Saturday, 21 January 2012

James Hobley: A Success Story - Autism, Disco and Me - BBC Three

I just watched this on TV. What a success story. . . Here is a boy who by all definitions was failing at school. Rather than giving up on him, his mom looked for something where Jimmy could shine. In the video, he says, "Before dance, I couldn't read or write." We just never know what the possibilities are for a child if we continue to observe through a deficit lens. It just simply will not do if we allow our colleagues to continue within this framework. We must speak up and spread the message of looking at possibilities and what our students "can do". Staffroom conversations such as "my class is so low this year. . . I have no clue how I am going to reach such low students," must be stopped. If we don't see the possibilities in the students entrusted to us, we are condemning them to a life of mediocrity. What right, as educators, do we have to give up on our students and offer them a substandard education because we have decided they are not capable or worthy of more.

What if Jimmy's mom had accepted a lower standard, because, after all, he wasn't reading or writing. Shouldn't she be happy that he would learn "something"?

Liz Bloor writes about her encounter with Jimmy who told her "When I'm on the dance floor I feel free and like I don't actually have a disability, I feel like everybody else."

With such confidence, Jimmy's potential is limitless, and all because someone looked at his possibilities rather than his deficits.

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