Do you remember the rock opera Tommy, by The Who? Tommy was a boy no one could figure out. Deaf. Dumb. Blind. But a pinball wizard. His Mom tried to help him. There was a really bizarre movie made from the album. Here in the autism community, our goal has been to DECREASE the numbers of children who struggle with autism. But now we have to wonder, are we creating it ON PURPOSE. Take a look at the parallels between autism and what's happening to schoolchildren who've been wearing masks, some for their entire school career, at an age when they are still developing. If there's a Tommy remake, maybe Anthony Fauci can play Uncle Ernie.....
From The Atlantic: How Schools Can Help Kids Make Friends Through Masks
After the third day of kindergarten, my son Huxley reported that another kid had kicked him on the playground. It wasn’t a big deal; this kind of thing happens. But on the fourth day, he had a new frustration: He couldn’t figure out who had kicked him. The kid had been wearing a purple mask at the time of the incident, but the next day, no one in Huxley’s class was wearing a purple mask.
With all the things to worry about in 2021, it hadn’t occurred to me to fret about the social impact that masks might have on my son; I’d been so relieved that his public elementary school, in San Francisco, would require them. But here we were. Huxley couldn’t tell his new classmates apart; he had trouble hearing them; he wasn’t sure whether they could hear him; and he became especially disoriented around lunchtime, he said, because that was when all the kids took their masks off. Suddenly they looked like entirely new people. Normally he’s pretty good at making friends, but the confusion was giving him anxiety.
“Even for adults, it is difficult to recognize faces in masks,” says Changhong Liu, a psychologist at Bournemouth University, in the U.K., who studies face recognition. People process faces holistically, he told me, taking in all the features in combination—which is impossible when some of those features are obstructed by a mask, or even sunglasses. And until about age 14, children are still developing their facial-recognition skills.
Some psychologists and educators worry that such impairment in facial processing can lead to a spate of challenges with socialization and communication. Kids may find reading people’s emotions through masks particularly difficult. And for children who are meeting new classmates for the first time while masked, recognition difficulties can slow down the getting-to-know-you process and, in the long run, hinder the development of trust. England opted not to require children to wear masks in elementary school, at least for the time being; according to The New York Times, both the Conservative and Labour Parties are concerned that masks make communication harder for kids. The World Health Organization also recommended that schools weigh potential “psychosocial development” concerns when deciding mask requirements for children ages 6 through 12.... Read the rest at The Atlantic.