* A is for Anxiety

I’m kicking off my A to Z blogging challenge with anxiety.  Can I do it?   What will others think?  How can I pretend I am good at this or at least hide my inadequacies?   Will I be asked to explain what I mean?

anxiety.JPGThose are questions that special needs kids frequently ask themselves as they tackle school tasks, both academic and social.  Let’s examine the underlying issues.

  1.  Can I do it?  From an early age, kids with reading and math disabilities are typically aware of their limitations.  They do notice other kids reading “chapter” books or solving math problems with relative ease.  When given a novel assignment, these struggling students lack confidence.  This anxiety further limits their flexibility and problem-solving ability.   Early intervention is crucial!
  2.  What will others think?  The age at which this becomes a troubling question varies significantly among students.  Kids with a supportive family and opportunities to shine in other areas (at school or elsewhere) are more likely to withstand the blows accompanying a disability.  I’ve noticed kids seem hard-wired for the relative intensity of their responses, although a harsh environment (school or home) can bring out the worst in anyone.
  3.  How can I pretend I am good at this or at least hide my inadequacies?  I know kids who pretend to be many things other than disabled.  It’s common for some to prefer acting “bad” than looking “stupid.”  To quote 0ne dyslexic kid: “I act up so they won’t think I’m retarded.”   Some resort to crawling under tables or hiding in the bathroom.   Other kids become masters at copying classmates’ work or simply pretending to work.
  4.  Will I be asked to explain what I mean?  Many kids with learning challenges have language and social issues which affect their ability to explain themselves.  Some twice exceptional students have literal and divergent views of subjects which seem incomprehensible to both teachers and peers.  An inability to provide a “correct” answer can become a paralyzing fear, especially if students are required to respond in a whole group or public manner and are not given sufficient forewarning to compose their answers.

I’ve noticed that experienced bloggers often share tips for novices like me who are likely to worry about these same issues.   Are blogging stats comparable to end-of-grade tests?  Oh no!


* Day #270 – Tom Bodett

This mom has such a precious heart! And her advice is important for all parents and teachers. It’s more than acknowledging differences. It’s allowing kids to be safe in the unique way that reflects their needs. Stay clear of the trap of conformity or public opinion. Like this mom, be guided by what is kind and keeps your child safe.

366 Days of Autism

Several years ago Super 8 began an advertising campaign starring the voice of Tom Bodett.  His famous phrase?  “We’ll leave a light on for you.”

Tucker can’t sleep without a light on and I’m not referring to a low-light nightlight.  I’m talking about a 90 watt bulb in a lamp.  His room is as bright as a 6 AM June morning…and he sleeps like a baby.

Now – I recognize that many children are afraid of the dark.  Tucker isn’t.  He’s fine in the dark.  Can he sit in a dark room?  Yes.  Can he walk around outside in the dark?  Yes.  Can he sleep in the dark?  No.

I often leave his room shaking my head, wondering how he can sleep with the beacon beside him.  Then I began researching ASD and ‘afraid of the dark.’  I know – it could just be a kid thing…but what if it’s…

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