Team Effort

The big book is not a one off activity. Parents, teachers and the principal need to work together on an ongoing basis to make the school a safe, supporting and enriching place for the child with Asperger’s.

The following is a note from the author, Amanda Curtis, which describes the team effort required to make the big book a success:

“Many things need to line up for the big book to be a success. The guide will hopefully provide enough information and guidance so that your disclosure process will be a success.

I found that in addition to all the information presented in the guide, that the following was also required:

The principal’s support. My son’s principal wholeheartedly supported us and she is passionate about having her students not only understand and accept differences, but also celebrate differences. Without her attitude and  support, I doubt whether the book would have been as successful.

The classroom teacher on board. The teacher needs to be open to new ideas and needs to implement techniques consistently. They need to understand that the child has Asperger’s every day, not just on bad days. They need to know how to help the child learn. They need to understand that the integration aide is there to help the child integrate, and the aide is not a substitute for the teacher. The teacher needs to “get it.” Empathy!

Lots of parental involvement. The assistance that the parents of the child with Asperger’s gives to the school is important. Getting my son through has practically been a full-time job for the first two years of his primary schooling. Schools are often very busy dealing with other students with special needs such as dyslexia, ADHD, children from broken families, physical disabilities—the list goes on. The child with Asperger’s is just one of the many and it is easy to forget this and to expect a level of service that is quite often not funded.

School community support. How involved is the local community with the school? Are there regular family and parent school events? Is fundraising shared among parents or left to a dominant group? How do students enter the school grounds and leave after school—orderly, respectful or noisy and boisterous? How are students dressed—uniform or not? Are clothes disheveled and untidy or do the children take pride in the way they look? Are parents generally friendly? What sort of “vibe” do the other parents give? A supportive school community will help with the success of this book.

The success of the big book relies on the relationships between the principal, classroom teacher, parents and the  school community!”

Amanda Curtis, author of “My friend has Aspergers”.