Miss. Grant, a kindergarten teacher, started a new school year feeling excited. Though her co-workers encountered challenging issues in their classes, she was fortunate to have never been caught off guard.
As the school year commenced, Miss. Grant noticed a student, Catherine, demonstrating odd behaviors. Catherine was a quiet girl who kept to herself and was confident when trying to help others. When the class was loud, Catherine would cover her ears and go to a quiet corner. Catherine would tell the class to quiet down when their chatter persisted. Though an odd behavior, Miss. Grant was drawn to Catherine’s spirit and wondered about this young girl.
After a day of crafts, Miss. Grant took out a vacuum to clean up the mess. To her dismay, Catherine was frightened. Catherine covered her ears, ran to a corner and silently cried. Miss. Grant didn’t know what to do. She quickly used the vacuum, thinking, Oh,no! I think Catherine is autistic! I’d better contact her family.
With Catherine’s inability to handle noise and tendency to seclude herself, Miss. Grant had no other explanation. Facing Catherine’s father, Carl, she asked, ” Is Catherine autistic?”
Carl looked up in shock. “Why would you assume that my daughter’s autistic?”
Miss. Grant explained, “Catherine often secludes herself in a corner and is very unhappy when the class is loud. Yesterday, she closed her ears and cried when I pulled out a vacuum to clean up. She appears to be a strong learner but often draws away from the class. I want to help but don’t know how.”
Carl nodded. ” Catherine isn’t autistic, she hides from monotonous sounds because her mother is epileptic. All her life she watched how those sounds triggers seizures for her mother. She secludes herself because she’s scared. It’s odd but it’s how Catherine deals with it.”
After the meeting, Miss. Grant, at a loss for words, reported to the principal.
“Good news is Catherine isn’t autistic. I guess every perspective is correct, as each one has a separate objective. I based my assumption on stories about autism, not knowing of Catherine’s history with epilepsy. Now, I know and will be able to support her.”