Recently I've been reading a lot of blog posts and comments about messed up things that teachers and other people do to autistic kids. It sucks when people are mean to kids. It's really common and it really sucks. I think we should all work in our communities to reduce the amount of mean stuff done, and particularly when it's done to kids.
Where I differ with a quite a few posters is on how to achieve that goal. I keep hearing that the offenders should know better (I agree) and should be fired (I might agree). But I also hear that it is ridiculous to talk about these people needing support (I don't agree) and that they should not have to be educated in order to understand such basic things (I don't agree).
People are not all capable of doing everything perfectly all the time. That's just what humans are like. We suck at a lot of things. Even important things. We miscalculate social situations and fail to consider the impact of our actions. We say things that are different from what we wanted to say. We act inappropriately. Even as adults, we need to be reminded and taught how best to behave in challenging settings. There are things that we cannot do well without support.
Given that this is what we are working with, what kind of sense does it make to expect people to perform in the way we've decided they should without support, accommodation and patience? I'm not saying that we should not have high expectations of educators and others -- we should. I'm not saying that we should let abuse stand -- we should not. I'm saying that we should recognize the limited abilities that all humans have and work with those abilities and limitations so that everyone is functioning at their maximum potential, rather than fixing a standard and treating all those who fail to meet it as subhuman and unworthy of further engagement.
It's time we take what we have learned about human nature and apply it to all humans.