So I didn't exactly do the best planning today... I scheduled this as my guest blogger day at Extra Special Teaching, then realized it's also Autism Awareness day. As a SPED teacher who works with kids who have autism every single day, I can't NOT post my own little tidbits! So you get a double post from me today!
For the last 4 years I have taught children with autism. They have changed my world! I see things in a new way and I have a greater respect for parents of children with autism. Each day is a new challenge, but with it come small leaps that make us jump for joy. The first time a student said "I feel MAD!" instead of just screaming last week made me cry happy tears! While I never want my kids upset, it showed me I taught him how to express his feelings for the very first time!
My favorite thing about autism is the special ways these kids can think, explore, and create! Autism has its hardships, but it also has its GIFTS! I have had kids who are positively brilliant! I have one little guy (who I'm sure you've read about on this blog) who I lovingly call Genius Boy. They way he can observe, create, and learn things amazes me every single day. He's only in kindergarten but understands the basics of negative numbers and multiplication, reads at a 3rd/4th grade level with strong comprehension, and has boundless energy. His brilliance has pushed me as a teacher to do better! Even after 7 years, this kid has challenged me to become better in ways of teaching I've never approached before.
I have another student who doesn't talk much, or when he does he struggles to find the right words. It saddens me to see how much people underestimate him. He has SOOOO much going on inside his head, he just doesn't always show it. This kid can tell me if even ONE thing is out of place in my classroom. He reminds me about things I've forgotten to place on the schedule and keeps me on track. He doesn't have a fit if the plan changes, but he always knows what the plan is and helps me stick to it when I get busy and lose track of time. He lets me, and only me, touch him. Touch is hard for some kids with autism, so I know this means he sees me as a special person. He doesn't even let most of his friends touch him.
Working with these kids and many others over the years has taught me a lot. I've learned so much about teaching social skills and different strategies to help my kids succeed. Below are some links for free resources I've created. If you are interested in more social skills resources, browse my products in the TPT store. Also, feel free to email me with questions about working with kids who have autism!! firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting Sensory Needs For Kids with Autism/Asperger's