...the crazy world

Autism - noun - a variable developmental disorder that appears by age three and is characterized by impairment of the ability to form normal social relationships, by impairment of the ability to communicate with others, and by stereotyped behavior patterns

^as defined by Meriam Webster's online dictionary.

Wouldn't it be a better world if that statement were fully true. Is it true?  Yes, absolutely.  Is that all that autism is?  No. Not in my little experience. 

Just because a school is labeled as an autism spectrum disorder school also doesn't mean every student there is going to have a (correct or most prevalent) diagnosis of autism.  Many of the students have emotional behaviors that far out weigh their autistic tendencies.  Some days I am so frustrated and exhausted that I want a sensory break to bang my head on the wall and scream.  Yet something inside me reminds my crazy un-restful soul that they are just kids.  Some could be found in the Children & Youth Services database. Some have great families.  Some have lots of siblings and some only have a few.  Some are above their grade level academically and some are years behind.  But at the end of the day they are just kids.  Normal high school kids that want to do some of the normal high school kid things.  They have crushes; and boy do they fixate on those crushes :) They are hormonal.  They want to drive (scary thought!) and they want to go to prom.  They want to fit in; belong; be head of the pack.  The boys showcase their "manliness" in an attempt to over power the others...sound like a small football team yet?! 9 boys and 1 girl....10 in all.  It's so easy to forget they are just kids yet.  Sure, 19 is "technically" an adult...but experiences differ and he's not ready to be an adult yet. He still needs people to care for him.

Sometimes I forget this. Sad to say, but I think that was our problem the last two days.  I had forgotten that at the core of my teaching belief; the foundation; the reason why I come every day; is the belief that all anyone really needs is a little bit of forgiveness, a decent amount of individual attention & quality time, and a whole lot of love.  Because at the end of the day, do any of use want anything less than that?  Why would my students not need those same things? Today, today I will remember that first and foremost God has called me to love them.  Not to fix them; not to be harsh with them; not to constantly correct their autistic behaviors....but simply to love them as they are.  Encourage them and provide a safe environment when there isn't one anywhere else. 

I feel very overwhelmed in this new world that I find myself in. I love my job.  I am so thankful that in a few weeks I will have my own classroom to decorate, arrange, and teach in.  I don't know if the overwhelmed feeling will be more or less then.


...my wish list...

Today I was able to take a few minutes and create my "wish list" of things I'd like to have in my classroom.  I can hardly contain my excitement about getting my own room!  I know that it's going to be a few crazy days to set up the room, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to them :) I will probably have one or two days to get it all ready!!!!!!!!!!!

On a different note, I am getting a new student tomorrow :) He stopped by for a tour today and seems like a nice kid.  He has a slew of initials that have made there way into his IEP.  What a shame :(  I'm praying he will find his nitche at this place and will be able to control past behaviors in a positive environment.  I feel very unprepared as one of the initials he has been diagnosed with is ODD....I don't know much, but I know that it's frustrating for both the student and teacher.  I keep praying for patience and a whole lot of love that I will have the stability and strength to make him feel welcomed into our class.

That's the news for now :)  One exciting Wednesday coming up....

Happy Teaching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



...it happened!!!

A few days ago (though officially announced today!) I was asked if I would like to stay on staff after finishing   the maternity leave I have been working under now.  ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!  As of December 1st (most likely, though the date is not set in stone) I will have my own classroom at the Autism Academy.

It is going to be crazy.

Most days are exhausting.

I don't really know what I'm doing and if I'm handling each student the best way possible; but I am learning.

I am SO grateful that I have a full time job and I do not have to substitute any more.

I cannot wait to call the local school districts that I had initially thought I would be subbing at and tell them, simply, that I cannot!

Yes, I understand it is a "charter school"; a non-public school; not a private school.  However, it is still a classroom and I am still a teacher who will be given a group of students to teach :)

I will not pass an opportunity up.  I will not turn down a classroom for the sake of "charter school" label.

I will not miss this chance because I am scared of what I don't know....or the exhaustion that is sure to come.

I will know more details in the coming weeks, and I'm certain I'll blog about the transformation of an empty room into my first classroom! I can't wait :)

Any suggestions about setting up a classroom geared for students diagnosed with Autism and/or behavior disorders in a non-public school setting?!?!

What is this I hear about "mood lighting"? Any experiences?


Three weeks in...

Alternative placement. Autistic support. I'm typing while running on an elliptical. Haha stressed? Overwhelmed? Yes to say the least. Most days I have no idea what to do with some of their behaviors... And I have one of the best behaved classes!

Every student is so different from the others. The amount of paperwork needed for each student most days leaves me feeling like I don't do much else. It's a very different environment than public school was

I still struggle with missing my home and my fifth grade job. It was almost magical :) I am thankful for the room I have now but I still remember what last year was and hope that someday I will be there again !