During a CPD discussion on risk assessment yesterday, the issue of taking children with autism on field trips came up. In particular, we discussed the fact that seemingly innocuous changes to routine and surprises can have unexpected and potentially disastrous consequences. Whilst my own experience teaching students with autism is limited, I feel that Mark Haddon’s book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has given me a solid understanding of what these students go through.
The book follows a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome (which is on the autism spectrum, despite claims that it should not be) as he tries to solve a mysterious murder. Although the book is disarmingly simple, it does an amazing job of shifting the reader’s perception of reality, allowing a brief glimpse into one of the many ways that the human mind can function. If there is one book all teachers should read…this might perhaps be it!