Thursday, February 2, 2012

Privilege

Picture: http://saypeople.com/2011/11/24/exactly-opposite-disturbances-cause-two-autism-related-disorders/#axzz1lBaZRZHO


I had the privilege of chatting to a student who is identified as being on the Autistic Spectrum yesterday. I was working with my son, teaching him Arabic, when J walked in, took a look and then asked questions about what we were up to. 

I informed him that we were writing a letter in Arabic with the same sound as 'r' when he lit up and asked,'Is it the same as the R sound in Riyal; the Saudi currency?' When I nodded, he gently hijacked the pencil in my hand and managed to blow me away by writing the word down using ARABIC letters. He connected the letters in all the right places and read it out loud 'RIYAL'. When I inquired about whether he was learning Arabic or not, he told me that he had seen the word once on his iPad while looking up world currencies. 

These students never cease to amaze me. I smile every time I remember such special souls. I so love my job!  

Have you ever encountered such special souls in your life?

12 comments:

Birdie said...

Wow! That is amazing. It really goes to show that we need to focus on what children can do as opposed to what they can't do. For instance, my daughter hates basketball and yet the school forces her to practice it. She loves Highland dancing and practices it many hours a week but the education system takes no notice of it. Same as my son, he hates maths and yet he excels in language arts. He is still forced to go through maths classes. What is the point? Low self-esteem and a hatred for learning are the only outcome.
I hope the parents and other educators of the boy you are teaching see his amazing talent.

ms. devi said...

Like I said - there are no ordinary moments. What a kid. Let me tell you Lana, when I started to learn arabic I thought that it would be easy for me to learn the alphabet - OMG. not. so hard. I think that every one who writes Arabic properly has to be an artist. I really do need a private teacher.
But yes, I would say that that special soul would be my Noa. My youngest. She was born with a heart defect and when she was five she had a mini-stroke and it took over a year of almost daily physiotherapy to get all of her right side back to full use, down to small finger coordination. But it left her with some learning challenges. She has been through so much because of this congenital problem. We left Israel when she was 12 and I am sure that her life would be so different, so much easier if we had never left our home. Life is hard for her and she struggles with so many practical and so many soulful obstacles. And, yet her soul, spirit and heartness keep evolving. She keeps moving through. I would give however many years of my life to ease her struggles.
When she was a young child her nickname was sookhar - sugar. That is her essence. I am in awe of her core strength.
You are so fortunate to be able to work with children. I was a teacher in Israel and also taught a special ed class. That work was the most satisfying work I have ever done in my life. They taught me so much, they gave me so much more than I ever gave to them.

Tabouleh said...

What surprises me Barbara is why aren't they differentiating the curriculum to fit your son's need? and Why not have dance as part of the PE curriculum?
Sometimes schools boggle my mind... we need to use what the students are good at and nurture it... support the weak skills but enhance the strong.
Yes, the teachers here are good and they see how amazing he is... one teacher was thinking of asking him to analyze some student's art work for Humanities because he saw he has such great insight.

Tabouleh said...

Oh Paula, I am sorry to hear about your Noa...however, I think she is the awesome person she is now because of what she has to struggle through... she is doing wonders and from your stories she is a very successful person with a beautiful son and one on the way, a great mommy as well...
The struggles people face in their life time sure builds them up and makes them stronger.
I am definitely lucky to work with such beautiful souls as I learn so much from them.

ms. devi said...

Deklah, my older daughter is the one who is giving birth in early March. Noa is my youngest & 2 years ago moved back home. I suppose u r right about our life making us who we are & i must stp my regrets. Shukran my friend.

Tabouleh said...

Oh that is right I am sorry I mixed up the names... you are a wonderful mother and have done so much for your kids... I am glad that Noa went back home where she feels at her best.

db said...

This reminds me of a kid from a Spec Ed summer camp I worked at for several summers. N was a chubby, removed, obviously autistic outlier, though other the kids took good care of him and included him in as much as was reasonable. He was in his own space much of the time, but he'd engage if you tried, and he had a kind sweet smile.

But one night we had a camp-wide game of name that tune. Often in no more than three beats, N could not only name the tune, but the band and/or singer, the year it was recorded, and certainly 2-3 other more trivial facts.

Needless to say our Rain Man was a star for the whole camp that night, and everyone, including himself, saw and treated him a bit differently for the rest of the summer.

Thanks again for evoking such memories. Those of us who get to work with such kids, and can see all the good through all the haze are very lucky.

Tabouleh said...

Wow! What a great story.... they are such extraordinary people... I love hearing such stories about students with such capabilities or who are diagnosed as SEN... brings meaning to life really...
Thanks for sharing Peter!

ms. devi said...

Peter what great story. I loved Lana's story too.
These are the stories we should be reading.
What is SEN, teacher?

ms. devi said...

Just to mention Lana, I mix them up all the time, even when I'm talking to them.

Tabouleh said...

And SEN teacher is a Special Educational Needs one... :)
I mix up between my son and daughter as well and son and husband... weird... I used to make fun of my mother when she used to call me every single name in the household before she reached mine...but now it is happening to me... LOL... funny how the wheel turns huh!

db said...

And who will be making fun of who know? I hope your mom is watching...;-)

Yes, these are great stories we get to be a part of if we work with "special" kids.