Sunday, April 27, 2014

Non-Violent Parenting

Thought this article might be of interest to several of you. The school has no affiliation with the author but there are several important messages in there. 

Link to article

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

From Kevin's Parents - in honor of Autism Awareness Month

Kevin is a first grader on the ASD spectrum. He is currently in the inclusion program with support.

We started having concerns about him when he was not talking at one. We took him to the Ped, and were advised to do an evaluation for him. After the psychology and speech evaluations among others, he was diagnosed as high function autism (HFA) at two. It was a life-changing event. Mom quit her job and started the journey to work with different professionals for the early intervention which is so critical for kids. He responded to the treatment very well.

Kevin soon moved to the school system at three. It was quite challenging for the first year. He started in a class with an amazing special ed teacher but some kids yelled a lot with aggressive behaviors. That experience changed him from a quiet and happy boy to an anxious and extremely social withdrawal child. He started to have nightmares and kick us every morning when we drove him to school. He woke up in the midnight and cried 2-3 hours. Even now, he would start to have tears down and tremble when he hears kids' yelling or baby crying. He still remembers all the kids' names of his first class. "Loud/yelling kids to him are like snakes to us", said one of his social group teacher. She advised us to start 1:2 social group to let him understand that kids could be sweet and friendly.

Now Kevin is in the mainstream class with an 1:1 aide, which really helps him a lot work on his anxiety. He has started learning to stay calm and listen to class teachers. These caring and talented teachers are working hard with him very patiently, creating all possibilities to have him participate. He is gaining his confidence. He starts participation and interaction with others more and more with confidence.

He has reached more and more milestones recently. Last month he played piano at the school talent show which will be a sweet and happy memory for him. He walked to the stranger at Starbucks with smile and confidence and said "hi, what's your name?". He waited for his turn and participated with the great support from his amazing aide in the class reading theater.

We are feeling lucky to have more and more people in our community to understand and accept them. It is great to have the inclusion model at school so the kids from this young age start understanding and accepting our kids as a community. We are truly thankful to all the people who put their hearts in helping and accepting kids on this spectrum.

Welcome to the Barron Park Elementary Blog

Greetings and welcome Barron Park Elementary School families and friends! We are excited to launch this new avenue, a blog, for our community to share educational updates, our own stories, and other important educational information and resources.

In particular, we are excited to launch the blog during Autism Awareness Month, when it gives us an opportunity to share stories about our efforts in creating welcoming and caring communities that build stronger connections between our students in general education and those with special needs.

At our small elementary school, with 350 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade, we have been working diligently to improve and develop our inclusive practices. In the three years that I have been principal at Barron Park, we have had some wonderful experiences developing our understanding and discovering the great possibilities that arise when we collaborate broadly with the school and neighboring community.

Please join us in this endeavor by sharing your own experiences and even your challenges. Let's keep building this network!

Magdalena Fittoria