Wednesday, November 28, 2012

i miss my word wall (and other improbable utterances)

I think that using "slack" as an adjective at this point would be a gross understatement.
I'm here. It's been chill in my neck of the woods, kiddo-wise, until this week. Someone came back from Thanksgiving break with a major issue, but we're . . . adjusting. I have t-minus 6 observable days in my observation cycle and NO ONE has come to observe. No one.
But here's a few updates. . .
One: When I was small, I hated the word wall in my classroom. It was evil. Imagine you are a gifted seven year old who learned to read whole-language style. You read on an eighth grade level, but can't really spell. Your teacher's brilliant solution: use the word wall! The word wall that you cannot see, because you are severely visually impaired. Even if you stood right at the wall, you still can't read most of the words. . . not that it matters, though, since you're not allowed to leave your seat. Because your teacher does not comprehend that you cannot see. You're young, of course you can see! She's "old" and has bifocals, and she can still see the words!
(Just to note, I've worn bifocals/progressives for quite a while and I can't even pass for mid-twenties most days. I have no idea why people persist in the ridiculous idea that young people have "good eyes.")
Our word wall was unceremoniously ripped down this year. Good riddance, I thought. . . but I miss it. Miss, miss, miss it. I want it back, but I really don't have enough wall space now. Hmmmm.
Two: Normally, I pride myself on being stim-friendly. My class is mostly kids with emotional disabilities, but I also have some HFA/Aspergers littles. Which is actually my fave, because I'm usually down with their worldview. They speak my language, where as sometimes I have to decode and translate what my ED littles are trying to tell me. But, yeah. Normally, let's stim away.
I mean, unless it's super inappropriate.
But bring on the flapping.
(One of my ED kids the other day: "miss, why do you do that with your fingers all the time?" Oops. Caught.)
I'm all anti-quiet-hands and let's-just-fake-eye-contact-if-absolutely-needed. But one of my littles is driving me up the wall. He does not stop moving. And if he worked while he did it, I would not care. Spin yourself silly all you want, if you can still get your work done. But it doesn't help him focus. All the interventions I've tried, all the OT's suggestions . . . Nothing.
And as much as I want to continue not fighting the stimming battle, except with the occasional replacement behavior, I am seriously tempted to just- stop. Sit. Do not get up until that next movement break. Stop spinning your erasers. Do not walk like that.
And then I feel conflicted. Because on one hand, I said I'd never do that. My first grade teacher got me to stop walking like that by shaming me in the hallway daily until I stopped. My mom texted me about a billion times before my job interview to remind me to at least look like I was making eye contact. My friend the ex-ABA therapist nearly slapped my hands down in a store a few weeks ago. "Are you waving to someone? Quit!" I won't do that to a kid.
But am I really helping this kid by not insisting on sitting properly to work? At this point, I think no.
My other littles, who happily expound on their special interests and fidget and flap as they diligently work, don't get any redirection from me when they get stimmy. But as much as I'll wave my neurodiversity flag high and promote Austin acceptance, am I doing right by them? By not insisting on complete conformity, am I preparing my littles for the world that I wish existed, rather than the one that is really out there?