Someone commented on my previous post about the zone of proximal development that examples would be nice. It is my heartfelt desire to help other parents just like others have helped me. In that spirit, here are some examples that pertain to my children.
A great example would be Logan and writing. He’d be in 7th grade if he was in public school. Certainly 7th graders are writing book reports, research papers and other creative writing, Logan doesn’t even know how to write a paragraph, Why you ask? Because that is not where he is at right now. First, we had to learn how to orally narrate a story or event . Then we needed to work on fine motor skills and hand strength. You can’t write anything if you don’t know how to grip a pencil or you’re tired after 2 sentences.So, we just started doing written narration this past January. I read a book and he writes 1 or 2 sentences about that story. I don’t correct it or require him to sit there for hours thinking of sentences. All he is required to do is write down the first 2 sentences that pop into his mind. Oftentimes, he will write 4 or 5 sentences instead. You know why? Because he is confident. He feels like he can do it. There is no pressure to perform here. There is just learning.
But he is falling behind, you say! No, he is not. He is learning all the time. He is also learning to own his education. He is beginning to become a confident independent young man. Could I really ask for more?
One thing to remember is that the zone changes constantly. Just because the child could do it yesterday doesn’t mean that the child can do it today, especially when the child has autism. You have to look at where your child is at and work from there. It’s a daily process. Try to end the session on a successful note. Do whatever needs to be done to make the child capable of doing whatever it is that you want them to do. You will build trust with the child thus making it possible to push the child further in the future.