I've been posting regular updates from the 2014 IMFAR autism science conference. At 7:15 this morning I'll be discussing transition to adulthood, and how we might reshape our education system to improve our rate of success.
As the co-founder of a unique vocational program for teens with differences, and as Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at William and Mary these are questions I think about a lot. One of the realizations I've come to is that we inherited a concept of learning where the young learn their trades at the side of those who are older and wiser in a system that we eventually came to call Vocational Education. This system served humanity for as long as we've been around, and it was the way we taught every single trade from doctoring to sheepherding; from preaching to policing. Then we threw it away and embraced the (false) idea that anyone could be anything, by learning from books and going to college.
But it's not college that's the problem. It's the way we teach it.
Here's a TEDx talk that lays out my views in 18 minutes. Take a look, and let me know what you think. If you prefer to read the talk in stead, I've posted a transcript here.
Let's get a discussion going . . .
John Elder Robison is an autistic adult and advocate for people with neurological differences. He's the author of Look Me in the Eye, Be Different, Raising Cubby, and the forthcoming Switched On. He serves on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the US Dept of Health and Human Services. He's co-founder of the TCS Auto Program school and Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William & Mary. The opinions expressed here are his own.