middle school teacher looking for help!

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busyteachermom
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13 Dec 2009, 12:24 pm

Hi all- I am creating a brochure for neurotypical middle schoolers, educating them about ASD in general and what to expect in their integrated school.
More importantly I want to include a Q/A section where I include the thoughts of ASD individuals about what is important to them in terms of being part of a "regular" middle school setting. Some examples of questions I would like to answer could be: How do integrated ASD kids want to be treated? How does being on the spectrum affect your life? How can I help you? What do you want from me? What is important to you? What do we have in common?



Aimless
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13 Dec 2009, 1:08 pm

great idea and the best of luck to you-I will think for a while on your request. :)


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busyteachermom
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13 Dec 2009, 1:15 pm

Thank you!! ! I will be working at my computer most of the day.



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13 Dec 2009, 1:23 pm

If you go to the google search at the top of the page-you can google something like things you wished NT's understood- there's been a few threads to that effect. Or maybe I can do that.

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt112787.html

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postp2396799 ... light=#top


hope this is ok


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busyteachermom
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13 Dec 2009, 1:28 pm

Thank you. I am rushing to look at the links right now.



busyteachermom
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13 Dec 2009, 2:45 pm

Aimless- those are both terrific links and I have sent messages hoping to be granted permission to use excerpts. My children are 13, 10, 8, and 3 and we have a nephew with autism and a dear 3yo neighbor who is still undiagnosed but has some kind of issue. I find myself thinking about this often. I am grateful my children have the experiences they do in relating to people who are different, but feel all of us can use more lessons in how to include everyone in the building- esp. at school, esp. during adolescence when we all feel left out etc. thanks again for responding,



Laney2005
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13 Dec 2009, 3:05 pm

I used to work at a middle school as a teacher's aide and one of the students I worked with sometimes has AS. It seemed like no one in the school, teachers included, liked him at all-- except for me. Kids (even the "good kids") teased him mercilessly and I finally grabbed them aside and lectured them. I told them what I was like in middle school (very similar to this student) and I asked them if they would ever tease me. They said no and I told them that every time I heard them tease this kid, it felt like they were teasing me and that we would both appreciate it if they would stop.

But to your question-- I know I always wanted to be included somehow in groups. I didn't like working with a group, but I liked it when kids would ask me questions about things I knew about. Not when they were trying to cheat off of me, but when they wanted to know. It was a good way of "being friendly" and I actually found some people with similar interests that way.

That technique also seemed to work with my student. He is exceptionally bright and "classic" AS, but he likes to talk about what interests him (imagine that). When kids would ask, he seemed to be happy.

And you want to treated as much like everyone as possible, especially by teachers. My teachers either stuck me in the back row with a book (to shut me up) or front and center where they would keep staring at me all the time. I still don't know the reason for all the staring. Was it to get me to make eye contact? To follow the rules of classroom discourse? I just know it bothered me.

Beyond that, the other links on here would be good to look at. Thank you for educating kids about ASDs. It wouldn't hurt if you could educate the teachers a little, too!


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ottorocketforever
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13 Dec 2009, 4:57 pm

I have a suggestion. Why not start up a group of students that have autism and NTs, and discuss how students with autism are different and how to help them out in a proactive way? That's a good lesson to learn in middle school. :)



busyteachermom
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13 Dec 2009, 5:32 pm

thanks to both of you. I love your ideas for stopping bullying. I like the personal way you share your experience from your own childhood with kids who are bullying. Maybe I am naive but I like to believe that most bullies don't actually want to hurt anyone- they just think they are being funny. Your approach as an adult relating back to your own experiences is a nice touch. I like it and will try it out.

Re: your student who was not liked, even by teachers... I can relate to that. I recently had a student in a class I taught once a week (so not enough time together to really build a relationship, unfortunately) who was definitely on the spectrum but undiagnosed and high functioning. He was extremely difficult in class because he would wander the room, disobey classroom rules, and do pesky things to get attention. (for example... I passed around my wedding ring as a demonstration of something and asked the kids to treat it with care, he purposefully dropped it on the floor and then looked for a reaction) He had wonderful ideas but would try to take over the discussion w/o respecting others. In the end he isolated himself and despite my best intentions I found him difficult and unappealing. I found it to be extremely difficult to reconcile in my heart. On the one hand I wanted to help him fit in and participate, but on the other hand he was so busy pushing me away I didn't know where to start. A difficult situation. That said, he was NOT bullied on my watch and I hope he never felt disliked by me.

Is it inappropriate to tell a kid like him what he is doing that is so annoying? or is that unfair given his personality? I never did, I just tried to get along given the brief time we spent together. Could I have made a difference?



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14 Dec 2009, 2:12 am

busyteachermom wrote:
Is it inappropriate to tell a kid like him what he is doing that is so annoying? or is that unfair given his personality? I never did, I just tried to get along given the brief time we spent together. Could I have made a difference?


I probably would have benefitted from being taken aside and had things explained in a concrete way. Being punished/criticized in front of the class is one of the things that fueled my school phobia.

Often, there are things that other people can control, or that look deliberate, that I did somewhat compulsively even though I knew it would garner negative responses. The more often I did them and was chastised for it, the more deliberate it seemed. I've had teachers tell me I'm lying when I say I couldn't help it. Same when classmates said I did something on purpose when I hadn't --- one time I accidentally hit a girl with my braid and, no joke, was punished like I'd done it deliberately and forced to sit out on some kind of activity. After awhile, teachers no longer can tell when things were accidental or on purpose, and I could get in trouble for both, and even for things I never did but seemed plausible enough to the teacher.

So, of course, I'd be publically in trouble frequently. I was/am incredibly sensitive to that kind of embarassment. I started doing everything I could to avoid school as early as first grade, an always had a terrible absenteeism issue.

I was undiagnosed growing up --- dx'd with hearing loss and comorbids that were presumed to be a primary issue. I had students and some teachers bully me. All I wanted, really, was to be left alone. Don't do anything special. Don't act nicer than you'd be compelled to if I were NT. Let me be a little weird and spacey, appreciate that sometimes I stare off even though I'm paying attention, let me fixate on a topic in my writing/art...


Student bullies are terrible. But insensitive/ignorant teachers can make it even more unbearable, and is a massive letdown, as I perceived them to be 'unsafe' - and, by extension, felt the same way about their classrooms.
The teachers need the brochures as much as, or more than, the students.


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