Normally, as a mother of a child with autism, you have to proceed with a type of emotional wall built up in order to protect your child from the harshness of the world. In addition to the wall parents have to build, the child has to go through difficulties themselves.
Many children who struggle with autism, also struggle with their grades at school. 11-year-old Ben Twist is one of them.
Ben’s mother, Gail, got a huge surprise when her son’s school sent home a letter after he failed his SAT tests.
Gail was expecting the letter to state that he needed to really reassess his work and try again, but instead, it said something much different.
Ben Twist was given a boost of confidence despite his test score results, all thanks to the kind educators at the Lansbury Bridge School and Sports College, a school designed specifically for students with special needs, in St. Helens, Merseyside.
Ben’s teacher, Mrs. Clarkson sent him home with this touching letter – letting him know just how much he’s capable of and exactly what skills he brings to the table!
“Dear Ben, I am writing you to congratulate you on your attitude and success in completing your end of key stage SATs. Gil, Lynn, Angela, Steph and Anne have worked so well with you this year and you have made some fabulous progress. I have written to you and your parents to tell you the results of the tests. A very important piece of information I want you to understand is that these tests only measure a little bit of you and your abilities. They are important and you have done so well, but Ben Twist is made up of many other skills and talents that we at Lansbury Bridge see and measure in other ways.”
This letter was causing Gail to tear up – she never expected anything like this.
Mrs. Clarkson went on to list each of the things that Ben was skilled at, things that a standardized test couldn’t possibly measure.
“Other talents you have that these tests do not measure include: -Your artistic talents, your ability to work in a team, your growing independence, your kindness, your ability to express your opinion, your abilities in sports, your ability to make and keep friends, your ability to discuss and evaluate your own progress, your design and building talents, and your musical ability. We are so pleased that all of these different talents and abilities make you the special person you are and these are all of the things we measure to reassure us that you are always making progress and continuing to develop as a lovely, bright young man. Well done Ben, we are very proud of you. Best Wishes, Mrs. Clarkson”
Even if Ben was tempted to get down about his failure, Mrs. Clarkson’s list of his skills makes that impossible. She sees the true talent and potential that her special student possesses.
We need more teachers like Mrs. Clarkson – those who uplift their pupils when they could’ve, just as easily, beaten their hopes down. Hopefully Ben takes her words to heart and realizes how much he can accomplish in life!