Wednesday 13 July 2016

#WonderfulWednesday: The letter praising a student with autism after tests

This week's wonderful Wednesday share is about a letter that a teacher sends to her student with autism that praises him for all the qualities not tested for in the SATS.  I came across it on Scope's facebook page via the The Guardian.  It was originally shared by the students mother, Gail Twist, but has been picked up by lots of outlets including The Mighty site

The letter, from Ms Clarkson to Ben lists a wonderful variety of 'skills and talents' that are valued by Ben teachers.  They include things like his artistic talents and musical ability along with his kindness and growing independence.  While I thought this was great and exactly the kind of thing that would bring tears to my eyes, a teacher friend of mine, simply said, "The same letter should go to all children."

I have two out of three children with autism as their primary 'special education need'. I see how they struggle to pick up things that are instinctive to our other child. I'm proud of them when they try their best, however they do.  I was close to tears when Anthony came last in his swimming gala not because I was sad, but I was overcome with pride at his efforts and accomplishments. I'm proud of them because of who they are, not just what they can do.   And the same goes for my neurotypical daughter too.

Not every child is academic, some are.  But that doesn't mean we shouldn't show them how important these 'non tested' parts of them are.  Perhaps the world would be a better place if we appaulded every child's 'other' qualities such as kindess, charity or courage, as much as we do exam results.  Unfortunately I don't think teachers will ever be given the chance to make this individual response.

Ultimately, my boys will be adults in a world with their current peers.  I'm hoping they will be surrounded by people who have plenty of these unmeasured qualities and not just good grades.  

And well done Ben, you sound like a wonderful young man.  All the best for you in the future.

Our links
Our blog - The hope I see in the kind acts of children
Our blog - Never prouder of last place

External links
The Might Site - Teacher writes moving letter to autistic student after he fails test
Scope - Facebook
The Guardian - Teachers letter praises boy with autism for qualities not tested in Sats


  1. This is lovely and I absolutely agree with your friend - far too much focus is put on tests for children, and more attention should be drawn to their other skills and talents. #brilliantblogposts

    1. And it's only becoming more academic I think. Thanks for stopping by and commenting

  2. I do agree with your friend on this. All children's achievemenrs should be celebrated, academic, creative, social, sporting no matter what and this teacher sounds wonderful. I saw this letter too and it certainly made me smile. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  3. That is definitely something that should be shared from teachers to their students. I hate that testing takes up so much time in schools and that is how their intelligence is graded, despite the research to the contrary. thanks for sharing this! #ablogginggoodtime

    1. It does take a lot of time! Thanks for commenting

  4. This is fabulous! Not all children are academic (don't I know it!) but they should be praised for their other fantastic attributes :)


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