It’s very helpful to plan ahead to give a student information about something unusual that is going to happen in his or her life. Giving that information in a visual form helps students understand better than just telling them. Frequently, our students with autism or Asperger’s need
I had a student whose life was about to change in a major way. You see, his grandfather, who was his favorite person in the whole wide world was diagnosed with cancer.
This little boy’s family was concerned about how they would explain what was happening and wondered if he would understand why he didn’t see his grandfather anymore.
His treatment team decided that we would use story books to explain what was happening to his grandfather. We created a book of stories showing the relationship between this child and his grandfather, what was happening to his grandfather, and how the relationship was changing.
We covered the period from the time of his grandfather’s diagnosis, through hospitalization and hospice, his death, funeral, and burial. This was a Christian family who also wanted their son to know that his grandfather had gone to live with Jesus, so we incorporated that into the stories too.
Some months later after his grandfather’s death, the child’s mother reported to me that while they were relaxing at home one day, he looked at a picture of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child that was hanging on the wall and uttered his grandfather’s name.
Prior to his grandfather’s illness, this little boy would frequently run to the window, anxiously awaiting the visits from his grandfather. After his grandfather’s death, he no longer did this. I know that visual strategies worked. I am a witness.