Refining and Encouraging, All at the Same Time

When I went to pick up GameTeen at school today, the Director asked to speak with me. We already have plans for meeting tomorrow to discuss a behavioral intervention plan for him, because he's having some difficulties behaviorally. The difference here, as opposed to public school, is that all the staff knows how to deal with him.

As my future plans heavily include research in curriculums for autism spectrum disorders, she and I talk regularly about those ideas of mine. I pick her brain about what I see and she gladly says "Yeah! Did you think about..." and points out a facet that OMG, that's really important.

For instance, today, the advice was to narrow down my focus to just Aspergers Syndrome, because these are kids who typically at the top end of the intelligence scale and very technologically savvy. Then, we talked about Temple Grandin's accounts of 'thinking in pictures' and it brought an aHA! moment of geez, no wonder why our kids get frustrated in school-they don't know how to filter down one hundred pictures to one that's relevant. But, if a computer based curriculum featured graphic elements, it would give the student one picture to focus on.

**Can you imagine life if someone said to think of a boat, and you visualized the first boat you ever saw, then the Titanic, then the QE2, then the Disney Wonder, then the SS Minnow, the Love Boat, the Edmund Fitzgerald, the Blue Nose, the Mayflower, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria-all in rapid succession? And it happened to you all day, every day? Wouldn't you be just the tiniest bit frustrated with those darn neurotypicals who expected you to keep moving onto other tasks when you were still sorting?**

I asked for and got agreement that it might be a good idea to sit down with her faculty and get a 'wish list' of computer based curriculum ideas they each have in working with the students. It'll give me more of an idea of what it's like in the classroom, what needs are greatest.

Talking with the director is always enjoyable, she's so devoted to the students (and says she has 'many children,' because those students are hers.

Today, though, I got to share some of the advice I got from my mentors with regards to her educational focus. Asking her 'what would you want your legacy to be if...' based on our conversation helped her in a decision she has struggled with. It felt good to give something back.

We later joked that by the time I walk into my first doctoral class in two years, I'll be so focused that that PhD will be a cakewalk, and she fired back that if it was going to be that easy, I can do hers while I'm at it.

I like that kind of challenge. (but no, I'm not doing her dissertation, lol!)

It was supposed to be the right educational placement for GameTeen, but I'm learning from his school, too...


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