Of all the books I have read on Asperger's , and there are many since starting on this journey, one of the most helpful is Creative Therapy for Children with Autism, ADD, and Asperger's by Janet Tubbs. The book is in my sidebar and can take you right to Amazon where you can read others reviews. It is all about using artistic creativity to reach, teach, and touch our children. When you have an AS kiddo everything in their world is "literal". There is no abstract for them, that is too confusing. You, the parent have to learn a whole new way to approach and reach these kids. This child does not learn nor respond the way my other four do or have done. It is not only frustrating at our age to have to relearn this parenting gig but it is frustrating to the child who is always feeling misunderstood. The whole family has to learn how to adapt to this child, um....not easy when you have kids that are not always on board! But it all takes time, a journey alright. I pray daily that we all do what is best for her and seek the guidance of my Lord in how to deal with and handle each situation that pops up daily. Whilst sick earlier this month I just put out alot of art supplies, and I use good quality ones. I order alot from Stubby Pencil Studio and I also go to Michael's armed with that 40% coupon and hit the art supplies. Nothing is more frustrating than having inferior supplies, and I may sound a bit uppity here but it is from experience I am speaking. A few extra bucks on the right implements makes a huge difference.
I just want to highlight a few snippets here and there that I have highligted in the book that kind of "hit me". I will put the authors words in quotes.
On temperaments: " The important thing to remember is that although a person may be a very good teacher and able to educate students, her temperament is at all times influencing her and, through her, the children. It is of greatest importance that teachers primarily be a role model children want to emulate; the imparting of information is secondary. If this understanding is lacking, the educational process of centuries past will be repeated by ignoring the spiritual and emphasizing the mental, or by emphasizing teh head and ignoring the heart. Establishing a relationship with a child means more than developing her potential and strengthening her spiritual nature ; it means preparing her for her entire future."
On Fairy Tales: "It is important that children have activities to build their inner lives of thinking, feeling, and willing. Their spirtitual nature needs nourishment as much as their physical body does.
On Music: "Children on the spectrum are even more affected by loud sounds that other kids are. To counteract stress, eliminate as much as possible any unnecessary noise in your home, and encourage your child to listen to the sounds of nature , which are much more soothing."
"Music is different from other art forms because our feelings in response to it come solely from within and are not based on what we see. It is not the brain or mind that responds to the arts and to music in particular, our spiritual essence does."
On color: " Artistic therapy, including the use of color, may be used to strengthen the will and memory of a child with special needs-or rather, a child in need of special care of his spiritual needs."
The chapter on color was particulary enlightening to me! Reds are calming to a child on the spectrum while to us they are energy. I wear alot of red, I like the color but I feel very alive in red. My daughter has wanted to paint her room red--a request I have poo poo'd until now! We are going to incorporate the reds, peaches and pinks into her decor. My wearing red is also calming to her, who knew!
We are moving forward and changing some of our pedagogy for our Asperger's girl. We have always incorporated Waldorf teaching techniques but will more so now. I cannot be afraid this child will not get "enough" education. A fear that has plagued me. But to respect this child and be mindful of her different workings is paramount to help her learn. I will be using Melisa Nielsons guides from A little Flower Garden. I did a phone consult with Melisa at 6am last week and it was enlightening and refreshing--I won't give up! Her son has AS too so she knows where we as parents with an Aspie kids are coming from.
I am putting her back to the grad three syllabus because in keeping with Steiner's observations on child development, even though she is technically fourth grade, her pull is to the groundwork presented in grade three.
Another leg of the journey continues......