Day #38 – Teamwork

Some simple rules I learned early on:

You are not alone.

Recognize you are not an expert, but always trust your gut.

Work WITH the team.

While I have given 37 days tricks, experiences, and thoughts – the real ‘thing’ is the spectrum itself. Every child is different – so there isn’t a ‘mold’ that will work for every child with Autism.  I am an expert at helping my child, my husband helped me understand that I know best for him.  I am not an expert at helping yours, but if any of what I have found helps you – then that is my current and continued goal.

Great outcomes come when all the people that surround the child work together.  Autism’s ‘symbol’ (of sorts) is a puzzle piece. Why?  Not because all of the children on the spectrum are good at puzzles (although Tucker is a total whiz bang) but because Autism is a mystery.  I have a piece, his classroom teacher has a piece, his special education teacher has a piece, his coaches have a piece – when we all work together – amazing things can (and do) happen.

In 5th Grade…
I get a call from the lovely Mrs. Anderson.  “Tucker was getting ornery and obstinate in the afternoon.  Is there anything I could think of?  Was he telling me anything at home?”

I asked, “Does it happen every day around the same time.  If so, what time?”  About 1:00.  Then, I started thinking.  Think. Think. Think.  What could it be?  Self, you know him best – what could be eating at him.

Oh wait…

“What time does he eat lunch?”

“They eat right after 11.”

“Oh well,  he’s hungry.”

I know this seems simplistic and silly – but it’s not.  There are SO many things that these children are trying to process to simply survive…so Tucker often doesn’t recognize if he’s hungry or full, tired or awake, hot or cold (all of that will be covered in a future post).  So, I proposed that we tried giving him a snack in-between classes.  Guess what?  It worked.

In 7th Grade…

I received a message from his Literacy teacher a couple of weeks ago, he was having trouble understanding point of view.  He took the test three times and could not pass.  This frustrated Mrs. Peterson (who is also lovely).  Why?  Because she’s a good teacher.  Because she wants to help him.  She wants him to learn.  She wants the best for him.

Well, of course he was struggling.  Remember (Day #36 – My Attorney)?  Exactly – his point of view is his own.  While he has the ability to empathize with others – he has difficulty understanding something from a different point of view.  He doesn’t really ‘get’ fiction.

She asked, “Do you have any ideas – I know you’ve asked us to contact you the second we are struggling to reach him.”

Then, I started thinking.  Think. Think. Think.  What could WE do?  Self, you know him best.

I sure do.  I sure do know what to do – for my sports lover.  Use the Vikings…then it becomes something that is concrete, something real. (Disclosure:  This was before AP’s naughtiness)

1st person (personal point of view) – “I am the greatest running back in the NFL.” (Adrian Peterson)
2nd person (another’s point of view) – Norv Turner (Vikings Offensive Coordinator) “Adrian, you are the greatest running back in the NFL.”
3rd limited (a narrator who focuses on a character)- Kirby Wilson (Running Backs Coach) – this isn’t necessarily a dialogue – but the idea that Coach Wilson most likely spends the most time with Adrian.  Even though there are other ‘players’ on the team, he focuses on Adrian.
3rd objective (the viewpoint of someone outside of the story)- Pete Bercich (Vikings Analyst) “Well, there must be a better plan for AP this Sunday than there was last Sunday.”
3rd omniscient (all-knowing narrator)- Mike Zimmer (head coach) knows all.
Honesty – I had no idea who Norv Turner, Kirby Wilson, Mike Zimmer, or Pete Bercich were.  You know what I know how to use?  Google.  I know, it’s remarkable…really.
Guess what happened?  She retaught in a way he could understand and he received a 9/10 on the test.
These are just two examples – I have many, many more that I will tell over the course of this blog.  Why?  Because I believe in working together – for the benefit of the child.  It is not about me or my pride, it is not about blaming him or his teachers or school – it is about recognizing his needs and difficulties and all of us working together to do what is best for him.
One last idea in promoting teamwork with the folks who work with our children?  Never underestimate the power of a sincere ‘thank you’ and a fresh-baked plate of cookies….
That’s simply a plate of magic. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Day #38 – Teamwork

  1. Pingback: Day #55 – Field Testing Proprioception | 366 Days of Autism

  2. Pingback: Day #62 – Act of Conferencing | 366 Days of Autism

  3. Pingback: Day #147 – You Wanna Brush My What? | 366 Days of Autism

  4. Pingback: Day #327 – Indexing | 366 Days of Autism

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