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Listen to the children


From: Judy Decker (jdecker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jul 04 2001 - 23:17:33 PDT

I learned a lot today from a story told by my "Momma Doo" (name changed for
her protection---she is the "mother" of my girlfriend).

You never know when there might be a story to share. She has an autistic
grandchild, but he is not autistic all the time. She told me what he does
that exhibits autism. He smells things....all things...I said Good for him!
We should all take time to smell the things around us" (what are those
smells telling us?). She said he freezes up and clenches his fist when he is
in the bath tub or bathing. I said that is OK...Help him through that fear.
Something happened sometime in his life that causes him to fear the water.
Try to find out what the fear is and relieve him of that fear. I know my own
mother would not go near the water because she was nearly drowned as a child
by "bullies". The child freezes up when he is near the other grandparents'
bird.....that was an easy one....just remove the bird from the child's
environment. I have a sister in law who is afraid of birds...she just goes
inside to get away from them.

When I read about Autism when I was younger....I thought to myself "sounds
like that could be me".....I use to be able to learn real well just by
listening to what was said --I lost that skill....I used to be able to read
something once and remember what I read-- I lost that skill though (I now
have to read over and over).....Now I learn very well by looking at
images ---images have made history come alive. And now I make sense of my
life with the symbols I read. You better believe there are different
learning styles. Do what you can to reach all children. I met an autistic
boy while substitute teaching....His messages to us was to slow down and
take some time to enjoy things-- Our lives are like 30 second
commercials --channel surfing -- always on the go (he recited things over
and over very fast). I am glad I slowed down enough to listen. We don't
often take time to listen we make kids say it very fast. Give the
children the "time of day"....If they talk too fast to you. Maybe it is
because folks don't take time to listen? People always used to say my real
sister talked too fast...I always said they needed to listen faster then
because she had a lot to say.

I hope all enjoyed your independence day as much as I enjoyed mine.
How many of you only had to hear the fireworks today to enjoy your fourth?
How many of you were called down to your computer by your son's cello music?
Did the spirit move Matt to give his mother a lullaby?

My "Mission" is not Impossible...My mission is to improve our world through
education.....through this forum we can help others solve "other peoples
problems"--educating the children of tomorrow. If you do not think god
"talks" to me and I talk to him -- then you are a bigger fool than I.
Next time I doubt his word.....I will wonder who is answering your prayers.
(this is not a threat---just know that I will never doubt the word of my god
again). My son and husband are my witnesses. Let him do his job this time.

Judy Decker