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Supporting and Nurturing the Talents of a Kid with Autism!

I often speak about the importance of presuming competence in kids, especially when it involves kids with special needs. Assuming they can be successful and even take learning to the next level when given the opportunity.

Lately, I've been thinking back to my time in the classroom and to some of my most memorable kids. This story takes me back about 15 years!

Kids in my Kindergarten class learned how to create A-B, A-B-C, A-B-A-C and other assorted patterns as part of mathematics. During their independent time to create these patterns, they were given an option on what resources and materials to use:

  • manipulatives including unfix cubes, pompoms, geo blocks, blocks, etc.

  • visual squares to show where to place the blocks in a certain pattern

  • paper and crayons/markers to draw a pattern

You get the picture... there were multiple options for them to show what they've learned and actively engage.

As they created and worked individually or in pairs, I got down on the floor with them, guiding, questioning, and doing little "sneak" assessments.

Jaya, a five-year old on the autism spectrum, was creating her A-B-C pattern with ring builders. Jaya had a very mathematical brain, even as a Kindergartener. She was beginning to understand how numbers work, 2-D and 3-D shapes. She was very comfortable in her mathematical space.

As I move closer to her and the pattern that she is creating with ring builders, I realize that she has taken it to the next level.

The NEXT LEVEL. Quite literally!

With plastic ring builders, she has created a bridge. Not just the 2-D shape of a bridge, but a 3-D bridge.

Right there on the floor in vibrant blue, yellow, red, green, and orange.

A bridge for tiny cars to travel over, or puppets to cross, or for a troll to live under.

So as I approach her, I say, "Wow! Tell me about your patterns and what you did."

Her response: "Look, Ms. DJ! I built an A-B-C bridge!"

She had NO idea of her creative mathematical power.

It is so important that we give every child an opportunity to engage and grow in classroom spaces that encourage independence in a way that is meaningful to them. How else can we learn their true capabilities?

Parents! if your child is on the autism spectrum, has ADHD, or has another type of neuro-divergency, and you could use some help with the IEP process, grab my free course!

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