I am an early childhood teacher in a class of 9 Autistic children from the ages of 3-5 in an inclusive program with typical children. I have one student this school year that has been a great challenge for me (she is 4) but she shows me everyday how much she really understands, and how she communicates with us. This is her story!
We were reading a book during an apple unit. The book was about apple orchards. One student of mine was screaming, singing at the top of her lungs as we sat at circle and read this story. We tried everything to get her to quiet down by showing her pictures of being quiet to verbally telling her it is not time to sing.
We had not even gotten through the story and she had to be removed from the activity. She independently went to an area in the classroom, got out a marker and some paper and began to draw. She had never done this before.
She drew the most amazing story of her own. It was a story of apple orchards three pages long with the most amazing detail from a full drawn bicycle with a person on it, a tree with the green and red apples, a person climbing the tree, picking apples and then climbing back down. She proved to me that she did understand the whole concept of our story she just could not demonstrate her knowledge in a large group with many other students around.
After that the other students transitioned to the next activity. She finished her story and handed it to me. She said, ” Schrubbe, I know”. I got goose bumps all over and began to cry! I couldn’t believe that I had finally broken through to her! I was so excited!
From this point on this child has shown me her strengths through her drawing. She even writes stories of how she may handle stressful situations and through her stories I have been able to help her better! I hope you find this as exciting and enlightening as I did!
By Betsy Schrubbe
* Stories From the Heart is an ongoing series of user contributed heart warming stories, that shine light on the Autism experience.