Autism Teacher: Ride it out for the rest of the year?????

Are you an autism teacher?

I was consulting with Eric’s family last week.  Things are not going well.  Parent-teacher conferences reveal that his behavior is getting worse.  His participation in the classroom is not good.  Teacher is getting worn out.

Here is their concern
What parents are really worried about is that the teacher is going to “give up.”  They are afraid she is just going to “ride out the rest of the year.”  You know. . . stop trying, ignore Eric and let him “do his thing” and just focus on the rest of the kids in the room.

Not good
I understand why they are troubled.   There are three more months of school. That’s a long time.  A lot can be learned in three months. . . .both good and bad.

I understand the teacher’s fatigue
She has tried a few things to manage Eric’s behavior.  Here’s the problem.  What she is trying hasn’t worked.  Now she doesn’t know what to do.

I looked at his schedule and behavior chart.  It doesn’t surprise me that those tools are not working.  They look like they were created more for the teacher’s record keeping to send home to parents than for changing Eric’s behavior in the classroom.

It seems like she has run out of ideas
The teacher is trying.  But “something on paper” is different than a visual tool that actually works.  This teacher needs an energy boost so she can finish the school year successfully.

It’s NOT too late
It’s never too late.  In fact, I hear from many therapists, teachers and parents about sudden, dramatic changes in behavior when they find the right thing. . .the visual support that communicates a message in the way that student finally gets it.

That’s our job
We have to keep trying to figure it out.  For some students it’s easy.  Personally, I’m challenged to find the answers for those students who are more difficult.  Most of the time, the answers emerge when we don’t grow weary.

Giving up is not an option
I don’t want this teacher to ride it out.  Three months is too long.  Three weeks is too long.  Even three days.  That’s too much time for her to endure with Eric in a bad situation.

But she does need some help.  In my consultation with this family, we targeted some options to follow up with.  They have a plan.

Are you getting worn out?
Struggling?  Tempted to “ride it out?”  Or do you know someone who is?  I have a great solution to get that energy boost that many of us need after this long, harsh winter.   We want to get to the end feeling successful, not defeated.  There is still plenty of time to do that.

Do you have the Visual Strategies Workshop DVD Program?
If you have it, you need to view it again.  I guarantee that will help you think of something new to do with, or for, your students.

Listen to this story:

I love your Visual Strategies Workshop DVD Program. We have a library to lend teachers, paraprofessionals and parents educational resources.  Your series is the most popular item on our list.The way you blend the “real educational” stuff with your experiences make it so much easier to see the way it is with real people.  I guess I mean you humanize the literature!We recently included your videos in our paraprofessional training.  They loved you!
Thank you for doing such a great job in educating us. You help to validate what I already know and remind me of other things I have forgotten and need to reintroduce into my therapy.Linda Watt, M.A., CCC-SLP

If you are an autism teacher and you don’t have the Visual Strategies Workshop DVD Program, I just made it easier for you!

How long do you want to keep surviving life, day in and day out as an autism teacher?

NOW is the time to act!



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