My second year of teaching was a disaster. I was pregnant, but more importantly, I had a combination room of fourth and fifth graders. Among the 30 children in my class was a boy whose parents had just been arrested for murder, four students whose parents were being divorced, and one boy who would not speak to anyone or look them in the eye. He is the child I remember the most from that year, because I could do little for him. He could do more complex math problems than anyone in the class, but he could not tie his shoes. Everything, including all his knowledge, was shut up inside him. At first, he wouldn’t let me hug him, but eventually he became my friend. Today we would say that he was on the Autism spectrum. Then, he was just a strange and different little boy.
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