A Social Story About Drake
GETTING TO KNOW ME
How Autism Affects Me:
- I am non-verbal. This simply means I have not found my voice. I understand most of what is said to me, as long as you don’t use too many words. I communicate quite well by other means. Hand leading, sign language, persistence, and my AAC communication device (it’s like my thoughts in an iPad. How cool is that?) I have something called, Apraxia of speech. This means that my brain and mouth have not made the connection needed for spoken language.
- I am a visual learner. I will be less frustrated with visual schedules and reminders. I’m very observant and curious of what is going on around me…even if I don’t appear to be.
- I can be very manipulative and will try reverse psychology to get what I want. (I can’t believe my mother told my secret)
- I sometimes struggle with making eye contact. This in no way means that I am not listening…quite the opposite in fact. I listen better when I can process without having to stare at someone’s eyeballs.
- I may have trouble processing language. This is particularly difficult for me if I am being asked to do something I am unfamiliar with. Please don’t use too many words. It is better to show me, rather than tell me.
- I get frustrated easily if I cannot do something. I learn best by repetition. Don’t give up on me, if you continue to show me and encourage me, I will get it.
- Sometimes I have high levels of anxiety. My breathing gets heavier, my palms are sweaty, my complexion is pale, and if things get really bad I may throw up (although I haven’t done that in a long time). If I am anxious, please try to show me that everything is okay. Keep reassuring me and keep Koda nearby to help me feel safe.
- Transitions can be difficult for me because I do not love changes in routines. I’m learning to cope with this. Visual schedules and steady routines help. I also have my dog, Koda, who has helped ease my anxieties.
- I stim when I get excited or I’m really happy (which is most of the time). Stimming can look strange to others, but it is something I need to do in order to regulate my senses. As I get older I will realize that some types of stims are best to do at home. I also tend to be more comfortable if I can have something in my hand like a sensory toy. My stims include, squealing and sometimes screaming (we are working on this in ABA), clapping my hands, or putting my fingers together and tapping something. Most of my stims are vocal or auditory.
- I am not aggressive at all. I’m very affectionate and quite the ladies’ man.
- I am not a runner. I like to be with others and seldom want to do anything on my own.
- Being non-verbal causes me to have high levels of frustration when I cannot effectively communicate what I want, or if I don’t understand what is being asked of me. I scream, rather loudly, when I am at the end of my rope. Frequent sensory breaks will help me to feel more at ease.
- I’m what is known as a sensory “seeker.” I love movement, jumping, touch, affection, tickles, hugs, squeezes, water play, climbing, and rough play.
- I have a couple of co-morbid conditions that often go along with autism. Apraxia of Speech, Anxiety, and I am currently being evaluated for Dyspraxia ( which could explain some of my frustrations in motor planning).
What I love:
· I love my service dog Koda.
· I love swimming and water. In fact, I taught myself how to swim, hold my breath underwater, and I can swim the length of my pool this way.
· I love to jump on a trampoline.
· I love to swing.
· I love animals, particularly farm animals.
· Books, books, and more books. Picture books are my favorite. I love books with animals, Pete The Cat, and Dr. Suess.
· I do not like a wide variety of foods..but I can eat a truck load of what I do like. Pizza is my favorite.
· I love chips
· I love my Ipad.
· I love Curious George.
· I love games like Break The Ice.
· I love to match and sort anything.
· I love music and nusery rhymes. Music makes me happy.
· I love my therapists.
· I love Tumbling and my coach, Brodie.
· I love other children, although I’m not always sure how to interact.
· Sensory toys that are squishy, slinkies, fidgit cubes, etc.
Things I do not love:
· Too many directions at once.
· Change in routine.
· People not understanding what I want.
· Loud or unfamiliar noises
· Cleaning people (Please be patient with me, this is a phobia of mine)
· Being told to do something. I sometimes get frustrated with demands.
· Trying new foods.
· Trying something and failing.
· Being asked to participate when I don’t know what is expected of me.
· Being told “no” when I don’t understand how I am wrong.
These are a few things about me. I hope you know that I want to do well in your class. I want to make friends with other kids but I will need help and patience. Please help me as I adjust to your style of teaching and realize that I learn differently and can get easily frustrated. More than anything in the world, I want to feel accepted and I prefer to be treated like everyone else. I also need you to help my friends understand what autism means and how it affects me. It is simply a different way of learning, but learn I will.
Koda is my service dog. My parents worked really hard and raised lots of money to get her for me. She is my best friend. I’ve had her with me for over a year now. She has taught me how to play, how to use my imagination, and how to interact better. Having a service dog is still new to me and I am always learning how to use Koda to help me feel calm and safe. When it’s possible, I would like for Koda to be near me, but she doesn’t always have to be right under my feet. Once Koda gets adjusted to being in the classroom with me please feel free to pet her and give her love on occasion. She loves attention even more than I do! It must have something to do with her being a girl….
My mom is going to attach her list of commands so you will know how to talk to her. She is like me in many ways, mostly because she doesn’t talk. But, like me…she listens very well. Thank you so much for allowing her to be part your classroom this year. I know you will love her just as much as I do before long.
If you ever have any questions about Koda please feel free to contact my mom. She will be glad to help in any way she can.
I’m so excited about being in your class this year. I hope you are excited to help me grow!