Tag Archives: school

The Disney Wall

BoysDisney

Each week we pick a theme to center our activities around. This week, we chose Disney. Each day, we do some sort of coloring activity to go along with our theme. We did Mickey, Goofy, and Tarzan. This is the artwork that the boys, our student aides, and staff did.

The best part of this, to me, is the DISNEY at the top. The letters were done FREEHAND by “E”. He loves to draw letters and numbers. He has never really done any letters on demand. Today however, I thought I would try and get him to do the heading for our art wall. So, armed with skittles, a marker, and blank pieces of paper, I sat down with him at the table and asked him to draw me the letter D. He thought about it for a minute and then he began to draw. Once the D was on the paper I gave him a skittle. Then he gave me a big smile. I slid the D to the side and a new sheet of paper in front of him. I asked for an I…. his wheels were spinning and in the blink of an eye, the I appeared. More skittles. More smiles. We proceeded this ritual until the entire word was written. Once complete, I gave him tons of high fives and lots of praise. I could see how proud he was of his letters.

I carefully cut around them and hung them up. I had him come look at his work. I think he was pretty happy that we displayed his letters.

I foresee more headings for our projects in our future… and that makes ME smile!

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Spring Break… well sort of..

Monday was the first official day of Spring Break for our kiddo’s.

Friday at school we had 3 out of four of the boys with fever, so it was an even earlier beginning to our very looked forward to break (they are all fine now, but it was pretty ugly on Friday). Nothing like 3 sick grouchy boys. LOL

Yesterday, I started my first day of my first Masters class! Woot woot *insert happy dance here*!!

Now because I am obsessive compulsive, I have already posted on the forum (3 times), found 3 articles for my first paper (due Monday), have started taking notes for another forum post, and have thought about my final research paper. This blog is a way for me to take a break.  And.. as a special surprise.. as I am typing this, my textbook just arrived! That just means more work, but right now… at the beginning of the first course, I am excited and not burnt out. So, I will give it my all and do the absolute best I can.

Interestingly enough, just from the first bit of studying that I have done, I realize that there are SO many different ideas and effective ABA treatments that are being utilized right now in the classroom I work in. These boys are definitely getting cutting edge, super powerful, and life-changing interventions. With, and without realizing it, I am learning so very much through my on the job training. I may not have had a name for the stuff we are using, but I am soaking it all in like a sponge. I have finally found what I want to be when I grow up. It is such an enormous weight off my shoulders and makes my whole body smile!

A lot of people that work with special needs kids say “If I make a difference in one kids life, then I will have done my job and be happy.” .. I won’t settle for just one kid. I NEED to make a difference in multiple lives. I desire to help every kid that I come in contact with. EVERY ONE.

Now it is time to get back to learning… studying… soaking it up.

Gentle hugs!

~Kari

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Emotions…

We all know that a lot of kids with Autism find it very hard to express a correct emotion/facial expression (by our world’s standards) to any given situation.

But isn’t it cool when they do??

My boys can be rough and tumble when they are upset, but when you can capture a sweet moment.. when you know that moment is genuine… it can sure make anyone melt into an ooey gooey puddle.

A genuine smile when you say hello.

A touch to your shoulder when they are feeling insecure.

A belly laugh when you tease them.

An outstretched hand when they are scared.

And… even a hug when they ask.

For these boys to unlock those emotions is a huge step. To have them join us on a level we understand is an amazing feeling. We don’t always understand these kids and how they are feeling. We want them to be able to express these emotions way more often than we get, but to know that every once in a while, they will reach out to us for comfort or affection, is to know a child that is feeling safe in our care…. and that is what makes working with these amazing kids so worthwhile.

~Kari

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A good learning day!

Some days are just good learning days…

And some are even better than that!

These kids continually amaze me with how intelligent they are! I really don’t doubt that these kids have intelligence, it is just that the timing has to be just right to catch those small glimpses in to their wonderful minds!

For example… there is one boy in the class that I know can count. He has shown me this on numerous occasions and he is quite good at it.  Usually, this comes with prompting and a lot of patience 🙂 Today however, this child showed me something different.

What did this cool kid do?

We have a program that we use called Vizzle (our school got a grant for this program and it is amazing). This program allows us to do curriculum… such as math, reading, and sentences… in a game like fashion. More fun for all of us if I do say so myself. Anyyyyway…. today, I was working with this student on counting hearts. Vizzle displays a picture of a certain amount of hearts, and then underneath that picture is 3 choices to pick from for the correct answer. On a normal day, with this particular student, I will point at each heart and have him count with me to find the correct answer. Today however, he did 9 out of 10 completely ON HIS OWN!! Each correct answer without prompt was rewarded with a skittle and me going ape-shit (pardon the french) over how good he was doing! He was clapping and laughing and knew that he was so smart!

This is why I do what I do. There are moments of hardship and moments of miraculous growth. And… trust me… the moments of growth completely outweigh those moments of hardship.

I still feel so incredibly blessed that I get to work with these guys. They show me so many wonderful things.

~Kari

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It must be horrible…

… to be trapped in your own head.

Not every day at school is a beautiful bouquet of flowers all wrapped in bows. Trust me, there are more good times than bad (thank heavens), but I just feel so damn helpless when these kids have bad days.

I have laid in bed many nights wondering what it would be like to have Autism. ESPECIALLY if it means that I couldn’t speak or get my thoughts or emotions out in a proper way. I couldn’t imagine being trapped inside my own head … lord knows it is scary enough…

The simple basic needs that we take for granted, such as “hmmm I need a drink” or “I am hungry” are sometimes next to impossible for these kids to assimilate to us.

Today was a rough day with one kid. He is my non-verbal guy and was having a really hard time with his iPad and letting me know what it was that he needed/wanted. He was extraordinarily frustrated. Coming at me… hollering… pinching… scratching. I felt terrible. I didn’t know how to help him. All I could do was maintain my cool and let him know that it was all okay and that I would help him figure it out.

He was so angry and frustrated.

These kids need a light at the end of the tunnel on .. sometimes.. a minute by minute basis. I am amazed at my ability to stay calm and “grounded” during these moments. I was never a very patient person when it came to my own NT child. I guess I just know deep down that these guys don’t know how to control their anger/behaviors and that I need to be an anchor in their storm.

Once I figured out what the issue was, we were able to be happy again and he was the kind and gentle boy that I have come to love.

What I would like to share with you is this… If you have a child that tantrums:

  • Remain calm.
  • Be gentle in your actions.
  • Reassure them that they (and you) are okay.
  • Remind them that together you will figure it out.
  • Keep trying.
  • Love them through it.
  • Time out works most of the time
  • Punishment does not work most of the time.

Thanks for listening. I hope this helps.

Gentle Hugs,

~Kari

 

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Filed under Behaviors, Lessons

1st Day Back…

… was an excellent day!!

Only one kid had issues with readjusting back to school and I was shocked that it was just one kid. Normally the day after a long holiday is rough on our kids. It just is… but today was a good day. Lots of smiles and hand claps and wonderful participation.

It just goes to show that when you love these kids as much as we do,  that they feel safe and secure in going to school. They need the routine and the structure. We have a great group of very smart boys!!

Promised I would fill you in on how the day went… and it was good!!

~Kari

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I am so ready…

…to go back to school!!

I am pretty sure that all of you parents are ready for school to start back up too! AND… hopefully the kids are just as ready!

I wondered a lot this past couple of weeks what the boys were up to. Wonder if they had a good break. Hope that they had a great Christmas with their families. I am sure they did.

I had a pretty good break myself. There were definitely a few hiccups, but nothing that a positive attitude and God can’t fix. I needed the relaxation and to refill my “cup”.

BUT!!!… I am so ready to:

  • Hear – Good morning Ka eee
  • See – their smiling faces
  • High Five – their wonderful hands
  • Work – harder than we ever had

Tomorrow can not get here fast enough. Heck… even the teacher called me today excited to get back to work. We have a great team and I am so very blessed to work with such amazing people. And, I am so very blessed to work with such amazing boys!

I will let you know how it goes.

~Kari

 

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