28 02, 2015

Directives From the Spectrum: If You Expect It, Teach It.

Johnny needs to learn to self- regulate. Billy needs to control his emotional outbursts. Goals such as these produce  burning questions in my mind: How exactly will this happen? Why has it not already? Don’t get me wrong. I am all for developing goals around the development of self -regulation and emotional control for our students with autism. But, too often, I find myself wondering why we leave this up to the child? As educators, we know that a child learns by doing: a skill needs to be taught and practiced regularly. Then, and only then, can we expect the skill to be used. So what are we doing to support the learning of self -regulation? Are we teaching progressive relaxation and breathing techniques? Are we making use of resources available in order to create calm, alert and positive learning environments? Are we carving out time in the craziness of the school

13 02, 2015

Directives From The Spectrum: Dear Teacher and Substitute Teacher

Dear Teacher and Substitute Teacher, The substitute teacher sent me to the principal’s office because I kicked a classmate and threw a chair. I wouldn’t walk so she carried me. I was crying and yelling. I bet she was thinking that I am a brat. She was even angrier when the principal “released” me after I calmed down. I knew she didn’t want me back in class. I want you both to know that when my teacher is away I feel so lost. As soon as I knew she was not here I could feel my heart racing and my stomach started to ache. I know I can tell you all the right ways that I should handle my feelings but to be honest, I didn’t even know that I was getting more and more upset. My autism makes my brain signal DANGER even when there really isn't any. Then