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[teacherartexchange] help with an autistic student

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From: Jayna Huffines (jayna_99_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed May 10 2006 - 19:10:41 PDT


I think someone began a thread recently about getting
help with teaching art to an autistic group, but my
issues are a little different. I am doing pretty well
with teaching the new kid in class, Joe, about the
concepts we are learning, it's dealing with Joe's
limited social capabilities and his downright refusal
to clean up after himself that is wearing us all down.
Joe is in a class of about 22 8th graders who know me
well and are quite aware of my expectations as far as
being responsible and respectful. Joe quits working
about 20 minutes before the end of class and wanders
around the room making messes and then denying that he
does it. I've had conversations with him letting him
know how unfair it is to expect others to clean up
after him and how it is time for him to take
responsibility. I've asked him if I need to call his
mom to tell her that he is not participating in my
class, but that has only encouraged him to be sneakier
about the trail he's leaving! Our class had an awesome
atmosphere before Joe joined us a couple months ago,
and now kids are constantly whining, telling me "Mrs.
H, Joe dumped pencil shavings all over the table and
now he has the pencil sharpener in his pocket" or "Joe
is sticking a paintbrush down in the drain and playing
with the water". I hesitate to call him out on this
behavior because I know that he doesn't really have
the mental capabilities to resist the cool stuff and
potential messes in my room, and I do not want to
single him out or discourage him because he has had
successes in art and seems to enjoy the class. Tactics
I've already tried include suggesting improvements on
his pieces, asking him to help me organize things, and
encouraging him to finish projects he's started. He
often tries to get out of doing things he simply
doesn't feel like doing, and I believe it is because
teachers have let him get away with it in the past out
of fear of violating the terms on his IEP. Any
suggestions on how I can keep everyone happy and
working?

Jayna

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