Friday, September 5, 2008

my new bff

last year i had a bff for the first 9 weeks of school. this year the title falls on another child i originally was going to call my running man, but that doesn't do him justice. this is the friend who previously fired me. he is a very gifted child receiving services under autism, who needs a bit of help figuring out how to navigate school.

i've discovered that while social stories don't work for him making a list does. so he has a wall in the classroom where he can keep his 'what do i do?' lists. what do i do if the classroom is too loud? what do i do if someone is bothering me? what do i do at the end of the day?

yesterday during guided reading he stopped mid-page and started making odd noises. from his face (i've begun to notice what some of his facial expressions mean) i could tell he was getting upset about something, but i couldn't figure out what. "what's wrong?" i asked. "use your words"
he leaped out of his chair and sprinted to his list-wall. he pointed to the "what to do if someones bothering me" list and to the icon that shows taking deep breaths (ahhhh... the odd noises were his attempt at deep breaths when he was already really upset). he checked the list, ran his finger along the choice he was going to make, walked back to the friend who was making a noise so quiet i couldn't even hear it, asked him to stop, sat back down at the guided reading table, took one last deep breath, and started reading again.

the whole process had me smiling. i'm glad we've learned what method we can use to help him, and i'm glad he's beginning to learn what to do. it makes me smile to watch him check the list to decide what to do next, solving problems in such a clear, logical manner.

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