I got a call from an old colleague the other day asking about a student who couldn't read. Along the course of the conversation she mentioned that the student couldn't really sit still or attend.
Stop. Hold the presses.
One of the great challenges individuals with extra special needs present to us is knowing where to begin. We can feel such pressure when an individual is "behind" peers. That we sometimes start where the peers are- they are tying shoes... ok student with special needs must tie shoes too. They are reading in groups, student with special needs must read in groups. It makes great sense... at the same time where we need to start, is where the student is. This doesn't mean we stop setting goals far in advance of where the student currently is... but it does mean that we invest in the steps to get there.
I think of this great quote often, "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." -Henry David Thoreau.
We need to dream big dreams for our children, and we need to spend equal amounts of time considering the small foundational, irreplaceable steps to get there. And while it may seem that we loose time by doing this in my experience we gain it.
What if we were to spend all our energy creating a reading program for a student who couldn't attend to a person? We would have a beautiful reading program that completely missed the step the student needed to benefit from it.
So Tuesday Tool Box- be a detective for the small steps that may be missing and required to reach a goal. Often even the simplest goal is much more complex to attain that we may give it credit for.
"My approach to intervention is rooted in respect for child development and focuses on making the mundane meaningful, looking at daily interactions as opportunities for learning and growth while respecting the uniqueness of the individual and family. It’s about setting high expectations for long term quality of life and relationships for individuals on the spectrum and implementing a specific and doable plan to get there one step at a time.”
– Lauren Wilson, LCSW, RDI® Program Certified Consultant