Friday, December 30, 2005

What's Mine is Yours (Autism Story #1)

Once me, myself and I all decided to open the memory vault of our autism stories, we realized just how many there are…12 years and 137 kids have provided us with so many wonderful, disheartening, lovely, frightening, funny and endearing memories that we just didn’t know where to begin. (Okay, enough with the third person). I have been so touched, moved, changed and blessed by all my little friends that it is important to do them justice by conveying just how amazing they all are. I finally decided that my first autismblog would be about my little friend Adam (FYI, of course all my little friends names will be changed to protect their identities), who is truly a superstar and provided me with so much joy and laughter:

One thing I have learned working with children on the spectrum is that you can never take for granted what a child does or does not know (they always know more that you might think). Another thing that I have learned is that so much of our language is non-intuitive and dependent on theory of mind (“you” say “my nose”, but “I’m” supposed to call it “your nose” and “my nose” is actually right “here”, which “you” call “there”). See what I mean? Well maybe you don’t.

Anyways, my little friend Adam learned his pronouns like the superstar that he is (“I am wearing your hat”, “you are eating my apple”) and we were on to much bigger and better things teaching observational learning, theory of mind etc. I would ask him questions (such as “what is Michael’s favorite color?”, “What did Brandon eat for breakfast?”, etc.) and if he didn’t know he was taught to say “I don’t know” and ask me back, at which point I would either tell him the answer or send him to ask one of the other teachers or look it up in a book,etc. As tedious as this may sound, I kept it silly and we made it a lot of fun. I always tried to mix up the questions, but doing this everyday, I occasionally had creative blocks and asked non-meaningful questions (something I always try to avoid doing). So one day when I said “Hey Adam, where’s Miami?” I of course received the most logical of all responses from my bright little Adam who quite possibly had been overdrilled by me and his other teachers in the past, “I don’t know. Where’s your ami?”

8 Comments:

Blogger OnlineMom said...

LOL! Love it!

9:11 PM  
Blogger Octoberbabies said...

Oh I LOVE THAT!!!!!

10:39 AM  
Blogger QueenBitch said...

heehee...that's awesome. It's so true how amazing these kids are. Thanks for sharing.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Eileen said...

Cute, I love it!

4:24 PM  
Blogger SquareGirl said...

Online mom, thanks for the laughs...LOL was my reaction too.

Sal, thanks some of your posts have been my biggest inspiration

queenbitch, yes amazing. and thanks for reading.

eileen, thanks for visiting the sight. I love to remenicse on my little friends as it makes me realized how much they have touched me

6:46 PM  
Blogger MOM-NOS said...

I *love* this story!!! (And if you told me you had this conversation with my son, I would believe you.)

I am intrigued by a comment you left at Octoberbabies. You wrote: "I can't believe how much face, heart and soul of autism has changed over the years. Children I work with now are SO MUCH different than the children I worked with eight or nine years ago..." I'm dying to hear more about it. Blog on! (And welcome to the club!)

7:55 PM  
Blogger SquareGirl said...

mom-nos, another one of my inspirations. although all of our little friends are wonderfully unique and individual, I often relate to stories about your amazing bud! after reading many of your posts, i can't help but think...I know that amazing guy!! I have spent a lot of time with him! once again, our little friends are so amazing and unique, but i cannot wait to share my own "miper" stories!

9:04 PM  
Blogger supposedly susan said...

You perfectly capture how complex language is and how involved it can be for the teacher and the student.
What a great story!
Thanks.

12:12 PM  

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