When I started this blog, my intention was to describe the world of Asperger’s through the eyes of Geordie’s stuffed dog Fifi.
Reading through my previous postings, I realise I have barely mentioned Fifi. This may be because he is no longer within arm’s reach every waking moment. However, he remains an important source of comfort, and an integral means of expression.
There have been numerous times Geordie has enacted something with Fifi that has shown us how he is responding to an event in his life. The time that comes to mind most readily, and is the longest running episode in which Fifi is involved, is school.
Fifi’s introduction to ‘Learning School’
Geordie has never really liked school. At best, he tolerates being there; at worst, he flatly refuses to enter the classroom. Thankfully, he puts up with school for the majority of the time.
It has always been obvious that school is not Geordie’s favourite place, but it become blatantly so when Fifi was relegated to a drawer in the cupboard:
“Where is Fifi?”
“He’s in here,” pointing to the drawer.
“He’s at learning school.”
A little more probing ensued. What is learning school? Why is Fifi there? And then:
“He has to learn how to behave. He’s been bad and he has to stay at learning school until he behaves properly.”
Is this how Geordie views school?
Is school a place where you get sent, locked up, until you behave properly?
What is ‘proper’ behaviour anyway?
All of these questions, and more, ran through my mind – and they still do. Fifi’s Learning School put in its first appearance five years ago. In our Asperger’s world, it is one of few constants.
For this reason, I would like to spend my next few posts on the topic of school and conformity. It will sound soap-boxy, but I won’t apologise because it is an important topic:
- School takes up a huge proportion of our lives.
- The whole world, for my child with Asperger’s, is a world which requires conformity.
- School, above all else in a child’s world, is a place where you MUST conform.
- Conforming, for a child on the spectrum, takes a huge amount of energy and is fraught with anxiety and confusion.
I invite everyone to join me on the journey into the world of school – Asperger’s style.