s brain is organized and wired, causing differences in the developmental stage of their brains, ultimately creating a problem with how they respond to social interaction. “We see Autism as an Umbrella, having a vast amount of branching parts that fall under,” special education teacher Sherri Peak said. People who are autistic have varying methods of learning, attention and movement.

The universal image or symbol associated with Autism would be the puzzle piece; everything is there, but just one piece is missing. We normally help people find the missing piece, whether verbal, auditory, or visual.”

— Peak

  At Westmoore, the Special Education program is constantly growing to help improve student relations and to increase understanding among each other. “There will always be a stigma around Autism, positive or negative,” paraprofessional Mallorie Thomasson said. With involvement in the Special Olympics or in-class instruction, the mixture between general and special education students is rising. “During my sophomore year, another student and I started a program to allow general students to help and participate in the Special Olympics,” Thomasson said.

  The differences between general and special education students are not that separate; some need to pursue education at a slower pace or help understand certain material.

I’m dyslexic, I know what it’s like to struggle in school, and it allowed me to get to understand and know these kids on a personal level”

— Thomasson

  Like the spectrum on the rainbow, Autism also has different levels. They range from high levels of response to situations to being completely restrictive of any level of communication. In addition, the levels of autism range from person to person. “Everyone has issues. Rather they are small or big. We have our coping mechanisms, and accepting that has allowed people to understand each other,” Peak said.

  The unwritten rule of “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a lesson that affects everyone worldwide. Of course, people will always be different in any setting, but as a community, it is important not to judge but to understand.