Meet Tom. It’s hard not to love him. Just look at that toothy smile and try not to melt. When I met him he tried to convince me he was a trouble maker, and he was almost successful, but I was fortunate to see though his act.
See Tom is non-verbal, which unfortunately was interpreted at non-learner. For several years Tom has not graduated a single grade level. While his writing skills can be good they were sporadic. Class activities focused on reading and repeating aloud words, phrases, numbers, etc, an obvious struggle for Tom. As a result he was often left out. Disengages and bored, he took to drumming on the table to pestering a friend.
But when it came to matching activities he shined! Often he would run to the board to help a struggling friend. Toothy grin spreading from ear to ear.
Thus we started an experiment with Tom. For math activities we gave him physical numbers he could manipulate and hand to us. We asked him what we thought he knew. Arrange the numbers 1 to 5. Easy. Ok now a challenge 1-10 (something he was thought to be unable to do). Finished in record time. 1-20, yea he’s got it. Turns out Tom is pretty dam smart. Plus the physical numbers have helped him improve his writing significantly.
In 2015 w7.e will work on picture exchange with him (a way to use pictures instead of words to communicate in class and at home) in hopes that will be the key to allowing him to show off that big brain of his and start advancing hi education.
Tom has also show great promise with technology. He took quickly to the PC and ever faster to the iPad. He’s been known to show his friends how it’s done with mouse manipulation. Plus the computer holds his attention significantly longer than classroom activities. There is great opportunity for him for 2015 and high hopes that he will finally reach the next grade. Who knows maybe he’ll be solving your IT issues in a few years.