‘Least restrictive’ educational environment?

One of the biggest challenges I have faced being autistic is the experience of school.  From what I’ve seen and read, I know that the I’m Not Alone Fairy has made another visit.

Bluntly speaking, school sucked, and truth be told, I honestly have no clue how I made it through unscathed.

Oh wait–I was scathed.  I made it through alright, but not without battle scars.

Nobody knew I was on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, so no one (besides my mom) knew that I needed a different education.  I’m not going to say “special education” here, because that’s not quite the case; it implies education at a slower pace, more of a remedial environment.

There were indeed areas in which I would have preferred a slower pace.  Math comes to mind as a prime example.  But there were areas in which I was bored to tears because I would’ve liked to have moved faster, or perhaps explored the subject matter a little more deeply.

Meh, life happens.  We don’t always get what we want, and hindsight is always 20/20 and all that.

In a recent conversation with my mom, who is, over time, becoming more open, more accepting, and actually a viable other half of a conversation about this topic, she posed the question: “I wonder how much easier or better things might have been if we would have known then?”

My (genuine, truthful) response was that I had done some thinking about that, and although it might have been nice to know, my situation might not have been much different, and I don’t think I would want to go back.

The reality is that there is no answer to that question, because that was then and this is now and it’s impossible to go back in time.  Therefore, any answer we might come up with is purely theoretical and speculative.

But let’s speculate for a moment, if for no other reason than I’ve got the benefits of insight and hindsight to draw from, and although I can’t (and won’t try to) speak for anyone else, there are autistic kids today whose parents might be battling with these questions.  The future for those families is open; it hasn’t been written yet.  And maybe, as an Aspergian/autistic adult, what I have to say about my own experience might benefit someone else out there.

I’ve written before (a few times) about my school experience in general, so I won’t repeat myself here, but I’d like to explore this topic from a slightly different angle.

Apparently, things have changed a lot in the educational realm since my childhood.  There is new legislation; there are new requirements.  Basically, accommodations must be made, but in the end, the emphasis is on mainstreaming where possible.

The legislation specifically stresses the idea of the “least restrictive environment” possible.

OK, that sounds well and good and utopian, but it’s also bureaucrat-style vague.  When the rubber meets the road, what does it actually mean?  What does it look like in “real life”?

It appears that what is considered a “least restrictive environment” is all about mainstreaming an autistic child into “regular” public school where possible, because of the (assumed) “benefits” of having a disabled child interact with non-disabled children.

I take (several) issues with this.

First, I need to preface what I’m about to say with some context:

  • I’m in full awareness of–and support for–the idea that there is no one-size-fits-all, and that pretty much applies to any aspect of life, especially education.  This means that what works for one may not work for another.
  • I’m also in full support of efforts to help us lead fulfilling lives, and to be given every opportunity to do so.  I’m also in full support of equal opportunities and equal access, and de-stigmatization of the Asperger’s/autism spectrum in general (but y’all probably knew that).
  • I realize that I’m human and therefore biased and imperfect, so everything I write, naturally, gets filtered through my personal lens first.
  • I don’t necessarily have any easy answers (at least, not yet–although who knows–maybe some will germinate by the latter stages of writing this post?), so my only goal at the moment is to offer one–and only one–perspective, and raise questions that I hope provoke thought or (constructive) discussion or whatever. 🙂

OK, onto my issues (grin)…

First, although I completely support the ideals of equal opportunity and mainstreaming when it’s in the best interest of the child/student, there’s something about the idea of legislating that a child/student be mainstreamed as much as possible.  There seems to be a bit too much emphasis on the “ideal” of mainstreaming autistic kids; given the wording used,…

“The guidelines for the least restrictive environment dictate that a child with a disability “must be educated in the school he or she would attend if not disabled…”

…then it almost feels like the primary goal is to force the child/student into more interaction than they might be comfortable with, and make the child/student “look” more “normal” or pressure them into a more “normal” experience/existence than may be beneficial for them, and their comfort and learning seem to rank second.

Consider the wording used in another passage from another source…

“Removal from regular educational environments should only occur when the nature or severity of the handicap is such that education in regular classes with the use of supports or services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”

It feels to me like should the child/student need a more private or individual environment outside of a “regular” classroom, that the existing legislation is interpreted to imply that something’s “wrong” with them, that their “handicap” is “severe” enough to warrant an alternative environment, which only further stigmatizes them.

This uneasiness on my part may indeed be due to a reading comprehension issue on my part.  But it could also be (and probably is?) due to my personal experience with having been mainstreamed.

I actually found the mainstream public school environment to be more restrictive.  I’m pretty sure that’s not what the legislators and education professionals meant–I’m sure they had a different meaning in mind–but that doesn’t change the fact that that’s the effect it had on me.

The context in which I use the word “restrictive” is the held-back, mediocritized feeling I got while going through the “regular” program.  I was not free to explore certain subjects in greater depth.  I was not free to move faster through those I grasped more easily.  I was not free to spend more time on a subject in which I was struggling.  I was not free to ask all the questions I had, or to get all the one-on-one instruction I would’ve benefited from.  I was not able to receive the positive reinforcement and more-detailed feedback I would have appreciated.  And lastly, I was not free to be myself in such an environment; I was expected to conform, to fit in, to keep the same pace as everyone else.  I was forced to work in groups when I did not want to and when it never benefited me.  I was not free to take a break when I needed to, to take a nap, play, or get something to eat, and then come back to the learning process when my brain was ready.

Tell me–how is that kind of ultra-structured Play-Doh “Fun” Factory “least restrictive” to an Asperger’s/autistic kid like me?

For me, a least restrictive environment would have been what the Powers That Be consider the “most restrictive”–a homeschool environment, where it’s just my mom and myself, where I would have been free to learn at my pace and my rhythm, without the distraction or other interference from other kids constantly getting in the way of my learning.

Is promoting and encouraging a “least restrictive” mainstream school environment really all about getting us to socialize with other peers our own age?  Is that what’s so important?

It turns out that when done correctly, homeschooled students may actually be more realistically socialized than classroom-educated students (another great link can be found here).

So is being stuck in a room with 20 or 30 other kids who are constantly judging you a less restrictive environment than being homeschooled, where I’m free to be myself and learn in a way that’s conducive to my wellbeing?

Like I mentioned, I’m all about equality and opportunity and all that, I promise.  But in my particular situation, it worked against me.  Sometimes I can’t help wondering what my life might have been like and how things might have turned out had I been able to receive an education in my ideal environment?

I know that it’s useless and futile to dwell on the past, to wonder what could have been If Only, because the fact is, it didn’t happen that way.  Things turned out the way they did, and that’s that.  That doesn’t mean my human nature (and my over-thinking, over-analyzing, systemizing nature) won’t try sometimes, though.  And I’m through scolding my brain for what I think it should or should not do; if those thought-patterns come to visit, I’ll let them in for a cup of tea, to sit awhile and take a load off.

But when their welcome is worn out, I’ll gently-but-firmly show them the door.  Because they don’t live here, and I’m not going to let them move in.

Maybe there’s a parallel universe out there, where the homeschooling laws have relaxed and options are open, where somewhere, somehow, I’m getting what I need.  Or maybe there’s someone in this universe who needed this information at this particular time.

After all, everything happens for a reason, right?  😉


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  1. Like you I was not diagnosed until my school days were long in the past. I don’t reckon that being diagnosed would have made much difference – at school if you can obviously be identified as different (and I could, in spades) you have a hard time.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh dear god. Don’t make me recall school. Never mind that all the kids made fun of me, but honestly I kind of sucked at school too (all the way through college/grad school). My grades in no way reflected the level of comprehension I had of the material (I was a consistent B student) and I honestly think “the system” has a lot to do with that.

    I’m a terrible test taker in that I’m slower than mud and some anxiety gets to me. Luckily I had 1.5x time for exams in grad school but even that wasn’t enough for me to really shine. I do feel if I had other avenues to demonstrate what I’d learned in my classses I’d have done much better in school and my grades would have more accurately reflected my knowledge and intellect.

    For that reason, and for the reason that we all have different strengths/weaknesses and interests/disinterests, the “one size fits all” curriculum has got to go. Common core, whatever, it’s all bullshit. It’s also bullshit that academia/university is the only path that’s pushed in public school in the US. Most people would be better off learning a trade and bypassing college/university altogether but the system does a really damn good job of brainwashing young minds into thinking a college degree is their ticket to success. To quote Gov. Gary Johnson, “that is about the biggest piece of bullshit I’ve ever heard.”

    Anyway, I do favor alternative methods of education including homeschooling. Unfortunately most people who homeschool do so for the purposes of religious indoctrination and shielding their kids from real science such as evolution, climate change and the geological timeline. It’s a great tool but abused far too often for me to fully endorse it.

    I do, however, fully endorse such things as shop class in school and some public schools that are cropping up that put more emphasis on things like STEM professions. That’s great. Now if we could put the arts back into schools (music, drama, art, etc.) and even have more specialized art schools that would be fantastic also. Anything can be better than the cookie-cutter system we have now.

    Anyway sorry for droning on in a rant-like fashion, but I had to get it out of my system. God I fucking hated school. Ugh. I’d kill myself if I had to relive just one nanosecond of that shit. Gag me with a fucking spoon.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Thank you for writing this. I think your analysis of ‘restrictive environment’ is spot on and educate my autistic daughter at home; mainly for that reason. She flourishes. I think at school she would be squashed. Best wishes to you.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. When I was in high school I was put in a self contained classroom for students with emotional issues and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. The teachers, therapists and students from that program are still a positive presence in my life today.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. When I was in that program a few people told me I should strive to get back in to the mainstream and I just said “No thank you.” I did take some mainstream classes though.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Good thoughts! ☺Of course, this is a subject that weighs heavily for me on more than one level. There’s my own schooling years, which I mostly navigated grade-wise if not at all socially. Though ask me math now and I remember none but the bare bones! I think I always managed to retain enough to pass so I could please others but had an exit hatch in my brain for stuff that didn’t actually interest me once I was done needing to know it. 😂 Homeschool, sadly, would’ve been just as abysmal, if only because of my mom. Maybe if my dad or my granny had taught. Or else a smaller, more interest-focused school? I don’t really know. But, like you, I like to ponder it. 🙂 And, of course, most significant at this juncture, is the education of my own kids. There were many years of single momming it when there was not really the luxury of a lot of choices, unfortunately, but, we were usually blessed with compassionate staff in those days, thank goodness. And, now, being remarried and able to stay home, I am more in a position to reflect. The schools they go to are small and have typically been very accomodating, which is why we moved here.Though, I must say, as time wears on, I have encountered a hole or two in the system and more social pain than we expected.( small towns can have a rather seedy underbelly😒) I have home school in my back pocket, so to speak, which my kids know is always a viable possibility, but, right now, they have made the conscious choice to keep going. There are things they desire from life they have decided no one’s going to stop them from getting. I greatly admire their strength in this area!💓💓💓 It is so much more than I can dream of. So…right now, the game plan is to keep equipping them as best as I know how, teach them to advocate, and be there for them at every stage. If at any point any of them feel they cannot keep on in this fashion, they know they have options.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Mainstreaming is a word that makes us cringe.

    In 4th grade (living in Southern California)
    We went for G.A.T.E testing (Gifted & Talented
    Education) which was not offered at our current
    school. For the first time I was in a classroom of
    children like myself, & I was elated, I finished the
    test as quickly as possible since I really wanted to
    interact with the other students because after the
    testing was finished I was taken back to my normal
    school, because that day was our Science Fair.

    I created a simple electronic interface, with countries
    on one side, & capitol cities on the other, touching
    the correct country & capitol created a complete
    circuit which made a buzzing sound. I won the
    science fair. When I received my G.A.T.E scores,
    I had missed the “Gifted Threshold” by one point.

    So it still makes me laugh that a 4th grader could
    go to a new school, take a test, then go back to his
    other school & win the science fair, but not be
    considered smart enough to enter G.A.T.E.

    Education should be bespoke for every child, there is
    no one size fits all lesson plan, especially in todays
    rapidly advancing world. Homeschooling, self-directed
    learning, & online tools make the need for mainstreaming
    irrelevant. There is nothing worse than boring a child
    with workbooks & curriculum that they have long since
    surpassed, if a child is engaged in a subject let them learn
    as much as they want. Unschooling is an amazing concept!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I love the idea of unschooling! Omg I heard about this from a couple of forward-thinking friends a while back and at first I was like, “what?” But then when they told me more about it, it didn’t take long to turn me into a total believer 😁👏🏼💞💖

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Hey Laina, thanks for checking. I was asking 924 because I checked out their blog and had tons of questions from what I saw. It nice to know that you welcome questions though. I will keep that in mind when I read your blog again.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hello GiftdKnowledge_ , we mainly use Twitter to communicate online,
            but you can always reach out via email also. Our contact info is in
            our Past Projects link at the top of the page. Hope that helps 😉

            Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend & summer so far!

            Liked by 2 people

  7. Ditto, ditto, ditto, all the way down the line. In fact at my asd assessment I said that I consider school a cruel environment, it’s cruel to shove that many children/young people into that small a space and require them to adhere to a strict, but ultimately unnatural and artificial routine every day for 13 + years. It’s actually written in my report that I said that. School was torture for me and very definitely not the “least restrictive” environment to me.

    I don’t need to write anything on my blog, because you say it all so well Laina, and it resonates with me so completely, everything you write.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Actually, I seriously considered home schooling my children, long before it had gained popularity, I just wasn’t sure I was up to the job. Especially since I always seemed to know I needed alone time to cope with the world and a house full of children, 24 hours a day wasn’t going to allow for that.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. ‘Is promoting and encouraging a “least restrictive” mainstream school environment really all about getting us to socialize with other peers our own age?’

    Answering as someone with a degree in education and thus an “insider” view: Yes, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be for. That’s also why (most) schools also don’t allow students with high intelligence/scholastic aptitude to progress at their own pace, and students with different ways of learning aren’t allowed to learn in the way that works best for them. It’s no good trying to explain that there’s a huge difference between “peers” and “age-mates,” though, because they DON’T CARE. ‘All ten-year-olds must be identical in abilities and aptitudes! All children must learn at the same rate! Different is wrong!’ The whole point is to make everyone average (or punish them for NOT being average until they decide to change, as if that were possible), because non-average is more difficult to shove into a pigeonhole.

    Many years ago, there was a guy running for President of the United States who had a pretty good idea about education reform: Instead of shoving kids through school according to their AGE, let’s allow them to progress according to what they’ve LEARNED. That way, there’s no stigma for being “held back” (if you struggle with one subject, you aren’t held back a year just to redo that one class), and if you’re especially good at something, you don’t have to be stuck in a class you’ve already mastered while your age-mates try to catch up. A kid who learned math really fast but wasn’t so good at reading would be allowed to progress through the levels in math classes as far and as fast as she could/wanted to, but she’d also get whatever extra help she needed in reading.

    I would have been miserable being homeschooled, due to individual circumstances (as bad as school was, it was nevertheless a refuge from home), but I think that for most children with non-standard ways of learning, not being forced to conform to “average/normal” would be a good thing.

    (Yeah, I ‘m sure I violated all sorts of vocabulary rules, but I’m new to this, I don’t know the acceptable jargon, and I’m too brain-tired — just finished editing a 130K-word novel yesterday, and I’m still seeing comma splices every time I blink — to try to think of the “right” words at the moment. Also, thinking about schools and education and all tends to make me angry/frustrated — better than being depressed/guilty, I guess — and then I start having trouble expressing myself with words at all.)

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Ouch! Three of my relatives are educators, (two in Special Ed)
        & they are absolutely amazing, but education administrators &
        top down bureaucracy pretty much take control out of the classroom.

        We have the philosophy that education starts at home, being
        encouraging & even if you don’t have the correct answer, helping
        to find it, or pointing in the right direction is better than dumping
        a child in a classroom & expecting someone else to educate.
        Children tend to teach us just as much as we try to teach them.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow! Some great thoughts- and indeed very timely…. my husband and I are preparing to take on fairly significant debt in order to place our youngest son in a private school that specializes in providing an “ideal” learning environment for kids who struggle in the “one size fits all” motto of the public school system. Our son has been diagnosed with ADHD and is currently undergoing a second psychological assessment as he has many characteristics associated with ASD/Aspergers. We have wrestled with the idea of making this change for him for over a year, and finally decided to register him in the new school this fall. We still wonder if we are doing the right thing. Your post addressed many of the issues that we have thought about, and I am encouraged by your thoughts and perspective- makes me think we might be on the right track! Thank you once again for sharing your insight. 😊👍🏻❤️

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oh wow! Oh I’m so happy for you all 👏🏼👏🏼🤗🤗. Your son is so very lucky to have such awesome parents! So happy that everyone is on the same page and that he’s going to get the education that’s best for him. Bravo to you!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼😊❤️💜💙


  11. Ben will be in 4th grade after summer. He has been in a moderate/severe autism only class since preschool. It’s what he needs. Not all public schools are the same though. Ben is at his 4th (including preschool) school. Same district. He goes to a Fine Arts & Music Education (FAME) Magnet school. It’s a regular public school for NT kids that focuses on arts & music. There are 2 autism classrooms at this school. The autistic kids do art, music, PE(some) with the NT kids. They each get to learn about the other neurotype on an even playing field. It took until the middle of 3rd grade to find the perfect fit but we did. Yay!
    I’m not sure how it would work for someone with lower support needs but I know that the magnet schools all have wait lists, because they’re better.
    We need to stop teaching kids to take tests and start teaching them how to learn.
    Great Post! 🎊💐👏💫🎉✨💖👏😘🌻🌴😎

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That sounds like a very cool arrangement that you have now! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. I imagine it was a little frustrating when trying to find the right match, but I’m so glad you did! His school sounds amazing, and I’m so happy for y’all that he’s getting what he needs and enjoying it! 😘😘💟💜💞💙💚🤗😎🌺💓🙌🏼🍀💥✨🌟💫☄☮☀️🌴

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I was homeschooled, so I’m not sure how much i can say to this, but my Dad taught in the city, so I got to see a little of how schools are run in this country. Particularly in the lower income areas, I can see why kids on the spectrum would have trouble. The usual things like overcrowded nature of public schooling is a big issue, but it’s smaller and more important things like autism awareness on the teacher’s part, and the desire to be more proactive on the part of the school board, that is lacking ad driving the struggles of autistic kids in schools.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I’m a sub teacher, and it kills me to see the extent standardized education is still being employed in schools. There’s no way I will ever teach under that onus. I’m broke, and that paycheck is still not enough to aid in the destruction of kids’ creative and curious spirits.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amen! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼. Wow, you’re awesome!! Thank you for what you do. Seriously. And I think I know how much it hurts. At one time, I started on the path to become a teacher. I wanted so badly to teach Economics and History to high school or early college/university students. I took myself out of the running, though, after talking with a few teachers who described how handcuffed they felt–by the parents, the regulations, the standardized testing, and the administration. Ugh, I really feel for you! You rock, though. Keep fighting the good fight 👍🏼👍🏼💓💓💓

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Laina, you are teaching and educating the UNIVERSE! Your
        classroom is open to everyone & just look what you have created!
        When you are not given a seat a the table, the best thing to do
        is to make your own table! (classroom, school, university) 💗💓💖

        As they say, build it & they will come. 😉
        The Silent Wave is much more than a blog.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Omg sweet!! That’s so very kind of you to say, and I can’t express how much I appreciate your support and encouragement 😘❤️❤️💓💓. You are so amazing, dear friend! 😁😁💗☮💘🐉🌺

          Liked by 1 person

  14. This is such a great thread. Really loving reading all the viewpoints and experiences. I love the idea of creating a school. I taught preschoolers and had a *certain* measure of freedom when it came to lesson plans but, of course, even at that tender age, there are expectations. 🙄 I was always the teacher letting my students go “free range” and getting scolded when they weren’t “perfect little ladies and gentlemen”. lol. But, my boss *did* appreciate my creativity in many instances, especially when she saw how bonded the kids and I were and all they were learning without even realizing it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Hi Laina, it sounds like you have war wounds but that you are now looking back and seeing how to make situations you’ve struggled in better for others. In this case, it’s with the education system. Thanks for sharing your suggestions and experiences. I’m a new follower! By the way, the quoted material includes the word “handicap” and I’m not a fan of that term.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so kindly for the follow! I’m enjoying your blog and have followed it as well! ❤️. I agree with your stance on the word “handicap” 😊. My legally blind husband doesn’t mind the term, but I think it’s rather dreary 💚💙

      Liked by 1 person

  16. School is the ultimate emotional environment. Adult life is the playground in adult clothes. I despised school for these reasons. I can see how someone with Autism would struggle because of the cliche and judgement of those peers who are too self-obsessed to see the value of diversity. I had Dyscalculia and ADHD and anxiety but nothing as challenging as Autism and I found it hard, so I for one applaud anyone who can survive school intact. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Adult life is the playground in adult clothes” – 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

      Thank you so much, my dear friend!! I wonder if you might be an Aspie after all? I’m being incredibly suppositional here; please forgive me if I’m overstepping my bounds 😘😘. I just see SOOO much in common already between us 😁💓💓💓💓

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I could be – I don’t know – I’ve never really been told that or felt that but you never know! If I were that would be okay with me because I know some aspie (good word) people whom I respect and like very much. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sweet!! Yeah I never knew until just over a year ago; I was 38.5 at the time! Had no idea before that. Found out by happenstance, if there is a such thing! Lol. I talk about how I discovered my spectrum spot in s a few early posts, from April and May of last year, in the archives 😁😁. I know of about 5 other people who had the exact same experience last year alone, and a few more from this year, too! The self-discovery is happening all over 😘😘. That’s so cool that you already know a few Aspies! How neat 🌷💘🌷💙

          Liked by 2 people

  17. This makes a lot of sense. I see more families home schooling than before. I think it’s a good option. School was so hard for me. We moved a lot and I never quite fit in. I think big schools and class sizes can be a detriment to learning and development. I vote smaller is better.☺💓

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Truth! Especially when it comes to class size, student-teacher ratio, and all that 😊. I think it depends a lot, though, on the schools being compared. The one I had so much trouble in was ironically the smaller system, but that’s because they didn’t have the funding nor the sophistication to build a good system. It just wasn’t high on the priority list. Interestingly enough, it was the bigger school system that saved my academic ass 😉. But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t have its own problems, of course 💞💞. My sister graduated from a small private school, though, one that valued a good education, and her experience was even better than mine at the bigger school (!). In hindsight, I would’ve liked to go to a private school, maybe even the same one she did. But then, of course, you and I wouldn’t have met, so I’m glad it worked out the way it did 😉. I guess everything really does happen for a reason and all that 🌺💖🌺

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Education is a big burr of mine. I was a problematic, undiagnosed dyslexic aspie – the warning signs were there by no one was bothering to look. I scrapped through, hating every moment. I still think what if they had of known, would it have been easier? Its taken 40 years to admit I’m a terrible student. I’ve spent so much time and money before realising this. I hate to admit that, I dont want to be that. But its true, my brain doesn’t want to know as soon as the subject becomes a ‘must’. Formal and conventional education methods do not work for me, and I’ve yet to find what does. I pick things up as I go along, I read what catches my interest but I have the attention span of a gnat, and lose interest just as quick and cant get it back. I dont know what would have helped me at school, but I wish someone had tried. Maybe I’d feel less of a failure. It wouldnt have helped the numerous other issues I had at school, the bullying etc. but it might have improved my confidence in learning and trying, something I struggle with too much even now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Burr” – I like the way you put that!
      I often wonder similar things – would my experience have been the same, better, or worse, had we known the truth back then? Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure. I would like to think it would have been better, but given what was “known” about Asperger’s/autism back then, it might have actually been worse. I cling to the idea that everything happens for a reason, even if only to bring peace to my inner being and avoid all kinds of grief and regret. But I’m not even sure if *that’s* the right answer either 😊

      Ugh, yes, conventional education methods leave a lot to be desired, especially for those of us who don’t quite fit their mould. The system is very poor at recognizing and adapting to those of us who would benefit greatly from something different and delivering that something different. These days, I see myself in your words – I pick things up as I go–when I’m ready, and in the manner in which I’m able to absorb the information the easiest.

      Ugh, the bullying!! Yes, I totally feel you. Got bullied so hard in school. We can safely say that I hated my school career, mostly the early and middle years, which is really sad because 1) I’ve always loved learning, and 2) those years were very formative; it took me a hell of a long time to work past them. Self-confidence is definitely an issue for me, too! Such a struggle indeed 💝💝

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