Hello, My Name is Max and I Have Autism by Max Miller, Extended Review with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
Focused Excerpts about SCHOOL & AUTISM...
52% The classroom is really hard for someone like me. (The book shows a drawing titled, The Classroom.) One of the waves might be a classmate going against me or saying something mean to me. Another wave is the assignment but kids are distracting me and I miss the instructions.
< My Thoughts > “the words get stuck”
When Max says the words get stuck… takes me back to what a neurologist first told us about Sonny. “It’s difficult to know just how much he really understands or is capable of learning. So, your job is finding a way to get as much information “in” and as much information “out” as you can,” she suggested.
Aside from the fact that Sonny is non-verbal, and we were told he would never learn anything, this seemed like a daunting task. Although the part of his brain dealing with language has never developed, he has communicated with primitive ‘signing’, by dragging us to what he wants, and by using his eyes to stare at objects he wants, or to indicate directions he wants us to go in. Over the years, we have found that he is capable of learning and functioning to a higher level than anyone would have first guessed.
45% I want to be a voice for every single child who has autism and who cannot speak. The kids who can’t speak are just like me. We are not like everyone else.
We can’t see other people’s feelings or do well in school or pay attention. Just because we can’t be like everyone else doesn’t mean we don’t matter. We do matter.
All we need is a little compassion.
53% My anger bubbles up. This is the blue – my frustration with the drama in my classroom. I have to read and write and listen all at the same time.
The black is my brain core. It’s really dark. When I am in a good mood, it’s white and green but when I get upset, it turns black.
I feel upset sometimes in the classroom. My stomach hurts and I want to go home. I feel overwhelmed and small. I just want to shrink down and vanish.
57% Sometimes I feel frustrated when I get an assignment but I have no idea what it is about.
Since I have autism, I get pulled out of my class for tutoring and therapies. As a result, I miss the instruction. So I get my assignments when I get back and have no clue what to do.
< My Thoughts > “Since I have autism, I get pulled out of my class for tutoring and therapies.”
As a special education teacher and part of a team whose members include the child’s tutors, specialists, and therapists, I tried to prevent having students pulled from core classes.
Many times we can squeeze these “pull-out” sessions in when the student goes to Specials. Specials are the hours when all students go to Library, P.E., Art, or Music time. These Specials are scheduled daily to allow the teachers their mandated lunch, break, or Teacher Preparation Time, i.e., Lesson Planning Time.
Taking a student out of class during Daily Specials is the least intrusive time to pull a student from academics for scheduled therapy sessions, if it’s only done 2-3 times per week. So for instance, if the Speech Therapist needs a half hour with your child, the time will be taken from Library (for elementary students), P.E., Art, or Music time (for secondary students), Then the student is not missing core academic time.
58% It drives me crazy and I get really frustrated.
I hate getting frustrated because it feels like I am hurting someone’s feelings. I don’t want to hurt anyone. That is never my wish.
Sometimes I just need to walk away.
< My Thoughts > “Sometimes I just need to walk away.”
Almost all students need the opportunity to signal that they need a break, and same goes for the teacher/tutor/therapist. Stress and frustration are our enemies, I think. As a parent and teacher, try taking time to refocus, regroup, and then try again to give ‘it’ your best shot.
If taking a break doesn’t work then there’s always tomorrow. Just because ‘it’ is on ‘our’ agenda, doesn’t necessarily make ‘it’ something the student thinks he/she needs or wants to do this minute. That doesn’t mean ‘it’ will never happen, it just means it’s not happening right now.
77% My family has my back. So I’m lucky.
I have my dad who wants me to do well in school and go to college. My mom encourages my art and music. My grandparents have always believed in me and I have friends, teachers, and lots of aunts and uncles who cheer me on.
79% My parents are the best. They didn’t give up on me, even when they were told by doctors that there wasn’t any hope.
My mom said that she saw light in my eyes. She knew I was there. I know what she is talking about. I see it too, in the other kids. By that, I mean the kids like me.
It’s hard. I know, to be around kids like me. But please, give us a chance. Don’t give up! And to kids like me, just be yourself. That is what makes YOU!!!
80% You are AWESOME. We are awesome!
< My Thoughts > “You are AWESOME.” “”We are awesome!”
You are AWESOME, Max…and Mom
End of this Focused Excerpts about SCHOOL & AUTISM...