Have you ever had a students arrive in an ASD classroom cold, with no IEP, no paperwork, no meeting? This happened to me this fall. “Tim:” was easy to prejudge/stereotype. With his motor difficulties, minimal expressive language, and other medical conditions, one could make a premature classification as “low functioning.” Especially these days, when our district is giving us more students and fewer support staff, teachers, especially seasoned ones, might easily decide, “oh this child is like…(x)”
However, the ability of DT Trainer to quickly and easily assess both need and strength areas helped me not fall into this trap. The true, human impact of the program was also brought home to me yesterday, when his mom called to tell me that, although he had a doctor’s appointment set up, she had a car breakdown and he would have to stay. Uh-oh. Despite Tim’s many strengths, flexibility and rolling with the punches was not one of them. Of course, we had prepped him for the change on his schedule. We now worked to undo it by swapping in our surprise symbols, talked to him about the change, and used visual supports to help him retain some coping phrases and strategies.
By the last hour of the day he was severely upset because he still worried about the appointment he thought he was supposed to be at. He did an extra-session of DT Trainer, more than I would have typically used instructionally, but it’s use of visual structure and other research supported techniques for ASD in this program is so strong, it helped him finish the day without experiencing a total meltdown.
Thank you Karl and your team for the gift you have given to all ASD kids.
Dr. Alexander Boyer
Citywide Autism Program