A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to go hang out with my daughter in Vancouver for a long weekend. As has always been her nature, the weekend was jam-packed with activities and friends and school….but we did take a moment to watch the sunset.
Yes, that’s a line from a Justin Bieber song. I hear that song every day, Monday to Friday. One of the students I support LOVES it. The student often bursts into song, singing loudly. At moments that some consider inappropriate. Like circle time, when the teacher is taking attendance or reading a book. Or in the washroom. Full blast. It was, actually, the first thing I ever heard the student say. Other times, when the student needs calming, I call it up on my phone and play it. Justin Bieber is one of my least favourite role models, but he is part of one of my most successful strategies: redirecting.
When I began working with this particular student, last September, the student was never in the classroom for more than 1-2 minutes at a time. There were rarely interactions in any way, verbal or otherwise, with other students or staff.
Yesterday, this little bunny sat on the carpet and played alongside other students. The day before, the student commented appropriately (meaning within the context and addressing another student) during a spontaneous conversation. I did not support or prompt the student in either of these interactions.
I firmly believe that it takes a village to raise a child. With few exceptions, the other students in our class are very accepting of differences. Our staff are part of the support and teaching team, including our custodian who each day makes a point to interact with the student and often will come along at just the right moment to offer encouragement in daily activities. They have a greeting routine that would melt your heart.
And, to quote a more age appropriate song, THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT.
I hope that, like this student, spring will blossom soon!
Tomorrow is Epilepsy Awareness Day and the colour to wear is PURPLE. I will be wearing purple to raise awareness and to honour my daughter’s friend, Aimee, who passed away five years ago. I never met Aimee, but I know that she was a very wonderful, caring person who had a smile that could light up a room.