I am trying to put together a form of workbook that teachers are able to use within mainstream classrooms to help hetter understand children that are on the spectrum.
I find that too often children labelled as autistic are viewed only by their "disorder" and people forget this is a unique individual.
I understand there is a wide spectrum of needs, but I think a focus on positive interactions will help break down the barriers labels create.
Thanks for your time
I feel people often misjudge my intentions based on my behavior, often my intentions are good or neutral, but others perceive it as bad. I feel that it is really hurtful for someone to claim that I think in a certain way, because they are often wrong. No one can know what I am thinking instead of me. It would be much nicer to ask why I did something I did, instead of assuming I did something based on their guess of my intentions.
That makes a lot of sense to me. I work with a great little guy that has autism. I was told on handover from his former worker that he won't do anything unless you growl at him. I decided to start by just building a relationship with him and then began to understand why problems were happening.
Every child should have the equivalent of a customer care file which includes a full medical and behaviour history and experiences and advice of others who have dealt with them. And teachers should read the file before dealing with that child.
My experience of schools ( starting in 1967) was an absolute nightmare.
In infant school I was physically punished every day, sometimes two or three times a day. Mostly for not speaking, not paying attention, not doing what was asked.
Yet, the teachers should have known what some of my real problems were.
Basically I am saying try to find out what unique problems a child has. Don't just assume they are being naughty.
At the time I would have liked them to know that I wanted to be able to fit in and socialise and I tried really hard but unfortunately that wasn't something that came easily to me at all. And I needed more help with that like others need more help with maths and spelling. I so often was made to feel like issues with my peers were my fault when I was at school and was constantly told to make more of an effort.
I'd also like them to have known that feeling of dread and anxiety I got every time they told the class to put themselves in groups. Apart from finding group work incredibly difficult, I was always the kid that ended up without a group. That rejection stung every time.
I wanted them to understand that I wasn't a bad kid. I didn't mean it when I got angry, I needed help in learning to deal with that. Shouting at me didn't help. I needed time and space and a little understanding.
And as qwerty has mentioned above. A lot of what I did was not intended. I didn't mean to be rude, I didn't know I was being rude. I didn't mean to do the wrong thing, I just completely misunderstood the instructions.
Now, I would like my old school and teachers to know that I am autistic. That the "naughty" kid they had written off and said would never amount to anything just needed some different support.
I understand where you are coming from. The wee man I have worked with for a year (now aged 9), though his IEP said that social skills were a priority, they we're only places after his curriculum skills and his former worker didn't focus on them at all.
I flipped it around and began teaching him to play tag and hockey (two games he showed an interest in, though hockey was more running around sometimes hitting the ball, other times using the hockey stick to play pretend).
To begin with, we took a younger girl with us and another worker. This girl is very sweet, she has global dyspraxia and also selective mutism. There was no pressure on my wee guy to talk to her, they just played. At first parrallel play but then they started actually engaging with each other.
We then started with children in the classroom, at first the girls because they were less full on and let him dictate what he was comfortable with.
By the end of term 4 (last term at school in nz finished on December 13), he was coming inside arm in arm with a group of boys as well as engaging with girls.
When the kids saw past his "weird" and saw his really awesome sense of humour, they were more willing to accept him and teachers and other adults were too.
His classwork has also improved purely because I don't let people growl at him for things he can't help. He is stimming way less and only gets anxious and silly during tests.
That's why I want to put together a sort of manual of pages that can be photocopied or used as templates to get past the autism label and past the naughty label.
I want to make it as user friendly as possible, ie: accessible to kids that struggle with writing or are non verbal as well as kids that are capable of both. School should be accessible to all students.
That's just awful. I have read some papers on adults that have had awful school experiences and were later diagnosed as having autism.
I get really angry when I am told "he's just being naughty" it's more "what am I doing that isn't working" than "why isn't he doing as he is told"
I found forming a relationship first really helpful then tailoring his resources around his interest (currently dinosaurs).
I know the main purpose of a school is the work but I do think it is massively underestimated the impact that lack of social skills and communication difficulties has on this. I also hated school so much because I didn't fit in (but was well aware of this) it made it very hard to put much effort in. I had a huge feeling of nothing is ever good enough during my school days.
It's a great thing you are trying to achieve.
I think I will do a section on academic work too. Unfortunately that also isn't always well suited. Particularly reading comprehension strategies etc. The questions asked aren't well suited and put way too much pressure on the child.
I have been looking at social skills a lot (have done a fair bit of psychology study). Do you think emotion recognition, communication strategies etc would be helpful or just teaching a child to play and some of those things will come through play?
I definitely think communication strategies as well. Both strategies for the teacher to effectively communicate with the child and for the child to develop their own communication. Emotion recognition is much harder. I think you can work with a child on the basic emotions, and it's important to help them recognise what they're feeling. But recognising it in others is much harder. I can recognise your basic emotions but I get very confused about more complicated ones. And I find it baffling when the emotion and face don't match. For example when someone seems angry but they are smiling. The other thing that it would be important for teachers to know is an autistic persons emotional response might not be what is expected. I don't show emotion well unless its extreme so I can be really happy about something but people assume I'm disappointed because I don't look happy. People may also smile when the situation is serious.
Thank you. I find most kids that have asd struggle to express themselves, even what they need. I was so proud of my wee man when he told me he loved me. That must have taken a lot for him.
Emotion recognition is hard as it is also dependent on context. People can mask what they feel,but recognising what the "context" suggests may help recognise the emotion.
I could probably do some worksheets or card game templates to help with that.