Timmy, a recently admitted student at Pace School, is attending Extended School Year (ESY). Timmy’s former Pace classroom included a group of students much like himself – high functioning, verbal ASD children. ESY, however, has provided Timmy the opportunity to learn with and about students challenged by disabilities including auditory processing issues, social and emotional challenges and limited cognitive functioning.
As one of the most gregarious students in the class, Timmy has assumed the role of social ambassador. Initially, staff thought that Timmy’s peers would be the primary beneficiaries in this effort. However, Timmy has blossomed into a concerned co-worker, encourager and understanding friend!
Timmy’s mornings look something like this:
9AM – Morning Routine (greet peers, put away backpack, greet classroom staff, sign-in, eat breakfast and complete seatwork).
John, who is practicing greeting skills, shakes Timmy’s hand and asks, “How are you?” Though such an exchange seems odd to Timmy (9 year olds rarely shake hands), he responds graciously. On the way to breakfast, Timmy helps a classmate stay in line by quietly guiding him back into place. Timmy and his friends like to listen to music in the morning. Timmy brings a favorite CD into the classroom so that everyone can enjoy music during breakfast.
9:20 – Morning Play (social time)
Timmy moves the legos and cars to the community table for group play. Timmy notices John has not joined the group and calls him over, pulling out the chair to show him where to sit. Soon, all the students are engaged in play at the table when Andy, a very active student with a communication deficit, accidentally runs into Timmy. Timmy knows just what do to – he makes eye contact and waits for staff to intervene. Timmy responds to Andy’s apology with “That’s OK, Buddy”, and goes on playing.
9:40 – Community Meeting
Timmy circles up with the rest of his class for community meeting. Everyone takes turns asking and answering three questions: 1. How do you feel? 2. What is your personal goal? 3. Who can help you? Timmy responds with enthusiasm when peers and staff ask for his help in achieving their goals. He really means it when he says “I’ll help you today!”
10:00 – 12:00 Academics!
~written by Special Education Teacher Carol Burgman