As the school year gets underway, one focus is providing students with opportunities to learn from others in the community. Students in Kelli Krieger’s Honors English 9 class got that opportunity when a U-E family talked to them about their personal experience with autism.
Marty, Alicia, and Kayla Wyckoff discussed with students their family dynamic and what it's like to raise and live with autistic children. Marty is a UEHS guidance counselor. Alicia is a UEHS guidance department secretary, and Kayla is a 2021 UEHS graduate. The discussion came about after the students read “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” by Mark Haddon, over the summer. The main character in the book is a 15-year-old boy who is autistic.
Marty and Alicia talked about the day-to-day challenges, navigating the behaviors, and embracing the joys and rewards. Kayla shared her experiences of being an older sister to younger autistic siblings. Students asked questions about caring for autistic children, the different ways it presents in children, how a child is diagnosed, is there a cure, and what worries they have as the children grow up.
Alicia said, “The students were very sweet, asking interesting questions, and were engaged in the dialogue. It was a very nice experience for our family.”