I remember teaching a student with autism, I gave him a green double sided sheet that included two short stories and response questions, keeping in mind that both stories were not to be done that day, but to save paper it made complete sense – to me. The student, let’s call him Tom for confidentiality purposes, responds something like this:

Tom picked up the paper and outrightly refused to do the work. 

Teacher: Remember Tom you do not have to do both sides. Ms ___ (Teaching Assistant) will help you if you need it, you can take your time there is no rush.

Tom: (ignored suggestions and continued to escalate in behaviour)

Teacher: (Paused) Tell me why don’t you want to do the work?

Tom: I do not want the paper to be green, I want it white.  And just one story on one side.

Once I met those requests, he completed his work with no resistance. 

Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and listen to the voice of your students to improve your practice and to help students reach their full potential.

Article By

Stephanie Duff

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