This is an update from Our Everything-is-there Study Station.
It’s been a year since I wrote about our ‘homeroom’ (classroom) settings. Freeman (1996), wrote in her manual, ‘Teach Me Language – a language manual for children with autism, Asperger’s syndrome and related developmental disorders’, that most techniques to get children to be table ready are based on behavioral principles.
The two books that she recommended are worthwhile readings if you want to get your child table ready.
- Behavior Intervention For Children With Autism by Maurice Catherine
- Teaching Developmentally Disabled Children: The Me Book by Lovaas, O. Ivar
We have used our previous homeroom settings for two years or so before moving on to this one. Much of the beliefs stay the same, except, we have progressed from everything-is-there on the table to having my child to obtain the necessary ‘stuff’ from his drawer.
Before, as my child used to run away quite quickly, I used to keep everything at close range, so I need not move away during those 15 to 20 minutes of lesson.
Now, we still use the same table and chairs. My child still sits on the end with the green chair. You can read more why I do this on Our Everything-is-there Study Station within Space Constraints: Tips for parents. He still likes to have some toy or book with me during lesson which I think is alright. We have managed to keep it to one toy or one book or one of each.
As for the teaching tools, we have progressed to putting them in the drawer. He will learn to retrieve items that he needs during lesson. This is to prepare him for mainstream education next year as he will need to learn to look after his belongings.
We bought the dividers from Diaso, or known as the dollar shop in some places. I assembled the dividers and he gets to decide where he wants to put his pencils, markers, colour pencils, etc. He has also chosen to decorate his drawer with his minion and mine craft figurine. This sense of ‘my-drawer’ makes him want to take care of his ‘drawer’ which is really cute and heart-warming to me. During any lesson, if we are engaging in writing, he will retrieve his pencil case (The Cars one) from the drawer and put it on the table.
I started this arrangement since January this year, in order to prep him for formal schooling next year. It took a few months to get him accustomed to placing things back in the same place after use but after about three months, he seems to be used to it.
If you take a look in the stationery drawer, you can see the Faber Castell Connector Pen. My child got them for Christmas last year and they are really good in helping the child to put things in place. When we first started with this arrangement, I would have pencils kept with markers and colour pencils. However, after changing the markers to these ones, my child is aware that these clip-ons stay together and belong together. So, we only have to work on ensuring the pencils and colour pencils do not get put in the wrong place.
I have also bought the blue pan and duster from Diaso and my child will have to ‘sweep’ the table after each lesson to clear away the eraser shavings. While many a times most of the shavings still land on the floor, I think it is still a good tool to instill responsibility and self of belonging to the child.
Have a great week ahead!