Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Child with ASD Can Teach Other Children

Tip of the Day: Encourage your child or student with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to help teach another child. They might just be able to do it. To see tips for teaching children with autism please go to Eric Digest for a helpful article.

A Related Story:

On Monday my son's teacher had good news to tell me. My nine-year-old with a mild form of autism helped her with a math lesson. She has a multi-age (from K-2) special education classroom. Her helper of the day, my son, spends part of the time with her and part of the day in a regular second grade classroom (with an aide present.) He has science and social studies in regular education and reading and math with his special education teacher. The ages of the students in the special education room range from five to nine years, so my son is one of the oldest children.

The math lesson for the day was graphing with Lucky Charms Cereal. The children's' job was to sort out the charms from the rest and then graph the colorful pieces. The teacher then asked each student what charm they had the most of. The question confused some of the children. They weren't sure what the word "most" meant. My son realized that the one's having trouble did not understand the word 'most,' so he demonstrated by gesturing and explaining.

"This is the mostest," he said pointing to the largest pile in front of him. When one student continued to struggle, he showed her again. I could not get my son to talk about the math lesson much, but the teacher said that he was quite proud that he was able to help.

"He didn't get too bossy?," I asked, concerned.

"No, he did a good job," she said.

I made sure to tell my son that I was proud of him (as I do on occasion). The next day on the way to school, he said,
"I'm a good student, aren't I mom?"

"Yes you are," I said smiling.

Now the trick is to see if some of his older peers with ASD (that we know from his university-affiliated art/music program) can help him. Other mothers have volunteered their children's' help with teaching him how to play video games and tie his shoes. I've only made limited progress, so just maybe peer intervention will help.

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