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Lesson Plans

Merry's Not-So-Funny story

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Thu, 2 May 1996 15:01:06 -0400 (EDT)

After reading Merry Wilcox's 5/2/96 posting concerning the masturbation
incident with her student, I had so many feelings going through my mind. The
most important one, however, was frustration with a minor hint of rage.
I work constantly with preservice art education students trying to
help them have a better understanding of the needs of special students such
as those with autism and other physical, mental, and emotional challenges.
Autism is one that comes to heart! While a doctoral student at OSU, I had
the absolute pleasure of working with a little autistic boy who opened my
eyes, ears, and heart to this tragic disease. I, too, experienced the same
exact incident - numerous times - that you did in your classroom. However,
before working with him, I did take time to learn about autism, the unique
characteristics of this disease, and the common challenges that I might face
while working with him. One of those characteristics is self-pleasure.
According to education and experience, masturbation is a common self-pleasurable
experience for some autistic individuals. So, I was prepared for this kind
of thing when it occured. On the other hand, I didn't look at Greg and say
"YIKES" and consider it a "funny story".
I write this note because I think that Merry's email is a red flag
for all of us in art education and other educational areas. It is our
responsibility, as educators, to become informed in areas such as autism.
On that note, I recommend that readers visit the WWW site of the Autism
Society of America at the following address to learn more about this
tragic disease:

OR, use the Search Engines on Yahoo to assist you.
Merry, thank you for opening up a "can of worms" for which all of
us should be attentive!
Cassandra Broadus-Garcia
Asst. Professor of Art
Central Connecticut State University