Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Just last week in the homework folder I learned that my son Nicholas, who is ten, high functioning on the Autism Spectrum in the fourth grade was running for Treasurer on the Student Council. He had a paper that listed three questions he needed to respond to within his speech.
The Student Council is open in the Elementary School to fourth and fifth graders. To this day I have yet to see anything about this in the school newsletter, so I have to rely on Nicholas's memory, which leaves a lot of details out.
Those running for the seat of President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary practiced together during lunch one or two days before making their speeches in front of the school at an assembly held earlier this week. Nicholas was the last one to read his speech. He was not nervous and seemed excited about this venture. I reminded him to drink some water before going into the assembly. I was glad to know that this took place soon after school started instead of after recess.
He did relay to me that it sounded weird with the microphone. After the speeches the classes went into the library to cast their votes. I am still in the dark on what The Student Council at the Elementary School does and how his role of Treasurer will be handled.
The only discussion we ever had on The Student Council was last year when I spotted their photos on the wall in a hallway at the school and asked him if he knew any of the kids.
Nicholas stated in his speech that his interests are recycling things. I was surprised it did not mention drawing or reading. He offered to help with homework during recess for those who voted for him. Nicholas mentioned that he would work on slowing kids down on the playground as his role to better the school.
Since he would rather go to the library after lunch than do structured play on the playground, I had suggested he use the library as his interest for helping the school in trying to get more kids interested in reading and perhaps doing a book fair or book sale.
He used his own ideas to write up his speech and never asked for guidance or assistance. I was quite surprised that he took on this task and initiated running for an office within The Student Council. I will be mentioning this to the facilitator at his social skills group since this is a breakthrough for a kid who lacks social cues and starting conversations.
We also signed up for the fourth and fifth grade reading club that will take place once a week at lunchtime. He was receptive to this, but not as excited as I had anticipated. Currently his reading is focused on Goosebumps books. While in the Third Grade we came across Mr. Putter and Tabby series, which he so enjoyed. He even told his teacher he thought he looked like Mr. Putter!
While in the Second grade Nicholas was enjoying the Magic TreeHouse Book series. He has always perused animal chapter books that we come across and picked up quite a few this past spring break while visiting Sea World.
This last week he spotted some Captain Underpants books and read one in two days. Today he picked out three more while at the library. One issue that is disruptive to his reading is when he gets a book from the library that has a torn page. If he notices this mishap while at the library he will seek out another copy or tell the clerk so they know he did not do it and start a conversation about how that is not nice to destroy books.
Back in August we received a letter that was an invitation to the Student Ambassador Program. It turns out this program starts at the fifth grade, so we are on the list for future interest.
Nicholas would be a perfect candidate for the Scholastic Kids are Authors series, but the emphasis at his school seems to be on English Learners and the Standardized testing scores. Who Let The Cat Out Of The Bag was the 2002 Winner of the Scholastic Kids are Author Series.
I feel this has been a rewarding experience for Nicholas and glad to see he is pursuing other interests besides animals. This is a way for him to do something worthwhile at school. Matthew's school recently had an informational meeting on the Cub Scouts, but that is not something we can get involved. Extracurricular activities like sports are not appropriate since Matthew would not be able to handle such situations.
In fact last year the Family Friends volunteer helped me try to get Nicholas interested in sports or a music activity. She shared about her younger siblings being on the soccer team and how they took music lessons. Nicholas had many excuses for not wanting to participate in these activities so I decided to drop it and not push the issue.
Sometimes kids will surprise parents and choose something that seems out of character, but in a good way. We will be learning together about the role a Treasurer has within the Student Council. This may lead to more titles as he goes through his school years.
It is official that Nicholas did get the title of Treasurer. Office personnel took photos of the four members of the Student Council and posted them in the hallway. I took Matthew there to see his brother and he almost tore the photo off the wall!
Promoting Social Development for Students with Autism - Teacher Vision
Recommendations for Students with High Functioning Autism - TEACCH
Teaching Students with Autism - Council for Exceptional Children
The Yes I Can Foundation for Exceptional Children
Books for Students - California Association of Student Councils
National Honor Society and Junior Honor Society
Judge Judy's Win or Lose by How You Choose - Book Review
An Impression of Autism From A Kid on the Spectrum
Toys and movies for children on the Autism Spectrum
Attending Your First IEP Meeting
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.