The first day of student teaching in the first period I observed a child named ‘Kyle. ’ Kyle seemed to get out of his seat even after my mentor teacher asked him to sit in his seat. He was at the front of the class very close to where the teacher taught. After a few times of this he growled at the teacher. I could tell that he was different than the typical student because of his constant interruptions. I found out after the class Kyle was autistic and had behavior problems. I also found out he was operating at an age level of 6 to 7 years old.
This behavior happened often so all the 7th grade teachers composed a chart for Kyle to reward him for staying on task but didn’t seem to work. Kyle is interested in science, playing the Nintendo-DS, and riding his four-wheeler. He likes to make people laugh and he does not like homework because it is too hard to explain to his Grandparents, and he does not like writing. He likes science because he gets to do hands on experiments and cooking. His legal guardians are his Grandparents. On February 14th, I was able to see many parents and some students at the parent teacher conference. ‘Kyle’s ‘Nan’ came in.
I learned that Kyle’s parents were divorced and both tried raising him but could not handle it. He was treated very badly with each of his parents and they finally decided to sign over custody to Nan and Pop. I also noticed Nan was very nice and put together and later found out is very wealthy. The grandparents have committed to Kyle and with him for the long run, which is very good for him because before he did not have the security or care and spent most of his time alone in his room and even in a tent outside before his Grandparents came. Since he went between both parents (divorced) and neither could handle him he felt abandoned.
He is very happy with his Nan and Pop, and is somewhat scared he might be abandoned again. Kyle’s Nan assured us and her Grandson that they weren’t going anywhere and I believe this has helped Kyle tremendously. Under characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Autism is a developmental disability, life-long, and behaviorally defined. It is not a mental or emotional illness or curable, and is most certainly not the saw set of behaviors in all people. Kyle needs organization and does not do well without schedules and routines.
His emotions can jump very quickly especially with playful 7th graders and ometimes needs to step away from the situation or activity to take a breath. After planning a unit of Roman civilization there were a few of the assignments I made modifications to specifically help Kyle. The note-taking assignment was to be used throughout the unit. I provided a map on the note-taking sheet and asked them to label the map before the unit test. My original objective was after discussion, visual notes, and reading from the textbook, 7th grade history students would write down on their note-taking assignments important events, names, and/or vocabulary with 100% accuracy.
Students were graded on participation and Kyle’s modification was at least one to two words that were important, and small verbal answers to my questions. As long as he wrote one word down whether it be a famous person, I then asked him to briefly explain why it was important. Since he does not writing, I minimized the writing and asked to explain. Each time I used his assignment, 5 in total, he completed it with at least 90% accuracy. When I taught Roman Numerals and gave a worksheet I modified Kyles. The students were to complete the worksheet with 90% accuracy, after the lesson.
With Kyle’s, I crossed out 6 of 12 problems, and he was able to complete these 6 problems with 100% accuracy. Working with numbers seemed easy to him, because he did not any help. Since Kyle needs routine I tried to provide that by reminding all the students to take out their note-taking sheets every day. Even if I was not grading for participation I checked to make sure all students had written at least a little bit. I believe by providing this routine he was able to do well on this assignment. Once I graded Kyle’s note-taking sheet with map, he had all labels on his map.
This also made me believe he liked the visual map and being able to see countries, bodies of water, and cities. I will use a map in the next unit as well. Besides his assignments I had a few objectives I wanted Kyle to accomplish but with no punishment if they were not met. After a gladiator video we watched together, Kyle’s objective was to state the main idea of the video with 80% accuracy, and since it was verbal he was able to correctly state the main idea. Another objective he was able to reach was to transition appropriately from tasks and activities and school environments 80% of the time given visual and verbal prompts.
This objective was met 6 out of 8 times throughout the unit. Overall, a big objective for Kyle was to follow classroom rules and directives given visual and verbal prompts 90% of the time. He was able to reach slightly under 90% of the time in the class I taught but this was a yearlong objective that all his teachers participated in. Finally, it is so important that Autistic children have structure, routine, and praise. In Kyle’s case he did not like writing which is an important part in history.
By reducing his assignments, asking for verbal answers instead of written answers, verbally reminding everyone to stay on task, and providing written and verbal instructions, I was able to meet my objectives through the assessments. Overall I believe my objectives for history were met with the entire class and through Kyle through modified assessments. Kyle now says hi to me every day, and likes to briefly chat with me, which I am very happy with.
Courtney from Study Moose
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