Teaching Teachers About Autism

by beagooddad on July 25, 2007

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Part of Pookie’s summer school is a one week session where a bunch of teachers around the district will be observing and working with a few special needs children. The ages of the kids range from 4 to about 10.

On the first day, the teachers set up the classroom and parents are invited to come in and talk to the teachers. The kids don’t show up until the second day.

I was planning to ask the teachers a few questions and just do a little meet and greet to help them put a face to my name. Me and BeAGoodMom try to show up at anything that parents are allowed to be at in the schools.

Instead, I ended up sitting with three other moms while the head teacher (Pookie’s teacher the last year and a half) asked us some generic questions that we would answer in front of the other teachers…about 80 of them…and two video cameras.

If somebody had told me I might have shaved my mohawk.

Most of the teachers teach regular classrooms at various levels of grade school and occasionally will have an autistic child in their class for part of the day or all of the day with an aide. The goal of this week is to make them more familiar with what autism is, how it affects different kids differently, and techniques they can use to work with autistic kids.

It makes me happy to see so many teachers giving up a week of their summer to learn about autism.

It was also interesting to see that us parents have really become the subject matter experts in this situation. Since very few of the teachers were special education teachers, very few knew anything about autism.

When sitting with the teachers that will be working with Pookie at the end of the meeting, the first question I was asked is “What is echolalia?” And I not only knew but knew that their is immediate and delayed…and even functional delayed and nonfunctional delayed.

The teachers then began asking question after question about autism, Pookie, and things they can do to make things better for autistic students and their parents.

Which reminded me of something. If your autistic child gets mainstreamed, the teacher in the class is probably not going to know a lot about autism. Make sure that you schedule a meeting with that teacher early in the school year and try to meet with the teacher several times throughout the year. Any help that you can give the teacher will put them in a better position to teach your child.

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