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Word of the Week: Biography

“No two people with autism are the same: its precise form or expression is different in every case. Moreover, there may be a most intricate (and potentially creative) interaction between the autistic traits and the other qualities of the individual. So, while a single glance may suffice for clinical diagnosis, if we hope to understand the autistic individual, nothing less than a total biography will do.”

–Oliver Sacks, as quoted by Steve Silberman in NeuroTribes

“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” This concept is not new, but it is true. I see it every day as 22 individuals with unique presentations of ASD pass through our halls. And I am intrigued by Sacks’ expression, “total biography,” because it highlights the comprehensive nature of the work we do at TGS.

The environment at TGS works because we know the students in our care. We take intentional time each school year to revisit and build on what we know – and to help students know themselves. Our Individual Educational Quest and school program is built on this foundation. More specifically, we know…

  • Who lives for Sour Patch candy, and who is energized by peanut M&M’s…
  • Who plays Minecraft, who prefers Magic, and who couldn’t care less about video games…
  • Who is musical, athletic, sarcastic, technological, a fashionista, a trivia whiz, a history buff, a scientific know-it-all…
  • Who will talk to anyone who sets foot in our school, and who needs ample time to warm up…
  • Who thinks Aspies should rule the world, and who wishes to remain autistically anonymous…

And everyone in between. We know and love them all – in total biography!

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