In 2003, I worked at a special needs child care center. In this center, there were children who have special needs, as well as children who are normal. I have worked with children that were severely autistic, to children who were abused and had to be placed in that facility for protection. Although I have a vague memory of all the children who has came and gone over the years, there was one little girl who stood out. She was not autistic, but she was very unique.
In the summer of 2007, this little five year old child started child care in my classroom. She had Down syndrome. Children with Down syndrome are not the same as children who are artistic, although they may have similar characteristics, they differ in other areas. From the first time that this little angel walked into my room, she had a strong sense of character. She knew what she wanted and would always voice her opinion on how she wants things done. I knew that I had to make special arraignments with her concerning how I was going to teach the students along with her.
My goal was to treat her just like the other children; I don’t discriminate against any child. The challenge with that is if you were to place her in the back or in between the children on the carpet during story time, or anytime, she would hit and bite the children. So I had to keep her by me at all times. When the children would line up in the line, she had to be the line leader and hold my hand. If I were to let go, she would run down the hall and climb on what ever is in the way at the time. She would also hit who ever passes by her.
I implemented a plan that would help modify her behavior. She loved colorful stickers, so I made her a behavior chart. Every time that she does not hit her friends, she was allowed to place a sticker on her chart. On Fridays, she was allowed to take two stickers home with her, if she done well for the week on how she treated others. This method worked out very well. Her behavior has changed and she became friendlier. By the end of the summer, she was able to sit with the other children and pay attention. She still, however had to remain the line leader.