I was privy to an incident today in year 2 classroom that saw a small boy become so frustrated that he lashed out and physically injured another student and the teacher that had come to his aid. This is going to be something we all have to deal with. Violence is never ok and students and teachers should NEVER be placed in a situation like this where they may become injured.
The child in question has autism. What appears to have triggered this outburst was a writing task. A persuasive writing task to be specific. It was heavily scaffolded and brainstorming had occurred. The format was written on the board. The students just had to write.
This child was only able to communicate well after the event that he couldn’t get his body to pick up the pencil then he placed his book in the bin and took himself to the store room to hide. No child should have to feel this amount of stress and pressure. Autism sucks! We can’t change this but we can offer support and teach strategies to cope. Provide enough opportunities for success so this child will be able to pick up his pencil.
My question to you is where is that line between assistive technologies such as dragon dictator or the use of a scribe and manipulation in the form of work refusal? Writing tasks have such huge impact on this child’s ability to cope. Should they be removed in favour of a computer? Does this enable the behaviour? What happens to the development of writing skills in the interim?