A Student Attends the Prom

This week I learned how a student that transferred from my class in February was doing in his new school. This young man was a student of mine for more than five years. When he came he was extremely violent. He constantly threatened to kill people and to hurt them. Each year as he grew the threats seemed more plausible. When he started to tower over me I worked on making him understand that he could no longer threaten people. If he were to hit someone no matter how justified, it would appear that he was the aggressor and the police would side with the smaller person. He began to take this to heart and stopped making threats. He stopped using vulgar language. When he started at our school his temper tantrums were the things of legend. When angered he would hit then run away. He carried grudges forever. The concept of time passing is hard for students diagnosed with autism to handle. Every slight took place earlier in the day or yesterday, even though years may have passed since it actually occurred. I had to work on his understanding of the passage of time. Students with autism remember all of the bad things that happen to them. With the inability to understand that time passes they build up a tendency to react even though nothing really happened. I had to work on the fact that more good things happened to him than bad things.

Earlier this year he made the transition to regular high school as a junior. Since he has been there he has attended the Prom with a date and as of his last report card he is getting all A’s and B’s. The success of his transition belongs to him and his parents. When he decided he wanted to attend regular school, he started making the changes that were necessary for him to go. This change would not have been possible without the determination of the student and the support of his parents.
– Ken Brzezinski

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