Many years ago I had a student who would certainly have been identified for special education services now but was in reality a survivor in the regular classroom back then. He had some unusual characteristics. perhaps the most exceptional of which was that he loved to touch things and he touched them in a manner that was very unusual… he, for want of a better word, fondled objects, rhythmically, silently, softly and smoothly moving his hands over objects in a continuous and obsessive manner.
His favorite object in my room was the old-fashioned steam radiator which was close to his desk… everything was okay with me until he got to the pressure release valve and at that time I would most often have to look away.
He also provided me with one of the most memorable of quotes. Taking the time to remove his hand from the radiator and raise it he responded to a question about how we are sure that Christopher Columbus actually got to the Americas with the unusual, “He recorded everything in his diarrhea all the way across the ocean and back.” Neither radiators or Columbus have ever been the same for me since.