Tuesday, December 11, 2007

E = MC2

I could easily vent about the happenings at school (again with the, "Why can't you just come to work and do your job like the rest of the grown-ups in the world?" with a dose of "Writing With Symbols, please cooperate just this once), and Aide T has been kindly comisserating with me over email -- a fact that, I fear, would not go over well if other people knew about it...

...whoops...

I got distracted there.

What I wanted to say was that this was all overshadowed by one of those tiny shining moments that make your heart swell with pride and go "Yeeee-haw!"

Elastigirl, as you may have guessed from reading this blog, has some pretty significant delays. She has some challenging behaviors and a lot of obstacles to overcome.

That said, I adore the girl.

Anyway, she spent several years of her education either left to her own devices or forcibly moved to "quiet areas" and left alone. It took my staff -- chiefly Aide T -- and myself about 6 weeks last year just to convince her that we wanted her to sit with us, and that she should sit with the rest of the group.

Today, though....

Today, we were doing a group lesson -- our whole school uses the Second Step program, and I've been doing modified versions of the fourth grade lessons. However, with this group, I've had to mix it up a bit.

First, I have PECs pictures of feelings and we go through them in a sort of game-like format. Every kid gets four "Turn" cards -- four chances to be right, then they can't answer any more -- and I'll hold up a feeling. Anyone who knows can raise their hand, then I pick someone to answer (usually via eenie-meenie-miney-moe).

So, today, I hold up "frustrated."

Seven hands go up.

I start eenie-meenie-miney-moing, intending to...ahem...accidentally land on Superhero, because I know he knows that one, when, lo and behold...

...wait for it...

ELASTIGIRL'S HAND SHOOTS UP WITH THE REST OF THEM.

I stare at her.

She's not really following natural cues and imitating her classmates, is she?

That would be too huge. No way. It was a fluke.

Still, I go over, present "frustrated" and the blank back of a card as a distracter, and say, "Elastigirl, where's 'frustrated'?"

She picks it. The class claps for her. She preens.

We go on, me still thinking it was a happy fluke that I had the chance to reinforce.

A few turns later, I hold up "excited."

Seven hands go up.

THEN, LO AND BEHOLD, UP GOES ONE MORE!

That's twice, in one day.

I go over to Elastigirl, who had since put her hand down, and look at her. I raise my hand. The rest of my monkey-see-monkey-do kiddos follow me.

Elastigirl does not look at me. She looks at Superhero and Angel. She thinks. She looks at Superhero again.

AND HER HAND GOES UP AGAIN!

I realize that for those of you wno do not deal with kids with severe cognitive impairments, the idea of a 10-year-old girl looking at her classmates and copying them is not a big thing.

For Elastigirl, this is like figuring out the Theory of Relativity.

It still may have been a fluke...but it was THREE times...and if she can do it three times today, she'll be able to do it again...on her own timetable, of course.

2 comments:

Mz Cat said...

Yipee!!!!!!! See what happens. I have always liked her even at her worst. No doubt she is your rising star.

I hold out that hope for Pudge and Noodle.

She will get a SUPER HUGE HUG tomorrow when I get her off the bus!!!!!

SpooWriter said...

I'm hoping that the deluge of positive attention she got for it will be sufficiently motivating. ;-)

I always knew she had it in her -- and I've liked her since the moment she plopped herself on my head when I had Student M sitting in front of me. Not to mention, trying to help out Teacher D a few minutes later by putting on her shoes and getting that adorable giggle she has.... :-)