Language lesson. Silence. The children write an essay. Suddenly Joes (7) screams: “STOP! I DO NOT LIKE YOU!” I happened to see his neighbor Noor kicked him under the table. Joes has a mild form of autism. As a result, unexpected things cause him tantrums. Now he is angry with Noor and immediately with the whole world.
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He gets up, packs his things and walks to the door. “I’m going home”, he shouts. He is so cute, with his backpack with dog print, I can secretly eat him. But that is not the intention. I walk up to him and hold him gently. “What’s up with you?” I ask. “I’m upset!” he says. I am amazed at this vocabulary. “Do you know what that means?” I say. “No”, he says. Apparently he picked it up at home.
It reminds me of something I learned at the teacher training college: that children’s emotions can be compared to the revs of a car. If the revs are too high, a car will break down. Children can then no longer think properly.
I get a bright idea. “Joes, we’re going to make a rev counter. Especially for you ”, I say. Joes looks interested. The other kids too. I take a piece of cardboard from the box of the craft class, cut out a semicircle and paint the left half green, the right half from the middle for a piece red, and on the far right a piece of purple. Then I cut out an arrow that I attach in the center so that it is movable. The whole is reminiscent of the dashboard of a car.
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How the hat looks
I say to Joes: “When you feel calm, your revs turn slowly. Then you put the arrow on green. So.” I demonstrate it. “When you get angry your revs go up, then you turn the arrow to the red piece.” I slide the arrow to the right. “If you’re a little angry, put him close to the center, but the more angry you get, the further he has to go to the right. And if you get really angry, like now, he’ll end up in purple. Then you are upset and you can no longer think properly. Then you have to come to me and then we will talk quietly until it is over and the arrow can go green again. Just put it on your table and keep it up to date. ”
Joes gratefully accepts my craft project. He’s calm now. “Your arrow can go green, Joes”, I say.
Noor raises her finger. “Can I also have a rev counter, teacher?” she asks. “You know what, we’re all going to make one at the craft lesson,” I say. No sooner said than done. I help everyone confirm the arrows, they are the hardest.
Now all my students have a rev counter on their desks. They keep a close eye on him. I walk by every now and then to check their hat. Joes’ counter has not been on purple for weeks.
This article is in Kek Mama 16-2020.
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