By Kodey Toney
For The Good Times, Pt. 2
Last week I shared a letter that Konner's former aide wrote to his teachers at the end of last school year. There was so much to share that I had to break it into two parts. So here comes the second installment of "For The Good Times".
Mindy wrote, "During a test, if he needs to leave the room so he can concentrate, let him. Also, try not to give him timed tests, which is in his IEP. He tends to hurry and not try." I think this has as much to do with the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as it does the autism. He looses interest, doesn't try very hard and just wants to be done on most tests. He knows the material, but chooses not to show off...at least that's my theory.
"During an assignment with lots of writing we have figured out that using (a word processing device) is a better way to get assignments complete. He loves to type. I know he will need to write at times, but you may have to accept what he has finished! (In his IEP)" Modifications need to be considered and made. You have to ask yourself what is more important, the child being able to write, or him knowing the assignment and finishing it?
"He will make noise and jump around in his seat. This is just his way to work out his anxiety. You will get used to it, but during these times use redirection, not discipline. You may see it as a disruption, but his class(mates) are ok with it! The children understand and will even try to help in some situations." One of the coolest things, excuse me if I'm a little giddy about this one, is that his fellow students, especially those who have been with him since head start, have accepted him for who he is. That means the stims, outbursts, meltdowns, and anything else he's thrown at them; literally and figuratively. The only issues we've really had over the years have been from the new students who don't really know him yet, and adults who seem to think he is not conforming to their ways. I understand both of these, but the things he does goes back to the old saying, all behavior is communication. If he hits, kicks, acts out, screams, etc. it's for a reason. If you think a child hit you for "no reason" you need to look further into the situation. It could be from something that happened a few minutes ago, or that has been building up for a while. There are usually signs that come ahead of time to warn you that these actions are coming.
Again, I think these are great suggestions, and they won't necessarily work for all. However, they are a great start. They will work well for all children too, not just those on the spectrum.