Thursday, April 11, 2013

Our Journey with Asperger Syndrome: Second Grade set up success

First grade was tremendously challenging for Mancub as his teacher was determined to teach him in the  cookie cutter manner she'd always used. What I mean by that is her belief was that children would bend to her will and fall in line. I am quite certain my son wasn't the first child she encountered that required accommodations yet she behaved as if he was the first child to enter her class with an Individualized Education Program.

Mancub's second grade teacher fell from the heavens. She seemed to truly understand his mind and his moods. She was the kind of teacher who remained flexible in teaching lessons. Her methods were not rigorous yet her style was structured. By the end of the first quarter she shared that all the kids seemed to benefit from Mancub's accommodations from time to time.

 My son really blossomed in second grade and found that he could achieve academically. He joined the Science Club. His socialization skills improved. The club had many field trips which I was able to chaperone. We had a true spirit of camaraderie. Teacher/parent/student all working together. By the end of that year Mancub was awarded the Science Club MVP Award, as well as, the more prestigious Principal's Most Improved Student Award. The school housed K-4, I believe. So, receiving that award was truly remarkable.

In addition to Science Club, Mancub participated in a course that taught him proper manners from how to introduce himself to etiquette when ordering in a restaurant. Much of the focus when working with Mrs. Barton, the resource teacher, was behavior modification and self soothing that was less disruptive to those around him. Coping skills were shared with me so we could have the same momentum at home.

Having many breakthroughs in second grade set up Mancub for success for the remaining years of school. Sure, we had set backs. Every student does.

It was very difficult to bid farewell to second grade. I had such anxiety that third grade would be too much disruption because the teacher may not have the same style as in second grade. However, I was assured that communication between the two teachers would be consistent. Mancub would not be left to flounder. I had to let go of my fears and trust that all would be well ... and by that following school year my angst would be put to rest.

 This is a tad off course, but within the subject matter. My sister hosts a web radio show and invited me to be a special guest to discuss my perspective of raising a child with Asperger Syndrome. There's a bit of babbling on my part as I didn't know what to expect nor did I realize just how much I had to say. Bear with my rambling thoughts and listen to this special dedication for Autism Awareness Month.

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