Living in the moment

“What day is it?”
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

Betty Ford Botanical Gardens, Vail, Colorado

Yesterday really was a “favourite” day.

In working with students with autism, we often need to build a student’s repertoire of language by scaffolding skills. We use visual symbols and, if the student is verbal, teach them the corresponding words as we show them what the symbols and words mean. For instance, when we show them the visual for “dry hands”, we do the activity. Sometimes, we have multiple steps for activities (taking off winter clothes can involve a ridiculous amount of symbols/words!). The process is long, but over time, it is hoped that the student may themselves either point to the visual symbol to request an item/activity, or they may use the words alone.

I have been working with a particular student for 4 months on requesting preferred activities, such as “go upstairs” (which really means go upstairs for a walk), or “go sensory room” or “snack”. For the past two weeks, this student has been under the weather, but still coming to school and consequently often exhibiting challenging behaviours. Yesterday, not only was the student back to their typical happy demeanor, but the student also made a request to do something we had never done and used words in a series that had never been modeled together. This is such a significant step.

It literally was the most exciting thing to happen in a very long time.

So when asked “rock baby, sensory room” (meaning take the toy baby to the sensory room and rock it in the swing), I took my student’s hand and rushed to the sensory room and helped make sure that request was fulfilled.

And while “rock baby, sensory room” was happening, I sat in another rocking chair in the sensory room and let some of the challenges of the last two weeks melt away.

Sometimes, like in the photo above, it’s important to look at the little things that work together to make things beautiful.

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9 Comments

      1. A lot of quotes I “hear” which I write down. I love Rumi as well.

        I love your work and I also saw, you are a special person in who are you. Bless you for helping others. I know too well, how exhausting helping others can be. I seem to be having one of those days myself. I never get a day off, and with all I put out on my blog, I’m just needing somene to step in and say, “hey, I’ll do it.” LOL (((HUGS))), Amy

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  1. What a beautiful story! Sounds like this child is blossoming with all the help he is getting. What a rewarding job this must be, even if there are many difficult days. I love flowers! This is a beautiful blog, I’m glad I discovered it from Leanne Cole’s blog.

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    1. Thanks for coming by and commenting as well.

      Yes, the job can be very rewarding, and also challenging. Education is a tricky place to be these days!

      It was so wonderful to be featured on Leanne’s blog!

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  2. Reblogged this on (mom)ents and commented:

    After seeing many of my peers last night, I was reminded of the work done in special needs everyday. Hard but rewarding work, done by people with dedication to the success of students.

    Don’t let anyone make you believe it’s all about the money.

    Like

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