Heart Warming Stories from a Teacher – Autism Students
These stories were submitted to me to share with our readers. They are written through the eyes of a teacher. Please enjoy and comment!
Later this year I am going to lose my first student back to regular education. When I first met him several years ago, this child was held by UCLA as unteachable. The parents should put him in a home for the rest of his life. He has come a long way in the time I have known him. I cannot tell you how proud I am of him. Hopefully I will have two more students going back to regular Special Ed in the near future. Either at the end of this year or the start of the next school year.
I have a student now that UCLA had given up on. He is so bright it scares me at times. He is in sixth grade but I am teaching him a high school curriculum for most subjects. His temper and outlandish outbursts landed him in my classroom. His outbursts have been reduced to one or two per week. He nearly killed me the first day that I was working with him. I took him into a time out room and as he walked into the room he grabbed a metal file box that weighed about twenty pounds and threw it in the air it just missed my head on the way down. I removed a lot of things from the time out room after that day.
I believe in the possible and try to get my students to believe in themselves. Not everything I try works. There are days when everything fails and we are lucky to get to the next day and start again. There are days and weeks when the students will not let you do it, but you try. I only had two students today. They were fixated on a fight that they had yesterday on the way home. During the first fifteen minutes of class they kept the fight going. I could not get them to let it go. I separated them. I took one for a walk. Nothing it seemed was going to get them to be civil. Finally I said I would treat them to lunch at McDonald’s if they could be civil to each other. One of their goals is that they are to give each of the other student’s compliments. Compliments are hard for them and are restricted to nice shoes, nice shirts, and nice hair. Compliments started flowing and I gave out stickers. Inside of five minutes we were back on task. They had forgotten for the moment the fight. I do not know what will happen tomorrow. The three of us went to McDonald’s for lunch. They went home with maximum behavior points for the day. Could I have done it with a less expensive bribe? Was a bribe a good idea? I guess I will find out in the morning.
My students do not have academic goals when I first get them in my classroom. I have an IEP this week and have to come up for the first time academic goals for the student. He is in tenth grade. He is a bright child whose behaviors have precluded him from a typical academic setting. He has thrown desks, and disturbed classrooms with his moaning. He has been to Phoenix and other schools. I have to write academic goals for Thursday’s IEP.
His previous IEP’s do not offer much help. I do not think that their observations are an accurate assessment of his abilities. They list his reading comprehension at barely sixth grade level. I have him doing high school reading. I do not know whether I am too optimistic or to unskilled to assess his abilities. They do state that as time went on that he became less and less responsive to their queries and tests. I hope I can find some appropriate goals for him.
I do feel that I talk as well as I write. I need at times to express myself. I hope you do not find my thoughts pointless, or tiresome. I will check with your office tomorrow to schedule an appointment.
3 thoughts on “Heart Warming Stories from a Teacher – Autism Students”
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thank you for having faith in the people that “normal people” have given up on.
Thank you for sharing this. I recently spent three weeks as an inclusion aide (supposedly) at a local elementary school. I was appalled by what I observed there, and even more appalled by the responses and actions of the teacher I was supposed to work with as well as the principal of the school! I was not able to do a thing according to what I should have been because they wouldn’t let me. They were totally clueless to the duties and responsibilities of an inclusion aide and when I tried to give them a copy they brushed me off and put more limitations on me. There were no meetings with me, no planning with me; I couldn’t even see the IEPs, something I should have been able to do! I observed the teacher in the classroom for three weeks; in that time she STILL did not have the class under control, she wasn’t doing an effective job at teaching at all, the kids were bored and fidgety, she yelled, humiliated a special ed child in front of the whole class putting the blame on him and punishing the whole class for his behavior, and if they had to walk during recess it was HIS fault. That woman has NO business being a teacher, and the principal needs to get booted out as well. Unfortunately, because of a stupid thing called tenure, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of lousy teachers and staff, and THAT is why many of the public schools are failing! It’s teachers and school staff like them that are the reasons why so many of the kids are transitioning into middle and high school who STILL can’t multiply or even ADD simple basic facts; many of them can’t even read!!!! I was so disgusted I quit, went next door to the library and arranged to use their back room to do some free after school tutoring where I CAN teach these kids effectively so they CAN remember and recall what they learn. Not only that, but in a couple of sessions I can improve not only their spelling, but their reading and writing at the SAME time and in half the time (if not faster) than they could using their ineffective curriculum! Their reason for wanting me out of there? I’m a former homeschooling mom! Who cares that my kid got the highest marks in the class at the high school? Who cares that several MORE families pulled their kids out of this elementary school this year to homeschool them instead? Well, every year their numbers will continue to drop until the school will be in REAL trouble, and then, who’s going to care? Not the parents who were wise enough to pull their kids out in the first place!
Don’t EVER tell me a kid can’t read so just give him the answer. They have the capability to do a lot of things but the only reasons they can’t is because they’re not given the opportunity, they’re not being taught effectively, and if the teachers limit them by insisting on doing things THEIR way rather than trying to incorporate alternative methods.
It just kills me to be able to see how much potential these kids have, and to have them look up at me with eagerness in their eyes, and the beaming radiance in their eyes when they’ve accomplished something. It kills me to see the disappointment in their eyes when they’re punished for something they didn’t do even though they behaved excellently; and it REALLY kills me to know that that eagerness and their little spirits will be broken by the end of the year, and that this could scar them and their outlook on education for life!
I know several of the families who have pulled their kids out of this school. The kids came home from school crying everyday. They hated school, they didn’t like the teacher. The parents didn’t want their next kid in line to get stuck with the same teacher so they pulled them all at and decided to homeschool. Good thing we have a few great homeschool groups around here now. I’m praying that the public school situation will change around here soon!
Sorry for such a long comment!