Saturday, December 12, 2009

Decemeber 10, 2009

Children with Aspergers tend to have trouble with motor skills and they have awkward clumsy movements. The student I had did not follow the normal characteristics of a child with Aspergers physically. What he did struggle with was working with other students in cooperative games. This is a common characteristic of a child who has Aspergers. With a child like this it is important to focus more on the affective domain so they learn how to affectively work with others. Make sure they give praise to peers when they are doing well at something. This is important for everyone but it needs to be magnified with children who have Aspergers to form their social skills. They also need to know how to except praise and give thanks back for the praise. Cooperative activities are good for them so they learn how to rely on others in games to solve a problem.
I would have this student do a lot of partner work with someone around the same ability level. The objective would to have both kids giving positive feedback to each other in order for the student with Aspergers to get used working with others.

December 9, 2009

This experience for me has been so rewarding. It is the reason I wanted to become a teacher. I have become really close with the student I mentor and it is coming close to the end of my observations. When I first started this experience it was difficult and at times I wanted to quit. This is what teaching is about though, challenges. Challenges are obstacles that you take head on no matter how difficult because you believe you can succeed with them. Although at times I did not think I was making any progress, I was it just was not apparent at the time. In the end, I feel like my student has made incredible leaps and bounds. His attitude is very different when he comes to the program from when I first begun with him. He acts out a lot less then when I first started with him.

December 7, 2009

Ever since I had taught my student that I mentor chess, he has become obsessed. I have learned children with Aspergers are very interested in board games. There are a lot of lessons that can be learned through the game of chess. Some life lessons and skills that can be learned through chess are; memory and concentration, tactical and strategic thinking, sportsmanship, setting goals and priorities, viewing obstacles as challenges, learning from mistakes, patience and decision making. All of which can be related back to any types of games and sports. The tricky part is teaching the student how chess relates to all other games and how you can view other games in the same way. As a teacher, I can use this to my benefit when teaching a child with Aspergers. In any type of invasion game you need to understand tactical and strategic strategy. Everyone is on the field like a chess piece, they all move with a purpose. They work together to invade the other team’s territory to try and score a point or a goal. Everyone has a specific job on the field, just like all the specific jobs chess pieces have. There goal is to work on trying to get a checkmate, same as the players on the field. It’s interesting how you can relate a board game theory to a physical game and still teach the same lesson. Teaching a game like chess, which is a cognitive game, is a good tool to teach the cognitive concepts to other types of games.

December 3, 2009

When working with a child who has Aspergers it’s important to remember that the child does not like surprises. They like to have a regular routine and if that routine is changed they do not adapt accordingly. I have learned this through my own observations. One example I have is simply me being there. I have set days that I go and do my observations. The graduate assistant and I had decided that I would come on day’s I was not scheduled so he could have the same mentor. One thing I had to learn the hard way that I should not have done, was to tell him I would be there and then not show up. I agreed that I would come more often but I had also agreed that it was not definite that I could be there all of the time. One day I was with him and I had told him I would see him tomorrow because just in general people often say, see you tomorrow. This was a mistake. I could not come back the next day. When I came back the following day, after the day I could not come, I came back to a different child. He was so upset with me and we had an incredibly rough day together. This has helped me currently and will keep helping me in the future if I teach a child with Aspergers. If there needs to be change in routine, it needs to happen slowly and with some notification before hand.

Novemeber 23, 2003

My student struggles with games that involve competition. He is not a very good sport. He has a tough time playing by the rules. The reason he struggles is because he is over competitive. When playing competitive sports he wants to be the best so he breaks the rules or acts out when he can not succeed. I personally believe he would be more successful with a health and fitness curriculum in physical education. I still think it is important for him to be involved in competitive activities but he needs to know what is right and wrong when participating. For example, my student acted out during a game of sharks and minnows. He was tagged by a class mate and did not agree with being tagged. The other student then told the teacher on him because he was not playing by the rules. My student decided to retaliate by pushing the other kid during the game. His overall competitiveness and poor sport attitude resulted in acting out when being tagged during the game.
There is nothing wrong with being competitive but a student has to know when they are in the wrong for acting out. In the case of a child with Aspergers, they don’t know when they are doing something there not supposed to be doing. The graduate assistant I work with has a strict policy of stopping the behavior as soon as it starts with the student I mentor. This needs to happen to let him know what he did wrong and how he can change his behavior. After he understands what he did wrong we then make him apologize to the person he acted out on. These are going to be behavior measures that I will bring with me into my own teaching.

November 18, 2009

Today during my observations I went to the elementary school to pick up the kids. The kids who are involved in our program come from different elementary schools around the area I go to school. There are usually only about a handful of kids that I have to pick up personally. My kid is a part of the group that I pick up. When I picked him up today I noticed he was carrying to shiny rocks. In the past, I have noticed his interest in shiny objects. I have been collecting these metallic plated rocks for a long time. I so happened to have one with me this very day. I allowed him to hold on to it though out the day as long as he stayed on task. He agreed to the terms and for the most part was on task all day. I have learned that rewards work very well in managing his behavior. I have also learned that the rewards need to change. He gets tired quickly of the same old rewards.

November 17, 2009

There is not much known about Autism and where it comes from. There are also plenty of na├»ve people who believe that people with Autism are not very intelligent. The fact of the matter is, there isn’t a lot of research out there. The child I mentor has a functioning form of Autism called Asperger’s. I had spoken with his parents and they had told me how bright he was. They are simply having trouble channeling his intelligence to something. At the end of our session today, I asked him if he was interested in playing a game of chess with me. In the past I have tried other activities with him and they have been semi successful. Right away he showed an incredible interest in the game. As I explained to him how all of the pieces moved and the object of the game, he showed the most focus and interest I have seen yet. It was amazing how fast he picked up the game. During our game his mother had arrived and he said he did not want to leave. The program only runs until 6:00pm and we ended up staying until 6:45pm. During the game, I assisted him to a certain level. I explained to him the strategy of using multiple pieces to try and capture my king. He picked up on everything so quickly, I was blown away. At the end, her mother said to me that she thinks we might be on to something.

November 5, 2009

What I have learned from previous observations was to stop things before they happened. I decided to go early that day to setup up the classroom where the kids do their homework. The daily routine was for the kids to come to the class and help setup with tables and chairs. I asked the graduate assistant if I could try something different. I wanted to have the room setup so the kids could find there seat right away. I wanted to do this because I felt like the kids would get all riled up from setting everything up. I felt like it would add a little more structure to their routine. Much to my surprise it worked. The kids got right to work and settled in with their mentors.
I was now only mentoring one of the two kids. The child’s basketball season had started and was no longer coming to the program. I still had the child with Asperger’s. This was my first time being exposed to a child with Asperger’s. What’s interesting about him is his newly found obsession of the day. Everyday he has a new obsession. A lot of the times he obsesses on different ways of making other kids miserable. I don’t think that is his intention but he likes to tell me that he is devious. This is one of the reasons I had decided to come to class early to setup. I wanted to hide these blue two specific blue books. There are these blue books this one student likes to read if he has no homework. My kid likes to take those books away from him. The first day I saw this behavior, I made them play rock, paper, and scissors to see who gets the books. My kid ended up winning the game. He never once opened up the books. The same thing happened the next day but this time I let the other kid have the books. My kid would not stand for that and he tried to sneak over and steal the books the whole time he was there. Ever since I have hid the books he has not even brought them up.

November 3, 2009

As soon as I showed up to the program this day the graduate assistant sat me down to explain the program for the child that I was mentoring. The graduate assistant and my student had an agreement. The agreement was that if he was able to stay on task with any type of school work, he would then have some free play time. If he did not fill his end of the bargain, he would not be given any privileges of play time. The other child that I mentored was with us as a reward for the child with behavior issues. They were good friends and they could be together if he followed the guidelines of the deal with the graduate assistant. This was used as an incentive for the child with the behavior issues.
The two kids I mentored first started out with studying spelling. The child with behavioral issues was the leader of the two. Half the time he would not allow the other to spell the words. I made the mistake of not addressing the situation right away. When I did address the situation I demanded the one child to stop. To my knowledge, I thought I was doing the appropriate correction to the situation. I later found out that instead of making a demand, I should try to give him a choice but let him know the consequences along with the choice. The graduate assistant told me he responds better to that. If you make a demand to him like “Can you please stop interrupting and give him a chance to spell” it’s like it doesn’t have an effect on him what’s so ever. If you say something like “Do you think it’s polite to interrupt someone while their trying to spell and would you like someone to interrupt you?” and it actually worked. It was a very effective tool that I now have and can use in those types of situations.