Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Another school year is coming to a close. Many children move to different classrooms with new teachers in a few months and like to give a present to the current teacher as a thank you gift.
For some students that are in a special day class within Special Education they may be staying in the same classroom with the same aides and teacher, as well as therapists.
Last year Matthew graduated from Elementary School, where he had the same teacher and classmates for four years. The aide changed earlier last year. There was no SLP at the school that year and I have never heard from the Adaptive PE teacher and only met the Occupational Therapist once. I have over the years given gift cards at holiday time and I hand out Autism Awareness items at the end of April. These include notecards, bookmarks and buttons.
When Matthew moved from his previous Elementary School the teacher gave small photo albums with pictures of the kids and adults throughout the year. I brought this to the current school and teacher since she had said she was not doing anything like that. I wanted to show her how easy it would be to gather the pictures and put them on cardboard or into slots of a photo album. I even offered to help out in any way. She did not seem to support the idea. I took some photographs I have taken over the years and got some copies made at Walgreens. I am bringing my camera to the classroom to take pictures of Matthew in his chair to have for our photo album.
There is a great website that sells scented play putty with organic and natural scents. I purchased the flavors from Dokedo Putty for Matthew's classmates. Nicholas's favorite is "shaped life jelly". I also visited a website based on their sponsoring the ASA e-newsletter and purchased some fidgets for Matthew, a cat toy for Nick and three bags of assorted PeoplePop Lollipops. Nicholas likes the raspberry flavor the best and has tried very cherry and grape. These are gluten-free, casein free and sugar free with only 28 calories.
My son Nicholas is enrolled in California Virtual Academy for his Middle School years. We have quarterly meetings with the teacher and I have phone conferences monthly with the Special Education teacher since the IEP states RSP consult. There is really no need for purchasing presents since we are basically schooling at home.
In the past I have tried to find out if they like certain foods, have a favorite hobby or special interest. The teacher might also be a fan of a local sports team. The gift is coming from the student, so I try to reflect the personality of the child into the chosen item.
Nicholas's fourth grade teacher gave him a set of shark jaws that he had for many years. I had Nicholas write out a thank you card with much prodding since he indicated that he said thank you in the classroom. In the past we have received thank you cards for our year-end gifts. These are saved in Nicholas's scrapbook. Last year Nick gave gifts to all his previous teachers at the Elementary School a few days before graduation.
Here are some alternate options I have come up with that have suitable items for teachers, therapists and school personnel. Many teachers shop at Lakeshore, which can be done online and at their various locations. I visit them during the summer at the Pasadena store. A gift card would enable the teacher or therapist to purchase items over the summer break for the next school year. There are self-inking teacher stamps to choose from and silly sentence games.
Giving Greetings has notecards and note pads that are specifically designed with symbols for teachers and therapists. They also have gift bags, jewlery and calendars.
You can choose from teacher stationery, teacher notecards and totebags from The Stationery Studio.
Homeroom sells gifts to the teaching profession and includes categories for bus drivers, aides, librarians and the nurse. They have classroom supplies, desk and computer accessories. They include personalized staple remover, personalized pointer and much more. This way the teacher cannot lose these items or have them swiped.
Mini First Aid Kits - for teacher to have in her desk or purse.
Teacher Resources at Lakeshore
Classroom Visitation Checklist
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.