Each year, the last days of school include lots of new activities. Field day, field trips, awards and a talent show are all part of the schools waning days. It can be a hard time for children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Schedules change in unpredictable ways. Field day for the children means that PE will not be on the agenda for several days. Each grade has their own special day. Room 623 was on a Thursday. This year’s field trip was the bowling alley. Many of the children had no idea what that was. That meant that the teacher had to prepare the class by showing lots of bowling videos and practicing out on the blacktop.
Then there was the talent show.
The teacher always encouraged her students participate in the talent show each year. The Hokey Pokey, Two Step and Limbo were all past talent show activities. This year, The Chicken Dance was chosen. The Chicken Dance was a logical choice because the students already knew how to do it.
Ms. Orta’s general education class once again agreed to be partners with the students in Room 623. It was a perfect match as they knew each other from their PE class and the recent Charro Days dance in February.
The first thing was to find a You Tube Video on the Chicken Dance for the children to follow.
The students may have known how to do the dance. However, it is different when they have to perform in front of the whole school and their families. Room 623 decided to first practice alone. Initially, the children were scattered across the stage waiting for the music to begin.
To the teacher’s surprise, Ronnie and Nick took off running in circles. They knew the song but the chance to just laugh and run was too tempting.
After much silliness, they got the idea of what to do. The dance was modified to allow for a big circle during part of the song. The children loved acting like airplanes going across the stage just before the song’s chicken part continued.
By the time the general education class joined the dance, Room 623 already knew exactly what to do. One boy, Denny, did require more attention than some of the others. Denny had been a challenge during the Charro Day’s event and was a challenge this time, too. Just like during the Charro Days dance, little Ida stood up and offered to help the boy. She was determined to get Denny to do the dance correctly and took charge of the boy. Denny remembered the girl from Orta’s class. This time it was easier for him to follow the dance steps. Plus, Billie, one of the paraprofessionals, stayed close by the two to make sure he was behaving well with Ida as before.
All of the children did great during the talent show. They danced so well that it was hard to tell who was from Room 623 and who was from Ms. Orta’s room. At the end, the school children gave a wonderful applause to the two classes. Of course, all the parents were there to take lots of pictures. It was a great way to finish the year.
Pamela Gross Downing, a special education teacher can be reached at email@example.com.