About Me

A couple of years ago, I found my autistic child locked in a small cold cement cell at his school. The cell had no windows, no furniture, and was slate gray with low lighting. The cell was also sound proofed so parents and teachers outside wouldn’t hear him crying. I am writing this blog as a campaign to change the way these children are perceived and treated in our society.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#4 101 Ways a Teacher Could Help a Child with Autism

Please find below the forth method a teacher of an autistic child could use to help prepare a child for their first day of school.

Category: Before the Child’s first day in the classroom

Suggestion #4:  Review your classroom rules with the parent, then modify them to suit the child.
Call the parent and review the rules that you sent to the parents for Suggestion #1.  Ask the parents, on a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult they believe that any of the rules will be for the child and take notes on what they say.  After the discussion with the parents is over, determine if there is any way that the rules that are particularly difficult for the child could be modified.  Example, if one of your rules is “no blankets” and the parents tell you that the child has an emotional breakdown whenever the blanket is taken from him, consider how important that rule really is and if it is within your power to change it.  If the child is extremely attached to this blanket, you may spend several weeks with tears and crying every time the child comes into the classroom.  It may be that the school psychologist has made the determination that it is unhealthy for children at this particular age to be attached to blankets.  Ask them to weigh their belief against the very real anxiety that taking the blanket from the child will cause.  Furthermore, the child will associate this anxiety with the school.  This will cause added frustration and fear for the child whenever they walk into the classroom.
Remember, autistic children’s brains are wired differently than an atypical person’s brain, and they react differently than an atypical child.  I find these differences will cause those in charge of autistic children to constantly have to rethink our preconceived notions on how to best raise and teach children.  But one thing that I have noticed that is the same for atypical and autistic children is that they DO realize what they need to do to have their needs met, and if that includes throwing temper tantrums, then they will throw temper tantrums. 
If you don’t alter the rules that will cause incredible amounts of stress to the child up front, you may end up having to alter the rule later because the child becomes completely dysfunctional.  And now you may have taught the child that having breakdowns will get them what they want. 
NOW, before the child even knows that it is a rule, NOW is your chance to prevent that from happening!  Will the world end if you let the child bring in their blanket?  Because they will feel that their world is ending if they cannot, and they will react as if it is.  All of this could be prevented if you are a little flexible up front.  Finally, it will make it easier for you to “stick to your guns” and enforce the other rules, especially rules like “no hitting” that you cannot compromise on.  As far as the autistic mind is concerned, if she threw a fit and got her blanket, maybe she can throw a fit and hit that boy who is making noises she doesn’t like, after all – you already modified that blanket rule for her …
So, now that you understand how important it was to modify a couple of the rules, send the new list of rules to the parents and ask them to review them with the child.

No comments:

Post a Comment