Emotional development happens slower in autists. There is a biochemical reason for that which has to do with immune system interference of neurotransmitters known as the ‘molecules of emotion’.
The Limbic system of the brain is the center of emotion, nurturing, feeding, learning, speech and socialization. Brain biopsies have revealed an ‘immature development of the limbic system in autists.’ So high school is particularly difficult as peer pressures increase during puberty.
High functioning Aspergers children often are high achievers in grades 1-6 then begin to crash and fail after that, or retreat into being ‘geeks’, developing unsocial behaviors and focusing on specialisms. I am speaking from personal experience. The emotional pain of both social and academic failure is too much to bare, and many also turn against their families and schools or become self-destructive. We have seen these patterns again and again.
Our approach is multi-layered, having gone through this ourselves and know the emotional pain, know the effects on families often leading to family breakdown, having fought the educational system and the social care system that do not understand this condition and cause more harm than good, also having come to understand the biochemistry of autism and its relationship to food and feeding issues, to food and environmental and neurological sensitivities, the behavioral complexes that develop as defense mechanisms then become entrenched, above all understanding the higher intelligence of autists, the latent genius, the differences in understanding and perception and how we learn, how we communicate. This is ethno-methodology – joining the tribe to understand its language and rituals. It is a journey, an adventure, a total transformation of our approach to life and living where we leave the trauma of ‘diagnosis’ behind, become free to be ourselves. Understanding who we are as autists, why we are here, our role in this ‘Transformation’, this ‘Global Awakening’. This is what we teach.
Our resources we have developed ourselves. Our methods we have developed ourselves, with the help of the autists around the world who have taught us so much.
‘ Teachers are coaches of understanding, not mere purveyors of content knowledge, skill, or activity. They focus on ensuring that learning happens, not just teaching (and assuming that what was taught was learned); they always aim and check for successful meaning making and transfer by the learner’ (Understanding by Design) http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/siteASCD/publications/UbD_WhitePaper0312.pdfh