The biggest motivation one can have is to be surrounded by kiddos who are limitless in their abilities, imagination, and willingness to succeed. My students, who fall on the moderate/severe part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder scale, are NOT limited by their challenges. They come to school every day with a willingness and excitement to learn, paired with doing their personal best. They are not limited by their cognitive delays, lack of verbal communication, or other health impairments; instead, they try different things and explore the community around them.
This is a description that emphasizes how magical the world can be through the eyes of an elementary school kiddo that’s in a Special Day Class.
The goal of my classroom is to foster independence and social skills; academically, we focus on the experiences that target the “How” aspect of learning, versus “What”. To me, it’s not about “What did you learn today?’, but “How did you learn today?”.
Once a skill has been introduced to a student’s repertoire, it begins to grow on its own; a term that Applied Behavior Analysis labels a ‘behavioral cusp’. From a behavior-analytic perspective, certain behavior changes open the door to further behavior change. A behavioral cusp, then, is any behavior change that brings the student's behavior into contact with new contingencies that have even more far-reaching consequences. As such, by learning how to use a Kindle Fire (a new behavior that is added to the repertoire), my students will get exposed to new knowledge, levels of support, and interactions that have lifelong positive consequences.
At this time, my classroom has two old desktops that are the most temperamental non-living items on this planet. Under the mercy of the computer gods, we may be able to use them for easy exploring and note taking; however, too much pressure and they decide that it’s game over. Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources to teach my class proper computer knowledge or expose them to multi-modal ways of learning by accessing additional online tools that come with the Common Core and ALT curriculum. This is where the Kindle Fire come into play! If they can type their name, then they can be taught to type in words into a search engine. Eventually, type up an essay and incorporate a picture. If they can learn their numbers through interactive applications, then they can learn single-digit addition etc. The Kindle Fire will be the trigger for a positive behavior change, that (once it has been taught and maintained) will lead to new cusp of knowledge and enrichment in the lives of my limitless students.
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