It's the end of an era for me. M, my lovely year 11 student who is on the autistic spectrum, came in to finish his ICT course work. We have worked on it together since he was in year 9, and at times it has been a real struggle. Once he refused to talk to me for a whole week, because I had shown appreciation of another students music. Why were they playing music in an ICT class? Because sometimes it's the only way the teacher can get any work out of them. They put on their headphones and behave themselves! M has a hatred of all the other students in his year. He has thought for quite a while that they were out to get him. And perhaps they were, in a way. The noise level the created was certainly a big reason I found it hard to get work out of M. He himself, had to put on headphones very often, just to drown out the racket they made, and to find some peace, his ASD making him very sensitive to noise. Sometimes his own music was too loud. 'Turn it down,' I would mouth to him. His response was often to growl like a bear and turn it down…a bit.
So today we sat and finished off a little bit of writing. Three weeks ago the teacher told me that M was heading for a D, which is a fail. But today, although M growled at me (to show me that he didn't want to work), he completed the tasks and came with me downstairs to show the teacher, who on the spot told us M had achieved a C. Enough to pass.
At the end of the day I found him waiting for me to shake my hand - a line drawn under that particular episode of his life, and an acknowledgement that our mutual respect had allowed us to bob along together to get the work done.