Luke Tiller is a 15-year-old who attends Baycroft School, located in Stubbington, Farehamm. This school caters to children with learning difficulties including students like Luke, who have autism.
“It makes the blood drain from my body.”
Anne Tiller, 51, Luke’s mom explains, “he is not Luke at school, he is so nervous. With autism it is all sensory and he can’t cope with the bell.”
Luke has been reacting negatively toward the school’s bell system that indicates changing of periods, times for break, and lunch time.
“He will run to the other side of the school field to get away from the sound,” Tiller says. “He doesn’t want to go to school any more because of the bell. I have to drag him in. It is awful!”
Tiller believes that Luke’s education would improve if he could relax. She has requested that the school replaces the electric bell with a hand-held bell or a buzzer.
“I have been told by the school that Luke could achieve a lot more and I have said to them ‘get rid of the bell then’,” Tiller says.
Luke has expressed his terror to the school with a visual presentation explaining exactly how the bell makes him feel.
“It makes me jump. It makes the blood drain from my body. It makes me feel nervous. I want them to take it out. Having autism makes me sensitive to all these noises it hurts my ears,” Luke explains.
Chris Toner, head teacher at Baycroft School has responded to these complaints by allowing Luke to wear ear defenders whenever the bells are scheduled to ring. He is aware that the bells are distressing to Luke and plans on doing all he can to alleviate the discomfort for him.
“The bells cannot be turned off as they are part of the school fire alarm system,” Toner explains. “The school is currently looking at upgrading the system to a ‘beep sound’ in 2010 as and when resources permit.”
Luke’s response to this type of sensory is common in people with autism. If Baycroft School plans on continuing to have a successful program for students with autism, this minor detail needs to be altered, not only for Luke, but for the entire student population with autism.