Okay, Okay, Okay

I swear I do more than drink & party! Since being back at Northeastern, I've been on my co-op at Cabot Elementary school. It's been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had, and I've only been there for about three weeks. At Cabot, students in the Special Education program are integrated into "regular" classrooms. 
For the past two weeks I've been helping students who haven't been permanently placed with their aides yet. As of late, I was working with a fourth grade girl who has Prader Willi Syndrome. PWS affects the hypothalamus. In her case she needs consistency. For instance, she has to know the schedule for her day, and will often get upset if anything changes, or she can't finish a project. She also has to know who she is going to sit with during different activities, ad if she doesn't it also causes her anxiety. She has to be talked to with a high, excitable voice, and cannot be really yelled at because that also causes her distress. Amongst other issues with food and a high pain tolerance, she needs help while doing classwork, and gets frustrated during harder tasks, or when she feels as though you're touching HER stuff.
When I first started working with her, I was kind of thrown into it, and felt a tad overwhelmed because I had never worked with a special eduction student. After one day, I was automatically in love. She worked everyday for three stickers as her reward, and when she had a good day, I had an even better one. Although I'm not her permanent aide, and one has been hired, I'm still very involved with her, her mother, and get to help her newer aide when she has "glitches" during the day. I'm so happy to have met her. It really #1 makes me appreciate my health, and those around me. #2 It makes me say "Simone shut the FUCK up" when I'm having a bad day because of something so small and trivial.
Today I worked with another third grader who has what I think is a form of Autism. She is non-verbal, and has just started making sounds this year. She can read to herself, understand what you are saying when you are speaking to her, spell, understand and point at answers to questions, and can readily do math. It's quite amazing. However, her parents have  never heard her utter a word, which break my heart. Today she was answering the Speech Pathologist's questions by spelling the answers on an alphabet board, and it really blew my mind. Alot of teachers just push these children aside and think their disabilities will get in the way of them ever learning anything (even children who are deemed "bad" too), but that couldn't be more far from the truth. I really like the school I'm at because I'm learning more and more everyday, and I'm happy to be in an environment with such a diverse population of children.

No comments: