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Re: [teacherartexchange] Autistic Group


From: Christine Besack (mrsbeeswax_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Sep 01 2006 - 06:23:20 PDT

Hi Julie,
I have an almost identical situation. I just smiled when I read your post.

I have 9 autistic students half K and half 2nd grade, coming with a 1st
grade class. The first time they had Art with me was yesterday. They were
scheduled to come with their appropriate grade levels k and 2 separately BUT
....... changes had to be made due to numerous scheduling problems. (never a
dull moment, and this is only the first week of school !!!!!!) And they
suddenly showed up all nine with a first grade class.
(and 2 assistants , required by their IEP's) The district has been great
about enforcing the fact that assistants are required to come to specials
with the students.

This is mainstreaming required by the state, and the first year that our
students are in regular ed homerooms. The scheduling of this for
specialists, assistants that come with the classes, lunches etc. has been a

I requested that for the first few classes that the students sit as a group
at 2 tables near the door to the hall. (in case they have to go out of the
classroom) This is easier for the assistants to do their thing, and for me
to go over to them quietly as I am a new face to them. (loud noise can be a
big factor with Autistic students)

I had them do exactly what the 1st grade was doing, a crayon self portrait.
(I say "Draw a picture of you" , a big bunch of words for that is " Self
Portrait" ) I tell them to leave some extra room on their paper, because
they will have to add at least 2 more things to their picture. Later after
they have gotten started, I tell them to "draw an animal bigger than them on
their paper" This is always a sure fire winner for the first day of Art.
While they draw these familiar images I can walk around mentally assessing
their levels, look at their crayon grip, begin to learn their names, and see
how they are socially interacting in their randomly assigned groups. The
animal part always sparks great conversations between little ones who might
not be otherwise grouped together any other time.

If their is time left we talk about adding their favorite food for
themselves, and also something to eat for their animal.
They "cannot eat the animal and the animal cannot eat them !!!!" One of the
autistic kids drew a creature, when I asked them to tell me about it , they
proudly said "It's a Brachiosaurus". Knocked me out, I was grinning from ear
to ear. Other students drew giraffes, elephants bears. If I am running
really short they add an animal smaller than them also !!!

When they are done they write their name on the back,( for K, I have 2x3''
name tags that were stuck with rolled tape on the back, on the tables to
tell them where to sit that day, and I stick them to the back of their

I hope this helps, any advice is always greatly appreciated.
Christine Besack :)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Julie Jacobusse" <>
To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group"
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 8:50 PM
Subject: [teacherartexchange] Autistic Group

> Hey all! I need your input. I have a Kindergaden class of 18 that has
> been scheduled along with an autistic class of 8 all together for 40
> minutes. The K class is the neediest of all the K classes. Some can
> not write their names and at least 5 have behavior problems and do not
> follow directions. The autistic group ages range from K-5th grades.
> Most are well behaved, 1 walks around the room, one makes a lot of
> noises and distracts others. There is one that is very talented in art
> and loves to draw-I know I have seen autistic kids art and love it. I
> have my classroom set up in a U shape. The autistic teacher wanted all
> 8 of her students to sit at 2 of my color tables and then the other K
> students all sit at the other 4 color groups. The last few classes seem
> to have been going better, however clean-up needs to get better. In all
> my other classes I have 1 color table clean and pick up supplies while
> the others sit quietly. I can't do this with this class, so last time I
> said I was looking for helpers and had a few K students clean, but then
> the autistic kids got confused. Some of the K kids with held supplies
> from those picking up and then were later yelling-here is another red
> crayon accross the room, etc. I am considering having the autistic kids
> line up while the K kids clean up. I e-mailed the autistic teacher and
> she said her kids are capable of doing the clean-up, however the 2 para
> pro's that come in with them said maybe 1 or 2 were. The para's only
> sit and stay with the autistic students. I feel like I have 2 different
> classes all in the same class and want to bring it together since they
> are meeting together. All of my other classes are going great, but I am
> still concerned about this group and want it to be a good expereince for
> all of us. I tried to change the schedule, but according to my
> principal, this is the only way. If any of you have lesson ideas or
> suggestions about clean-up let me know.
> I have enjoyed reading all of your posts and value your insights.
> Thanks,
> Julie in Georgia
> PS-First day of school was August 3, last day is the last full week of
> May-sometimes first few days of June.
> >
> >
> ---
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