a few years ago i had a little boy with autism in my first grade class. he was only there a month before he moved, but in that month he made quite an impression. daily he and i would struggle over writing workshop. he wanted to just sit there, and i, well, wanted him to at least attempt to put words on a page. or a picture on a page. anything. it was the beginning of first grade, so a lot of the kiddos didn't know their letters or letter sounds. really, any attempt would make me happy.
one day we hit a break through. after our first writing conference of the day i walked away, leaving him with a timer and the "I'll be back in five minutes to see how you're doing!" speech.
when i returned this is what i found:
number 1: he got his message across in writing. that was a first!
number 2: his pictures match his words. universal no sign + no no no. pretty good.
number 3: his spelling is correct, no is a known word. he has spaces (kind of). his letters are going in the right direction.
i said nothing about his obvious message to me. as the other children looked in utter confusion i praised him for his fabulous job at writing words on a page that told a message. after that he wrote, a few simple words every day, but he wrote.
and i kept my portrait. because sometimes its ok when if they're mad at you.