Welcome to our Blog
Hi there, thank you for visiting our blog. I’m Angela, the mother and educator behind this blog.
I am currently teaching in a mainstream school to teenagers aged from 13 years old to 7 years old. I have had over ten years of experience teaching mainstream and special needs children and teenagers.
I started out this site initially because of my son, who is suspected to have autism. The more I read, the more confused and knowledgeable my husband and I became. Reason? There is just so much to know about this developmental disorder and I have to agree with this saying,
When you meet a child/teen with autism, you meet a child/teen with autism.
While they may all possess similar traits, they are really all so different in their own ways. In my line of work, I get to work with mainstream teens together with those diagnosed with mild autism, PDD NOS, Asperger, Dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, Selective Mutism, etc.
The more I know about autism, the more excited and driven I am in seeing how we can provide a more inclusive meaningful environment for my child and his peers as well as my students with autism and their peers.
Like when Sesame Street invented Julia, the character with autism, I hope one day, we may all subscribe to this belief that, Julia is Julia. She is not a girl or a boy with autism, just Julia.
About my son
My son is six this year. He is a lovable, fun and ‘cheerpy’ boy. His laugh is extremely contagious and has the ability to turn my dull moments into joyous ones. When he was about two, we noticed that he wasn’t speaking, had no eye contact, and would often take our hands to indicate his wants or needs instead of telling us. (If you suspect your child has autism, read this entry, About Autism) He would often ‘parrot’ our words, a term known as echolalia (i.e, uncontrollable and immediate repetition of words spoken by another person).
At two, he was too young to be diagnosed. However, the educator in me decided that I had to provide him with early intervention. My husband and I decided that even if it turns out that he did not have special needs, these interventions would not harm him either.
Through the years of working with our child, I have to admit we didn’t find any magical solutions but we believe there were a few things that we may have done right, which have contributed heavily to our child’s development.
First – Relationship
We worked closely with the therapists and teachers in school to monitor our child’s daily life skills, social skills, academic skills.
Second – Managing priorities
I told the school teachers to forgo teaching my son any academic knowledge but just focus on the daily skills such as eating, dressing, sitting down,etc.
Third – Consistency
I worked through these skills with my son at home on a daily basis.
Fourth – Highly Visual Approach
Show, don’t say. Our kids are highly visual learners. Whatever you want to teach them, do it by showing, not by saying, either through pictures or literally bringing the child there and showing them the steps. You can also write down the steps as visual reminders.
Fifth – Be Thick-skinned
I have grown accustomed to the stares I get from onlookers when I bring my son out, and he has a melt down, or when he starts speaking his ‘train-language’ to himself. I also use it as an opportunity to share with interested onlookers on autism.
Sixth – Always have hope
Of course, along the way, I have had many hurdles and hiccups but I never stop believing in my child. Remember, you are the anchor for your child. If you lose hope, they can see and feel it. See the potential in your child rather than their weakness. My mentor used to tell me, use a child’s strength to work on their weakness and vice versus.
Seventh – Be patient
I used to say, let’s take steps, and since then, I have progressed to let’s take baby-steps. We didn’t take one day to master walking. Give each child with special needs the time they need to blossom.
Special needs is not a disability you’re suppose to conquer, but rather a disability you must understand and live with cleverly. – Reiko Maruoka, Nobu’s World
What you’ll find in this blog
This will be a work-in-progress blog which I will include lessons that I have conducted with my son, strategies I have tried in school or at home, and any relevant resources or site which I find useful for lesson planning or building of knowledge in this field.
One thing which I deliberately added, is our ‘Funny moments‘ tab. These are some recorded funny moments of us. They serve as a memory and a reminder that the journey is beautiful despite its ups and downs. Interestingly, they also give me an insight into my child’s mind. From a child who used to hold my hand to indicate his wants, and who couldn’t speak at age three. I appreciate any form of communication he has with me now.
If your’re a parent or caregiver and you suspect that your child is on the spectrum, I highly recommend for you to read up my entry on about autism. In it, I have include signs and symptoms on autism, Asperger, PDD-NOS, etc and also simple tests which you can carry out to see if there’s some truth to your hunch. My other popular entries are What is a meltdown?, 12 Strategies that Work for Me during our kid’s Meltdowns, How to toilet train our kids with autism, and my continuous series of entries on teaching our children to speak and express themselves.
Be it whether you are a parent, caregiver, family member, teacher, etc, taking care of a child with needs is a long and tedious effort. However, the outcome is truly rewarding. When you see them mastering another skill or technique, that tug in your heart, that gentle smile that appears on your face as you close your eyes with joy, that awareness of you breathing out your air with gratitude, makes it all worth while.
Join me on this journey of discovery together. One for you, for us, for them.
Disclaimer: All information in this site is presented for support and educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for medical treatment or visiting a licensed medical physician. Although I may include links providing direct access to other Internet resources, including Web sites or blog sites, they are not affiliated links. I am just hoping to make it easier for my readers to purchase products or obtain information that they might find useful. As working parents or educators, sometimes we appreciate the simple things that can make our life easier.