This is a concept close to my heart. I’ve covered this in earlier blogs too.
Every time I think about it or interact with parents, new dimensions of respect come up.
Recently, I did a webinar entitled- How to teach your child or student respectfully.
While creating the presentation, I looked up the meaning of ‘respectfully’ in the dictionary.
This is what we came up with.
Respectfully describes words and actions that show honor and worth. When people behave respectfully toward one another, they are polite and take the other people’s feelings into consideration.
Key words that stood out for me.
Take the other person’s feelings into consideration
I want you to think of your child or student/s.
Do you apply all of this with them?
Do you treat her or him with respect to make them feel honored, worthy, speak politely and take their feelings into consideration?
Yes, I’m talking about your autistic student. The one you may feel doesn’t understand or take anything in.
In the course of the webinar, a few questions came up.
I’d like to share 5 of those with you.
1. I teach 1st grade and have a boy in my class on the spectrum. I’m teaching 2nd grade next school year and decided to keep him in my class along with my other kids. He’s sweet, but likes to touch others. I have to separate him so he won’t touch or bother them. He has to be in the front of the line with me so he doesn’t touch them. He also has to sit with space from others because he will move around and touch them if he sits with a group. He also doesn’t listen to older kids when we do reading buddies. I’m thinking I’ll have to be his reading buddy until he can behave with the older kids. Are there any strategies you would recommend? I want the other kids in my class to be comfortable without being touched and I want to have an enjoyable second year with him and my students. Thank you for your wonderful article and for any ideas you may have!
Answer: Thank you for being the wonderful teacher you are.
I can see how you care about this little boy and the other students in your class too.
I would advise you to conduct a thorough observation.
When does this little boy engage in touching? Does it happen through out the day or is it more pronounced at certain times of the day?
Behavior sometimes serves as communication. What is he trying to say?
How well does he regulate in other circumatances? Are there any other behavior issues.
I would recommend the RDI Program for his parents.
If you let me know which state you’re from, I would be happy to suggest an RDI Consultant.
When ever you feel he’s not paying attention, can a shadow teacher or aide take him for a walk or engage him with a simple ball play and then bring him back to the classroom?
This would help his attention and learning a great deal.
I look forward to hearing back from you. Do let me know if you have other concerns.
2. Academics- my child loves pictures but does not like to look at words. Can I teach words?
– Parent from Kerala
I have had the good fortune of watching this 7 year old in action.
He’s amazing with his tablet and his AVAZ app.
He can select pictures in an array of 4 to fill in the blanks, but is not too interested in words.
Here was my response:
Most definitely we can teach your son words by using a transfer procedure.
First: engage in an activity such as making juice.
You can type sentences to encode this activity and then let him choose pictures to complete the sentence.
Do a brief table top activity where you connect the word to the picture (example- mango) in a very playful manner. Do this without putting the child on the spot, with the sole intent to create a connection in the brain.
After he’s comfortable watching you, invite him to make a match.
If he chooses not to- it’s okay.
Our sole intention is to show him how the two- word and picture go together.
Give him time. Repeatedly do this in a non stress environment.
Continue to be invitational. When he’s ready he will make the match himself.
The base of this kind of work is presuming intellect.
It’s as if you’re saying to your child, I know you can do this. I’m just connecting the dots for you.
Eventually, he will be able to fill sentences with words rather than pictures alone.
Do try these steps and let me know how it went.
3. My child is very hyperactive. He runs around all the time. I was told to tie him to a chair to improve concentration.
– A Worried Mother
Answer: Tying a child to a chair is a strict no- no.
Remember behavior is communication.
Try to understand why your child is doing this.
Record his behavior. Are there times of the day when he is more hyperactive?
Does he get enough physical activity?
At this lockdown period, it’s even more difficult to get enough physical activity for your child.
Tying a child to a chair is extremely disrespectful. Please don’t do this.
Don’t sacrifice your child’s dignity.
I’ll be happy to support you in every way I can.
4. My student is 7 year.. Not able to understand concept of greater no… Tried various methods,He know additon, increasing order
He don’t like sound of rhyme .. He puts his hand on ears.. But loves to watch cartoons
– A Worried Teacher
There is more than 1 question here.
I’ll start with the latter half of the question.
When your student covers his ears it probably means he’s sound sensitive. If he loves ‘watching’ cartoons, he’s more inclined towards learning visually.
Can you apply experience based concepts of teaching math concepts?
Have you tried with actual objects?
Teach him in an environment which is less noisy.
Regulation techiques through RDI will help.
These techniques are explained in depth in my ebook.
Do reach out via email, if you’d like to order a copy.
Please reach out if you have further questions.
5. How RDI training helps to kid who is functional, verbal, good receptive and understand everything.,My son want to write everything on paper whatever he heard new. He want to draw or write steps
– A curious Mother
I’m glad to hear your child is doing well with verbal and receptive language.
When he indicates that he wants everything written on paper- whether by drawing or writing steps, he’s expressing his style of learning and making sense of the world.
Please do respect his learning style.
At the same time, you can include an auditory sentence to the written steps.
This will help him link auditory to visual.
Over a period of time, he will be able to take in auditory cues as well.
We need to support every child where they are and how they learn.
RDI will help to train you to guide and understand your child.
You can establish a wonderful guiding relationship with your child and remediate the core deficits of autism.
Please check out the following websites
Thank you for this wonderful question.
Respect should be the first step of educating your autistic child or student.
Listen to autistic individuals.
They have plenty to share.
“The most interesting people you’ll find are ones that don’t fit into your average cardboard box. They’ll make what they need, they’ll make their own boxes.”
-Dr. Temple Grandin
What distinguishes a truly humane educator is the ability to treasure, love and work hard on behalf of the students as though they were one own’s children.
– Dr Daisaku Ikeda
Over to you dear parents and teachers.
The ball is in your court.