Thursday, January 10, 2013


Okay.  I'm going to need you to think back {you know open up your "schema file!"}.  My last post.  The sweet boy whose mom totally put a stigma on him the first day.  I feel awful.  I'm sick to my stomach.  My heart breaks. 

My sweet new kinder is on the "spectrum."  That wonderful teacher term that we use when speaking of disabilities.  At first I thought maybe he was slightly autistic.  Then today, it hit me.  My sweet little boy {all though not so sweet} could very well, possibly, I'm about 90% sure....has Aspergers Syndrome. 
Cry.  Not for me....for him.

I want to hug his mom.  I want to hug him but he does not like affection.  I want to go back to Monday and instead of just leave my conversation with his mom at "thanks for the heads up" {about that so-called behavior issue} and ask her to elaborate.
I received his "getting to know you" sheet from his mother this morning and I wanted to cry.  I still do.  I'm actually holding back tears now.  She doesn't know what to do but knows that her son is on the spectrum.

The good news is I am already his biggest advocate and have snagged my awesome resource teacher friend on board.  We are still waiting on his official paperwork to arrive from his previous school, however, have it lined up to get him re-evaluated.

Here's where I need your help.  I don't know how to teach him.
He does wonderfully during the Daily Five and transitions fine.  He is very socially awkward and after 12:20 {when we return from specials} he is in his own little world.  He talks to himself.  Does not listen, pay attention, or show any interest in anything.  He will actively raise his hand, however, will give an answer from out in left field that is BEYOND off topic. 

He has letters and a majority of his letter sounds down and that is it.  His writing is that of a preschoolers and he has difficulty even coping work.  I did have him trace today and that was better, however, he would only trace one word.  

He fixates.  On RANDOM things.  Like today, instead of completing his math work with or without me, he stared at his pencil while twirling it and talking to himself.  When I went to work with him one-on-one, I knew he would need lots of explanation and example, however, he had no interest and would just talk about something off the pencil.

What do I do?  How do I help him?

I don't want him to be a lump on a log while he's in my class.  I also don't want him to be a distraction to the rest of my class.

HELP!!! Please?!


  1. You definitely did the right thing by getting help from your special ed. team! You may need to make his work time shorter. Using a first/then card may also help. Show him what he needs to do and then what he enjoys doing can be done after. Visuals are also key for a lot of students on the spectrum (a visual schedule so he knows what to anticipates what is coming next). For your students there are some great books out there explaining being on the spectrum that will make them understand him better. A safe spot may also help him. I hope this helps! Autistic students are very challenging, but with some time and patience it will get better!

  2. I recently started using Class Dojo class wide. I think my student whom I suspect is also on the spectrum, has at the very least become more aware of the time he spends off task, plus the reports give me documentation for future reference. Check it out. It is beneficial for my entire clas. :)

  3. If your little guy is actually on "the spectrum" then he will probably never really be able to cope with assignments in the same manner as your other students. He may need to have his assignments be more hands-on with little to no paper and pencil activities. If you look for sites that deal with autism such as :
    you may feel better about what your next steps are.
    As well, with my boy a few years ago, I created work boxes (and I think that is what the autistic society was calling them) in which specific skills were being practised but not with paper and pencil. For example, I had a box with clothespins with an alphabet letter on each, and cards with words, such as colour words (red/blue/black) and the child had to find the clothespins that matched the letters of the spelling word (red) and attach in correct order. Another example was in math. I had paper houses (laminated) with numbers on them (up to 10) and the child had to put a manipulative (such as plastic snowflakes) onto the house, matching the quantity to the digit shown. Still learning but more engaged because it was hands on. Good luck!

  4. It sounds like you are already doing so much to help this child! I think it's great that you are able to work one-on-one with him AND are searching for ways to better help him.

    My only idea is to give it some time. Get to know the student as a learner and as an individual. Maybe he is motivated by the clock (stop watch or competition), maybe chunking assignments or folding his paper to break up the work would help? Discover the things he enjoys (pencils?) and use that to your advantage.

    I'd love to know what you try and what works!

    The Frizz in First Grade

  5. Thank you ladies for your feedback! I'm going to work today with lots of optimism and things to try. I'll keep you posted! :)

  6. A few things that I have used with ASD students that may help:
    - Visual timer on his desk. Allow him to have 10 minutes on completing your set activity then 5-10mins on his special interest (computers, toy cars, building with boxes etc)
    -If his writing problem has to do with pencil control swap to a big chunky texta rather than a pencil.. One of my autistic students found it very painful to write and this really helped until he built up the muscles in his hand.
    -set up a corner in the room for his special interest, e.g. a building corner. It's better to get a good morning session and then reward him with some time off
    -a great literacy computer program we have in Australia is (not sure if this is in the states? or if their is something else similar) very visual and has audio instructions. My students with special needs have at least 10mins on this program each day. Has really improved their literacy skills for reading and writing and listening to sounds
    -visual timetable to count down the activities for the day
    Things will get a lot better when you get to know each other. There'll be good days to compensate for the bad ones. And do not feel bad if some days he doesn't do a lot of the set work- he needs to be safe and happy and used to routines before other things will start to happen. Hope this has helped :)


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