I walked into a fourth grade classroom to pull out a student. The classroom was in mild disarray. From the look and sound of things, very little work was getting done. One familiar student, Dana, sat holding ice up to her eye.
“Dana,” I asked, “what happened to your eye?” “It’s burning,” she replied.
Another unfamiliar face voiced itself. “Did you hear what happened to Chris? He’s bleeding from the back of the neck! The back of his head is bleeding!”
I watched him, amused. “It sounds like you’re falling apart,” I said.
David, one of my students with autism, had been sitting silently in front of me throughout this entire exchange. At this point, he springs to life, sits upright in his chair, and does a perfect robot-like impression of powering down before slumping back in his chair. I mean, he really looked like a robot, down to the finger contortions.
“What are you doing?” I asked David.
David’s answer: “I’m falling apart.”