the spectrum

There is a child in my class with sort of “off” behaviors.  It just occurred to me today for the first time that this child might be on the autism spectrum.

Sigh.  Now I have to figure out what to do about it.


5 thoughts on “the spectrum

  1. I’ve had several children in my class who had either been diagnosed as being in this spectrum or were clearly there without the diagnosis.

    My suggestion is to first have faith that this doesn’t mean the child can’t function perfectly well in your classroom. From what I’ve read it sounds like you have a curriculum that suits a child like this.

    Secondly, find someone you trust to observe him/her and confirm your suspicion.

    Thirdly, if you both agree, the parent needs to be informed of your concern. And yes, this is the tricky part. I’m lucky that I have parent educators working with me who tend to take the lead in this process. Once, as gentle as we tried to be, we had one parent freak out, yank her child from school, and disappear. But in every other case, the parents had already heard it before from a pediatrician, previous teacher, or friend. They are fully aware that their child is a little different (as did, I suspect, the mom who freaked out).

    It’s the parent who ultimately has to make decisions for her/his child, but there can be nothing more rewarding as a teacher than to work with these kids.

    Obviously, this child’s situation is not severe because it took you this long for it to occur to you. These are teachable kids. I just sent one off to a big public school kindergarten last year and according to his mom he’s thriving. It takes a little extra effort on the teacher’s part, but you just have to figure out the “work arounds” necessary to get the information through, especially when it comes to social and communication issues.

    I’ve written a couple posts over on my blog about these kids. If you’re interested, I can point you to them.

    • Thanks, Tom, for your thoughtful comments. I do have experience with autism, actually, and usually have at least one child on the spectrum each year. All of them have been boys, however, and this child is a girl, which may be why it took me so long to make the connection. She is doing fine, academically, but she is having social difficulties and it is becoming obvious that it is stressful to her.

      I will talk to my special ed teacher when she comes next Tuesday, and then go from there.

      • I’m glad you know what you’re doing. I worry about these kids because so many people treat them like there’s something wrong with them.

        I like teaching them. =)

  2. My new favorite TV show is “The Big Bang Theory” We just finished season 1 on DVD and started Season 2. I have grandkids who are very smart, but very inept socially. One has been diagnosed as Aspergers Syndrome. Because we have had to learn so much about the Spectrum because of the grandkids, (there are a couple more, they just haven’t been official diagnosed, but I’m sure they are on the spectrum somewhere) I think I recognise it better in my students. Almost every year, there is at least one.

    Getting the district to do anything about it is a different story…..

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