18-year-old Nigel Borg recently addressed the Congress of United Nations in Switzerland about the importance of removing educational barriers for students on the autism spectrum.
Borg used personal experiences to delve into some of the issues autistic people face at school
One of the stories he shared spoke of how he often felt uncomfortable wearing a school uniform, but had to put up with it as it was (and in some places still is) mandatory. The possible solution he puts forward is to ask the students why they feel uncomfortable and work out a compromise together.
However, arguably the main issue he brings up concerns teachers and different teaching techniques.
He explained that sometimes “despite motives to teach and mentor”, the teacher would yell at students who could not manage to finish their homework or arrived to school late. And for those who aren’t as knowledgeable on how autistic people react to such situations, Borg went on to say that this “unprofessional, aggressive behaviour” tends to create fear rather than discipline.
Borg also mentioned that classes can be very distracting to people with autism, suggesting that schools should offer different spaces, such as quiet rooms or one-to-one sessions, that could help students with autism keep up with the progression of the other students.
Nigel Borg starts addressing the Congress of United Nations here at 13:35
Borg emphasises that these changes cannot be made in a day, an hour or even a minute, but “we have to makes these changes now“
And while he recognises the work that has already been done, he stresses that we must not waste “a true golden opportunity” to improve the educational situation for the next generations of autistic people.
He ends his speech with another hard-hitting message in which he hopes his words will “create a new dimension for autism all over the global world”.