I have a boy, E, in my class with Asperger’s. Having him in my class has been a good thing (I hope) for the both of us. We connect well because, in many ways, I am able to understand him in ways that others can’t. We think the same and react the same in many different situations.
A few weeks ago I read him the book I’m Here by Peter H. Reynolds. Like us, the main character is a dreamer and, like us, he wants to have friends but has trouble connecting. Other people just don’t see the world the way we do.
In the story the little boy sits on the edge of the playground, apart from the others. On his own, he folds a paper airplane and imagines himself riding on it through the air up to space. When the plane lands (across the playground in the middle of the others), another child brings it back over to him. In this way they are now friends.
After completing two of his centers for the day yesterday, E pulled out that book and began reading it again. When he got to the page where the boy folds the airplane, he decided to try and make his own. The illustration, however, didn’t include all of the steps and he couldn’t make it work. One of my other boys, G, saw this and showed E how to make them.
In this and in many other ways, my bitties have been learning to understand E and reach out to him. I’m not sure if they do this on their own or if they see how I react to him and work with him but, in the end, it comes out the same.