Another class discussion. The question was posed to us. A classmate started to speak up about her experience with a certain client group.
“When we worked with autistic children…” she began.
At this point, our lecturer, J, gently interrupted her.
“You mean children WITH autism.” J corrected, a smile lining the corners of her mouth.
My classmate paused for less than a second of a heartbeat before starting over with a sheepish grin . “Right. When we worked with children with autism…”
And that was that. Nothing more was said about the correction. Neither party asked the other why the correction was made, or why it was necessary, or what made them use the phrases/labels they did.
But I think, at the back of all our minds, that exchange stuck. And for me, personally, it drove home a very important message.
The message that we are first and foremost dealing with people. Children. Not the autism, not the disability, not the illness, not the condition. The importance of seeing them as human beings FIRST, before anything we do will be able to have any effect on them or their lives.
May this lesson stick.
Hurray for subtle lessons and learning~!