We all want friends. Every child, no matter how young, wants to make friends. Children with Autism are no different. They just need help developing the skills to make friends, be a friend and stay a friend.
My students are great kids.
They like to play, they like to learn, they love to be around other kids. My students are fully included in general education classes. Sometimes they just get overwhelmed by the numbers of children around them. Sometimes it's just hard for them to navigate around the social world of school. They may retreat into fantasy, repetitive behaviors or become overly excited. They need an entry point into this complicated social world that makes sense to them.
I have found that when my kids use a camera to take pictures of classmates, teachers, school staff and favorite places in school, it seems to open that door for them. The other children are interested in what they are doing and start conversations about the project. Often it becomes a class project and everyone is taking pictures. One of my boys has the children make a poster to hold up in the picture that says his name, his age and what his favorite toy is. It's a wonderful thing to watch! These books become a lifeline to friendship for my children.
It may seem simple to say that one camera would make a difference.
But it does. The camera we use now is clunky and old and frustrating for the children (all the children!) to use. With a new, up-to-date camera we can download, edit and print the pictures quickly! I see lots of smiling children in the future!
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