A teacher went to great lengths to show a child with autism how he is still appreciated after his poor standardized test. She left an uplifting letter listing all his unique talents and abilities that make him the special person he is.
A few years ago in 2016, Brit mom Gail Twist was moved to tears when her 11-year-old son with autism, Ben, received a letter of encouragement from his teacher, Ruth Clarkson. Twist was so impressed that she uploaded a photo of this heartwarming letter on Twitter.
“A letter to my 11-year-old autistic son from his school: ‘These tests only measure a little bit of you,’” Twist, a mother of three from St. Helens, United Kingdom, tweeted.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) July 11, 2016
Ben, who was diagnosed with autism when he was 5, was given the letter along with his failed standardized test (SATs) results. He was then a sixth-grader at Lansbury Bridge School & Sports College—a school for special-needs students in St. Helens.
“Ben worked so hard and sitting the tests was a massive achievement. We knew the results were coming but to get a letter like that—I got part-way through it and I burst into tears,” Twist told Liverpool Echo.
In tears. A letter to my 11 yr old autistic son from his school. “These tests only measure a little bit of you” pic.twitter.com/e9OPECidxX
— Gail Twist🐝 (@gailtwist) July 9, 2016
In the letter, Clarkson congratulated Ben for completing the key stage SATs and stressed the tests “only measure a little bit of you and your abilities.”
“They are important and you have done so well but Ben Twist is made up of many other skills and talents that we at Lansbury Bridge see and measure in other ways,” Clarkson wrote.
She went on to list Ben’s 10 other skills and talents that school exams could not measure, including his artistic talents, kindness, and sport and musical ability, among others.
Clarkson reminded Ben that these special talents and abilities are what “make you the special person you are.” She continued: “And these are all of the things we measure to reassure us that you are always making progress and continuing to develop as a lovely bright young man.”
“Well done Ben, we are very proud of you,” the teacher wrote.
Teacher writes moving letter to autistic pupil who failed exams https://t.co/mxTzkVbCH9
— Telegraph Breaking News (@TelegraphNews) July 11, 2016
Twist didn’t expect to receive such a beautiful letter from the teacher at all. Speaking to ABC News, the mom said: “For someone to take the time to think about it and write that, it shocked me. It just broke me. It’s great when there’s something positive to share about such a wonderful teacher.”
Ben switched from a mainstream school to Lansbury Bridge in 2015 as it “is a lovely environment where people really do have each individual’s best interests at heart.”
“Ben is sensitive and he does worry about things, and I wish more schools did things like this,” Twist added.
“I think more schools should recognize the arts and music alongside maths and English,” she told Daily Mirror. “There’s definitely more to a child than just answering exam questions and these qualities should be recognized more.”
As for Ben, he thinks the letter is “awesome.”
“Wow, do they really think all those things about me?” Ben said.
Clarkson is an absolutely caring and supportive teacher! Truly, every child deserves this kind of uplifting letter to remind them about their unique qualities, as Twist said: “It’s just a beautiful thing to do.”