Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Aha! Moment

After Joel’s diagnosis, I was overwhelmed and lost.  I was faced with the challenge of educating an autistic child.  And to my surprise, it was Joel's older brother that taught me a lesson.

...when Joel was 4…

 A child’s laugher interrupted my slumber.  I rubbed my eyes and propped myself on the bed then reached for my robe.  I peeked outside my bedroom door.  The laughter became clearer.  I tippy toed down the hallway towards their room, pushed the door wide open, and screamed Aha!  To my disappointment, the room was empty.  I walked into the living room then the kitchen.   “Wash your hair with this.”  Joseph laughed.  My heart sunk and images crossed my mind; garage…sharp tools…glue…Oh God! I busted through the door, startling Joseph to his feet.  Joseph stood, frozen in place, with one hand on Joel head and a bottle of plaster in the other.  “Look what Joel did Mom!” he tattled.  Joel sat in the middle of the garage, his hair covered in white chalky plaster.  “Give me that!” I ripped the sticky bottle from Joseph's hand.   Joel laughed, holding his stomach like the pillsbury dough boy, as he ran into the house.  Joseph had no choice but to follow; his hand was practically stuck to Joel’s head.  
Even though, the incident was unpleasant and Joel was bald for a week, Joseph taught me a simple yet important lesson.  Joel's a tactile learner.  Joel imitated every movement his older brother made and to this day he loves shampooing his hair.  If you are a parent of an autistic child, then you know teaching personal hygiene is just a challenging as teaching them to read.  Children, normal or disabled, have 3 basic learning styles; visual, auditory and kinesthetic.  Once I knew Joel's learning style, I was able to modify my technique and emphasize a method of learning that motivated him.
Below are some links about learning styles and techniques that I found to be current and informative. I hope you do too.

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