* Christopher and me: long distance

My nephew, Christopher, now lives in Texas.  (If you are new to this blog, I tutored Christopher for the past 2 years.  He’s a moderate functioning kiddo on the autism spectrum.)  His new teacher seems really nice but has limited control over the classroom.  For kids on the spectrum, weak classroom management can be devastating.  In Christopher’s case, he relies heavily upon a well-structured class with clear boundaries.  Despite acting up significantly at home, Christopher is adamant that he will not tantrum at school.  My fear is that he will start to copy his classmates.  They may easily recover with a structured classroom, but my nephew can get stuck in a cycle of misbehavior.  At first, he thought it was slightly amusing that the teacher had numerous “talks” with kiddos, mostly because it wasn’t him.  Now he is struggling with the stress of misbehaving kids and probably the temptation to act up himself.

My contact with Christopher has been sporadic since school started.  We use Google hangouts but the time difference is challenging.  Most likely he needs a different classroom, but I’m trying to address the issues for him the best I can.  I’ve decided to write a series about “Bryan,” a composite identity with plenty of similarities to my nephew.  It’s in a Google doc so he can listen to it being read to him.  (I noted in an earlier post that Christopher’s comprehension is improved when he can both listen and see the words.)  I think the content will grab his attention and I have added some questions to which I can refer when we tutor online.

Brayn's story 1

Eventually I will use social stories to support Christopher, but given the stress of his move, I prefer to approach this laterally for now.  In my email with the story attached, I will tell Christopher that I know about a kiddo who dealt with ta similar problematic classroom.  (That is true, sadly.)  The “Bryan” stories will allow my nephew to evaluate the problem from a safe distance but close enough to make personal connections.  Christopher is sensitive to correction but wants to follow school rules, so I am hopeful this approach will help.

If you’d like to access the entire story, here’s a link.

7 thoughts on “* Christopher and me: long distance

  1. Hi Teachezwell, I’m back with a question on autism. 🙂

    I’ve been reading about how these kids understand things literally, and open ended questions and unclear instructions, as well as too much conversation can make them struggle to process information. Does this problem always remain, or can these kids be taught to make small gains in this area, through behavioural therapy?

    Also are there any links or books that I could read on this topic? I’m interested to know how I can apply this to piano teaching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Eliza! Sorry for the delay in responding. These kiddos do make gains, many of them very strongly so. The earlier the intervention, the better the odds of improvement. Autismspeaks.org is a good starting point for materials and resources. Are you SURE you don’t want to be a special ed teacher? You really are, actually!


      • Thanks! Will take a look. I suspect one of my students is autistic or in the spectrum and am finding I have the skills to handle it. I guess I am a special education teacher in terms of my teaching techniques and my ability to notice that a student is differently abled or has different learning needs. Maybe time will give me more experience in this. Am quite open to it now and interested.

        Liked by 1 person

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