A New Perspective - EEX 4242

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A New Perspective: Tutoring a Child with Autism:

A New Perspective: Tutoring a Child with Autism Alex Mack amack@knights.ucf.edu 04/14/12 EEX 4242

For the sake of privacy, the child’s name will be replaced with Nate for this presentation.:

For the sake of privacy, the child’s name will be replaced with Nate for this presentation.

Introduction to Nate:

Introduction to Nate I was introduced to Nate through private contacts of my own accord. I worked strictly as a volunteer and found it to become a welcome part of my week. Nate is the middle sibling of three children. He has a younger brother and an older sister. He is ten years old and a 5 th grade student at Lakemont Elementary School. Nate is a child with high-functioning autism and is usually in a mainstream classroom with an aide. I asked permission of his mother to take photographs as we did some work, but she said it was all up to Nate. Nate decided he was not comfortable taking photographs.

Engagement Activities:

Engagement Activities I met with Nate every Tuesday at exactly 4 pm and tutored him for 1 ½ hours. This has been since the first week of February and I promised Nate I would help him for the remainder of his school year . Most of the time we would work on math for an hour because that was his favorite subject. The remaining time we would work on whatever else he would want to. Several days at the end he would want me to play with his dog, Samson. Seeing Nate interact with Samson at the end of the day was one of my favorite parts.

Engagement Activities:

Engagement Activities When we practiced his math problems, often times Nate would ask me to “draw the question.” Nate’s mother has a homework corner in the house that we always did our work in. If we were not in the homework corner, Nate sometimes felt like he was not supposed to be doing his homework . His mother was very nice, but made sure I knew that I had to be there exactly at 4pm, otherwise Nate would get antsy and possibly grumpy.

Participant Demographics:

Participant Demographics As I stated earlier, Nate is a 10 year old boy with high-functioning autism. According to the I.D.E.A., Nate is classified as a child with autism because: He does communicate according to most social norms His educational performance is adversely affected He likes to do the same activities in the same environment He needs a daily routine He has resistance to contact with people

Service in Action:

Service in Action Nate did not wish for me to take any pictures around him, but here are pictures of his school, the street he lives on, and some activities I did with him.

Perceptions of Differences:

Perceptions of Differences Before this class, I had babysat for a few children with autism. I thought that tutoring could not be too different from babysitting, so I felt prepared. I had forgotten that no two children are the same and that this task proved to be more difficult. In the past, the children I babysat did not need nearly as much structure in their daily schedule. After the first day, I was utterly exhausted trying to connect with Nate…

Perceptions of Differences:

Perceptions of Differences As the days went on, I learned a lot more about his personality. I learned his strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. After the first month, I began to enjoy the trips more and more until it got to the point where I looked forward to them. This is the reason I chose to volunteer my time for the remainder of his school year.

Memorable Experiences:

Memorable Experiences Two experiences stick out in my mind when it came to my service-learning. 1. Nate’s reaction when I saw him the week after I missed a session during spring break. 2. The very first time he brought out Samson to play.

Connections to Course:

Connections to Course This service learning was for EEX 4242. The three things I learned a lot more about after this service learning were: The Characteristics of Autism Implications for Learning and Development Sensitivity to the senses

Characteristics of Autism:

Characteristics of Autism Nate needed everything to be according to his usual schedule. As I said earlier, I remember how upset he was, at least temporarily, when I missed a week of tutoring. I also noticed that when he got really excited, he would move his fingers a lot in front of him. He often did this when playing with Samson

Implications for Learning and Development :

Implications for Learning and Development I learned to show up as close to 4pm as possible. I also learned his routine that he liked after two sessions and followed that schedule for the remainder of my sessions. One week we finished early, so I was getting ready to leave and he asked what I was doing because we still had twelve more minutes.

Sensitivity to the Senses:

Sensitivity to the Senses Nate did not like physical contact, loud noises, or bright lights. One week the UPS man came to drop off a package, so he rang the doorbell. This caused Samson to bark. Both of these noises together caused Nate to slam his hands over his ears, tuck his head, and make a moaning noise. I also believe Nate thought my camera was going to have a flash and that was the reason he would not take pictures.

Civic Engagement:

Civic Engagement This experience showed me how important it is to inform the public about autism, and to crush negative stereotypes. Civic engagement is a very good way to get people informed. Volunteering definitely made me want to get more involved, which is part of the reason I chose to remain with Nate I believe everybody should at least try volunteering with people with disabilities at least once because it is such an eye opening experience.

Final Thoughts and Reflections:

Final Thoughts and Reflections Volunteering is the number one way to learn about disabilities. What I could do to help people become educated is link people to organizations like Teachers in Action to get them involved in volunteering. Behind parents, teachers play the number one role in educating children, whether it is about academics or not. Teachers are the people most children see for half of their day, five days a week. Nate has opened my eyes to what it means to be a teacher, so…

Thank you, Nate!:

Thank you, Nate!

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