Tuesday, January 6, 2009

30 days hath September...

So I'm an NPR junkie, it's on in my car almost all the time (I need my Car Talk and Wait Wait...Don't tell me! on Saturday's), and today was no exception. Today I was listening and they were talking to an author about his new book called Thirty Days Has September. It's a book about pneumonic devices, all those fun things we teach kids to remembers stuff - HOMES, Every Good Boy Does Fine, etc..., but it was the reason why he wrote the book that was interesting to me. The author described his son who has Autism and has difficulty understanding spoken language as well as using spoken language. The son had difficulty transitioning activities (not that unusual) and his father felt that since he didn't understand spoken language he was unable to understand what was happening next. That's when they hit upon his strength, the son had an amazing ability to recall music. They began using his strength to help him transition. As they would transition to an activity they would sing a little song to help him understand what would be happening - even something as simple as Splish, Splash, I was taking a bath - so he knew they were heading to the bath. Using this experience it helped the author decide to write his book.

The story just struck something with me. Sometimes it's the little things we take for granted that end up being life changing. Obviously for this child his love of music was many years just considered nothing more than a fascination, but all it took was one person to recognize the power of his gift and figure out a way to use it. This child's quality of life was increased because after hearing a song 1-2 times he was able to understand what was coming next, even using the tactic to tell others what he was doing (if you listen to the story on NPR you'll understand). Hopefully using this example we can all think about the little things that might completely change the life of a student.

Patrick

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