Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just a few ideas...

Pam said...
What kind of an assignment is write a paper with a subject that starts with the letter "H"??

Exactly, Pam, exactly my point!! And the upshot is that my boy was feeling like he was the cause of my irritation. I walk a fine line, because I do not want to discount his teacher, but how do I make sure he doesn't feel like a failure? Sam's teachers are all really great teachers. I really like them all, and they really like Sam. That being said I think that any teacher that learns to teach to Asperger's students, will be a better teacher to all of their students, neurotypical and non-neurotypical alike. Three pretty easy rules:

First, treat them with respect. As much as I've seen written that Aspie's don't get sarcasm, I have to disagree. In my personal experience (and this is not just limited to my children) I have found that even if the child cannot name the tone of voice, they understand if they are being talk down to. Try speaking to the child as if they are a business associate, a co-professional if you will, a partner in their education even, the results will be amazing.

Second, people with Asperger's have a large sense of self, they understand their own autonomy long before most of us. For example, when Sam was being tested for Asperger's, his speech teacher asked him if he had a girlfriend. (He had just turned 8 years old) His response?

"That's a personal question, and I don't have to answer that!"

Okay, what 8 year old says that? What 18 year old says that? So again, understand that the normal, "Because, I'm the teacher and I say so" attitude will not fly. Unfortunately this doesn't work at home much either.. but I can say it a little more often.. I'm the mom...

Lastly, be specific. Really, you cannot over explain yourself, about what you want from them, about assignments, about the needs of the other students. If you do over explain yourself, don't worry, they will tell you when to stop.

Remember the most important question you can ask a student is "Why?" They will tell you! Another case in point, today, my husband got a call from an aide in Sam's class... it went like this..

(aide) "John, Sam is refusing to go to math class, please talk to him"
"Hey Sam, what is wrong" (said John)
"Hey Dad, (not upset, by the way) I can't go to math, I can't find my spiral notebook for math"
"Do you know where it is?"
"No, I can't find it in class, maybe one of my other teachers has it"
"Well, you need to go to math, can you use some other kind of paper?"
"No, it would feel funny"
"Well, give me a solution Sam, how about a different spiral notebook, like a back up if you can't find the normal one?
"Yeah, that would work"
"Okay, get another one, and go to math."
"Okay, bye Dad."

So, the question "Why" is really, really important. He wasn't refusing to go to math because he just thought it'd be a great idea, he was missing the proper equipment (in his eyes).

The notebook was left at home, by the way.

So... here is a shout out to all of the teachers in the world today! You all work way too hard.

To Pam, who teaches special Ed, Rock on my sista.. really, thank you for getting it, and doing it, and repeating it... I have only run across one teacher in all of my kids education that really wanted nothing to do with my children, was really hostile about my kids. All of the other teachers have been interested, giving, and stretched way too thin to even think about learning how to handle special cases.


As Elizabeth Zimmerman once said, "Someone help me down off of my soapbox, please".

1 comment:

Pam said...

Yes, silly assignments bother me. Work for the sake of work. I loved the spiral notebook story, that says a lot doesn't it!