What's going on in Room 125?

Weekly Update: 2-5-15

on February 5, 2015

Happy PJ Day!

Thank you to those who have gotten back to me about parent-teacher conferences.These are just two weeks away. I am looking forward to meeting with each of you to discuss your child’s progress with their IEP goals, strategies we use in class, ongoing needs, behavior, and/or anything else you would like to get to speed on. Please contact me ASAP with the times that work for you so I can make sure to get everyone scheduled. The following times are still available:

Tuesday, February 17 (K-2)





Now, a note about emotions. As you probably know, we talk a lot about emotions in our classroom. Reading and understanding the emotions of others is a challenge for students with autism. So is communicating needs. For both of these reasons I am constantly asking students how they feel, labeling how it looks like they or others feel, saying how I feel, explaining why someone feels the way the feel, etc.  What I have noticed is that many students are reluctant to label when they are sad or mad. This could happen for many reasons, including our reactions. Many times when students behave inappropriately, we may look or say that we are sad or mad about it. I support this (students need to know that their actions affect others’ feelings), but also keep in mind that students may then think that it is bad to feel sad or mad. Also, when a student seems sad or mad, we as their teacher and caretakers, often try very hard to meet their needs to help them feel happy again. While this is also often a good idea (we want to help students meet their needs), we may also be giving the message that we do not want them to be sad or mad…perhaps leading them to believe it is not ok.

It is ok to be sad or mad!

I am a generally happy adult and can honestly say that I feel sad or mad to some degree or bit of time at least daily. It is natural and acceptable to feel this emotions. I want students to be able to identify when they feel these ways and communicate it with others so that they can meet their needs during those times. I want students to be able to tell me about something that made them sad or mad when I was not there to see or respond to it. I want them to understand their emotions so that they can start to see emotions in others, and support others during different emotions. I want students to know it is ok to be sad or mad!

It is not ok to hit, throw, scream, etc.

These are the big things we talk about in our class. Yes, it is ok to be mad. No, it is not ok to hurt others (etc). Some choices that we offer in our class when a student is upset are:

deep breaths (smelling the flower, blowing out the candle)

taking a break (a safe spot with space from others)

asking for space

giving yourself a hug

asking someone for a hug

taking a walk

getting a drink

Other strategies may work well at home. Assuring that students have a safe escape/strategy when they are upset shows that it is ok to be upset and to recognize this feeling and then to have a way to deal with the feeling. I also try to model for students that I may feel sad or mad, but am still making good choices(like doing my work, taking a break, asking for a snack or whatever else I may need). Labeling how you feel at home, why you feel that way, and what you need to feel better/ stay safe can serve as a great model for your children. I encourage you to ask them how they are feeling (and or label how they are feeling), for both happy and sad emotions remembering that it is ok to be upset (sad or mad) and that ultimately we want students to recognize and share these feelings so that we can support them.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on this topic!

-Ms Wales


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