This last Sunday I helped with the special needs little boy in our Primary at Church. He was SO good that day! He is allowed to choose some toys to play with to help him be quiet. He usually has several cars. I'm not sure of his diagnosis because I was told he isn't autistic, but that's how he acts to me.
At one point, the teacher gave each of the kids some markers and paper so they could draw a picture. I asked him if he wanted to draw, and he said yes, but then when I gave him the paper, he threw it down on the floor. So I picked it up and started to draw. First I drew the tow truck that he was holding. He immediately became very interested. Then I drew another of the cars in his hands. Just then he pulled a racing car out of his pocket and said, "Draw this." So I drew that car too, as well as every other car in his lap. I also drew a game timer that he was playing with. I labeled each drawing because he is a very good reader. I handed him the paper and he laid it on his lap and laid each car on top of the picture that represented them. What I liked most about this was that it was an interactive moment. He was interacting with me, and getting involved with what I was doing.
A little while later the kids in the class room were starting to get a little hyperactive. Their teacher is young, and hasn't had much experience teaching, so hadn't planned anything else for them to do. One of the boys jumped up and started to turn off and on the lights in the classroom. This special needs boy thought that was a pretty fun trick, so he got up and did it too. The kids were starting to get out of hand, but their teacher didn't seem to notice. I was doing the best I could to get the kids to sit back down and be quiet. Finally she decided to take them out in the hall for a drink of water at the fountain. I said, "I think I'm going to take "special needs boy" to his Dad. I think he's done for the day." She looked at me and said, "Where is he?" I looked in the classroom and realized he had escaped. Although this child is special needs, he is still a very quick thinker, and a quick mover! I turned and saw him running down the hall out of sight! Luckily, another adult had been coming that way and slowed him down. I called him to me, and then grabbed his arm when I got a chance. I was holding my scarf, and books, and purse, and his socks and shoes that he had taken off, as well as his picture. So I only had one hand to hold his arm. I guess I held it a little tightly because I was afraid he was going to take off again. I told him, "I'm going to hold your arm so you don't run off again." I took him in to the room where his father was, and arrived just as they were saying the closing prayer. My job done, I left and went home.
Later that evening, when I went to choir practice, his mother, who was also coming, met up with me and said, "We had to laugh today when we asked our son how he liked his class with you, and the other helper. He said, "She angry." I said, "Angry? I didn't feel angry." lol Then I told her that I had held his arm, and she said that was probably what made him think I was angry. aww... lol
But this just confirms what I already believe about this boy. He is very sensitive to our energy levels and moods. My approach with him has always been to work on making sure that I have a calm energy. He has responded to it very well. His aide (who couldn't be there that day) also has a calm energy about her. When I see other people come in to help who are more uptight, I notice that he acts up more. I had to be firm with him that day because I didn't want him running out of the building. But I feel bad that he thought I was angry! :)