Learning To Tell Time by angelfly


									I have been a social worker for twenty seven years. In that time I have
worked with many families in need. Part of my job as a social worker is
to attend school meetings with the families that I work with. Most of the
children that I work with have mental health issues so they have an
individual education plan at school that needs to be reviewed at least
once a year, and more often if a need arises that requires a change in
the plan. Each time I am at one of these school meeting I marvel at the
patience it takes to be a teacher, especially working with children with
special mental or emotional needs.

Two years ago at the beginning of the school year we had a meeting to
review a plan of one of the children I was working with. The parents of
the child had a very poor relationship with the school so part of my role
was to act as a mediator. I arrived a few minutes early. I was waiting
for the meeting room to be free so I was waiting in the hall outside a
classroom where a teacher was talking about time. The children in her
class were learning to tell time. She was very patient as she worked with
them the few minutes I was listening in. The room became free, the
parents arrived and we went in to wait for the meeting to start. We could
still hear the activity in the room next door and I explained to the
parents that the children next door were learning to tell time. They said
that this was one of the things that they have been working on at home
with their child, who is already in fourth grade. Learning to tell time
was never a skill that he had accomplished. He has a diagnosis of
Aspergers syndrome which is a form of autism. They have used regular
clocks and digital clocks and have bought special computer programs
geared towards learning to tell time, but nothing has worked. Part of the
issue is that he plays so many head games with them that they do not know
if he is understanding the concept of time or not. He is very intelligent
and numbers are a strong area for him.

When he came in the room I greeted him and said that I thought the
meeting would start soon. He asked when and I said I was not sure but it
was scheduled for three o’clock. He looked at the clock in the room which
showed that it was three minutes to three. He calmly looked at the clock
and said that he still had three minutes to go get something out of his
locker. His parents were surprised. Some where along the line their
efforts to teach him how to tell time had worked, because he obviously
knew what time it was.

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