Help a teacher out please!! :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2010
Help a teacher out please!! :-)
10
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 5:31pm

Hello - I have a son that is almost two and we have concerns about PDD-NOS. He's in intervention and we've been told he's too young to label him with anything and we just need to continue ST/OT and wait it out.

However, he is not the reason I am writing. Without giving out any information (of course) I just found out that I will be having a student in my elementary class that has Aspergers. I am little nervous as this will be my first time dealing with these sorts of accommodations in my classroom. This student did not have a behavior plan at the last school. His mom said that he will most likely break down in tears out of frustration and may need a time out spot to regroup. Unfortunately our school does not have a sensory room or any other special accommodations as this isn't something we've had to deal with. However, I think we need to start considering these things in public education and need more resources and support. (that could be a separate post) :)

Anyway, I want things to go as well as possible (obviously). I want to start the year off just like I normally would and see how it goes, but I also want to have a plan in case he has trouble. I am just wondering if anybody could share things that have been helpful for their children in class or what I can do as a teacher to make the biggest difference. Basically I am looking for any words of wisdom on the subject.

I do believe that things happen for a reason and I won't be able to help thinking that this could be my little fella down the road with the same struggles. I just want to do what's best, but yet I know I am limited in certain areas because I have 21 other kids that are counting on me too. :)

Thanks!!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-2006
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 6:55pm

Dear teacher,
I could just kiss you! LOL it's so nice to see a teacher reach out and look for help for our kids. It really means alot to us because school is not always easy for them.

I don't have a lot of time right now but the first thing that popped up in my head is Visuals. Our kiddo's learn much better with visual things than auditory. Anything you can do to give him more Visuals the better it will lower the childs anxiety and hopefully meltdowns.

Hmmmm btw I was meaning to post this site that another member here (jessie, yes you girl) sent me the other day. It's fantastic and it would help you out a lot (us parents too). Check it out.

http://www.autisminternetmodules.org/index.php

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2008
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 7:20pm

Hi and welcome to the board. You don't say what age group you teach, that would be helpful to know, because what's a useful idea for a 6 year old probably won't work as well for an 11 year old.


If he's not coming with an IEP or a set of recommended structures/supports that have worked in the past, the following are areas that might be a problem:


a) transitions - between activities, and between locations. He may need extra explanations, very structured, leading up to new activities and a careful eye to make sure he has started the activity. He may get lost moving around eg between classroom and lunchroom.


b) structured explanations for things, including visual prompts (things like a laminated list of tasks on his desk in front of him). He might need to watch an activity for a while to figure out what is going on before he can join in.


c) timeout space - doesn't need to be a room, can be a chair/corner/space - but he might need to know he can go there when he gets overwhelmed and be left alone to calm down


d) unstructured time - eg recess - can be a nightmare. A buddy/mentor system or some structured play can help


e) social isolation - he might struggle to make, and keep friends. He might find group work very challenging without very clear rules and expectations. He might find teasing, and team sports, very difficult.


f) meltdowns - when it all gets too much he may well kick off - it looks like a tantrum, but it's more a cry for help than attention seeking. Hopefully this will not happen very often if you can see the signs, but when it does, it may well be inexplicable to you. He'll need to calm down before he will be able to process anything you say to him, you probably won't be able to cajole him out of it.


g) Most Aspies thrive with structure, structure, structure, routine, routine, routine. If he is struggling with something try breaking it down into discrete, manageable steps, and try to explain how each step links to the other, and why each step is necessary.


Good luck. I parent an Aspie and teach them at college and they are a joy, and a challenge to teach!!


Kirsty, mum to Euan (11, Aspergers Syndrome) Rohan (7, NT) and Maeve (4, NT)

"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"


"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"


Follow my blog on http://mumsnet.com/blogs/kirsteinr/


 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2003
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 7:25pm

Hello and goodonya for reaching out to us for help.

I hope Renee chimes in here as she is a teacher, but here goes anyway.

Every kid is an individual, and what works for one child may not work for another, The mom ill be your best resource for information on this particular kid, but here are some ideas to get started with. Luckily, a lot of things that work very well for "our" kids, work well for regular kids too, so you can do a lot of this stuff with the whole class.

Schedule: Daily, weekly or whatever works for you, Having a schedule available and visible at all times will help the "our" kids to know what to expects. Aspies generally hate surprises.

If the normal schedule is going to change, let the kids know in advance "I know we usually go to the library on Monday, but today we are doing X instead" It might be a good idea to have the written (or visual) record reflect this change. Aspies are very concrete and the written word can mean more to them than the spoken one.

Transitions are generally hard on aspies, and they can have a difficult time transitioning from one task to another (another reason why the schedule is so important) Countdowns are a great way to ease transitions "Class, in five minutes we will put our books away"

My kids have always done pretty well during structured class time and badly during less structured time such as lunch, recess, and gym. If there are TAs or other folk available at this time, it might be a good idea to have them keep a watchful eye out.

Talk to the mom and find out any particular issues the child might have and to see if there are any visible warning signs that he is becoming overwhelmed. For example, my son hated to have his head touched and he would start pulling at his watch when he was about to blow.

You may be able to make a "quiet corner" in your classroom with shelves or furniture arrangement, (you just need space for a chair/beanbag and maybe some books) for any kid to retreat to for a few minutes if they are having a tough day

Depending on the kid(s), it may make sense to assign a buddy system for the class, for kids to remind and help each other when during transitions. Many Aspies (and other gradeschoolers) are notoriously disorganized (poor executive function) and will easily forget homework, books and other essentials.

I'm sure there is a lot more, but that's the most I can think of right now.

Good luck!

-Paula

visit my blog at www.onesickmother.com

-Paula

visit my blog at www.onesickmother.com
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-20-2010
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 7:48pm

Thank you so much for that link!!

Rachel, single mom to

Ingrid
Kale
Daniel
Reagan

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-2006
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 8:36pm
Oh yayyyy! Glad I could help! I thought it was a fantastic site too and started reading it. Lots and lots of good information!!! And it's not centered to just home help, or school help, it's all rounded out with home, school, the community and jobs!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2010
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 10:47pm

Thanks for the awesome input!! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous and scared because honestly I really am. :( I know that probably sounds horrible, but I am just being honest. BUT I do think things like this happen for a reason. I've been such a wreck about my own little guy...just wanting answers. Just wanting to know if he's on the spectrum, etc. Maybe having this little fella in my class will calm my fears about "what might be" for my little one.

I sure hope this post isn't offensive because that's not my intent at all. I just want to do what's best for all of my kiddos in my class. My district really needs to work on providing more support for the teachers in regards to special needs in a "regular" ed classroom because there are so many different needs in a typical classroom...learning styles, disabilities, etc.

I am thinking maybe a beanbag chair off to the side near a window might be a good quiet spot for him. His mom is bringing him in next week to meet me. He originally told her he wanted the teacher next door because he liked her room better. My room was completely torn apart and her room at least looked like a classroom at the time. ;)

I really will try my very hardest with him. Here's hoping for a fantastic year for us all. :) Thanks again!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 12:20am

Hello Tee,

As Paula mentioned I am a teacher as well as a mom of 2 teenage higher functioning ASD kiddos (16yo girl aspie and 14yo boy HFA). Actually I teach an 1-3rd autism class. My students range from moderate to severe.

However, one of my roles at school is also to help out the general education teachers when they have students with ASD or similar issues in their classroom.

I am reluctant to share more information than that on a public board at this time as you know there are confidentiality issues.

My email should be attached to my profile if you would like to email me with specific questions. If not there is usually a chat on thursday or saturday nights and I can give it to you then.

Renee

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2010
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 8:06am
Thanks Renee! I completely understand and worry about confidentiality too. I am hoping I didn't say anything to cross the line. :) I'll definitely be contacting you for help. :)
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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 8:31am

Tee- some other "quiet spot" ideas that my son