Flexibility is the Name of the Game - The Autism Helper

Flexibility is the Name of the Game

Categories: Resources

You want to hear exactly how my life has gone lately? I get this awesome idea for a unit, lesson, etc. I make worksheets, find appropriately leveled books, I organize a craft. I prep my kids for it. I have it all planned out the last final detail. I sit back for a moment to soak in the I-think-I-am-so-awesome glow. This activity is going to be amazing. Some may call it ground breaking. I will be given awards for how much my student learn from one single lesson. And then – crashing me down from my optimistic daydream – just as quickly as you can snap your fingers that perfectly planned and organized activity whips out the window.

Something happens. A meltdown. An obscenely dirty diaper. An unexpected parent visit. Throw up. Aggression. Runner. Doesn’t matter. What matter’s is that you’ve got to deal with it. Before I know it I am pushing my well organized piles of impeccablely individualized work and throwing puzzles on the table. Drama calls. 

It’s frustrating. Frustrating maybe doesn’t even encompass it. I have been having to do some heavy duty self talk therapy lately and talk myself down. It’s alright. You can do the lesson tomorrow. This is your job. Drama is your job. You are the firefighter in this classroom and like it or not – you are on call. Unfortunately in this job description we don’t have the luxury of it being ‘someone else’s problem.’ It’s not. It’s ours.

So if you can relate at all (which I hope some of you can and I’m not swimming alone in this sea of frustration) – take a deep breath. My class did MLK activities after Marin Luther King Day this week. I know. The horror. Well Friday another student had a major meltdown that I had to deal with so my reading group didn’t get to it. But you know what, it was totally okay to work on MLK activities Tues and Wed. What’s the big deal anyways? Is Dr. King not as important after the holiday – absolutely not.

So cut yourself some slack and write your lesson plans in pencil. Because chances are you will be changing them. Time to put on our flexibility pants and keep going. 

Sasha Long
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19 Comments

  1. SOOOOO TRUE Sasha! I just finished one of the craziest days we have had all school year. All of our kids have been having trouble following our very familiar schedule and completing their very individualized work! It’s been crazy since coming back from break. So, enjoy a deep breath and a glass of wine:) It happens to all of us!

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  2. Sasha,

    I so enjoy reading your posts! I completely understand the flexibility thing. I have a class of elementary aged students with autism and some days we just go with the flow. Often my best laid plans just don’t pan out. Thanks for your post. It is so good to know I am not alone. : )

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  3. 🙂 So true! Sometimes I wonder why I even plan lessons…but then I figure at least I know I’ll get to those eventually.

    And you’re awesome girl! I don’t know how you create all these amazing product for your classroom, create videos, have so many TPT items, and post daily on this blog!!! I’ve never been inside your classroom but I’m positive that’s just as awesome is not better.

    Special Ed is so often a lot of organized (at least somewhat organized) chaos – and just remind yourself how awesome you are for dealing with so many things at once!

    Brie @ Breezy Special Ed

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  4. I can soo relate. I love reading your posts. They are always so relevant to what I need.

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  5. Wine sounds like a great idea! Thanks Amy! Maybe it’s a full moon today? lol

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  6. I totally agree! It is nice to hear that I am not alone in that though…meltdowns, IEPs, etc. Expect the unexpected! 🙂

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  7. I’m pretty sure your blog is indadvertedly a support group for many of us! This is so my life today too. I don’t mind being flexible as much as it makes me stress to the point of thinking they’re whole educational career has gone down the drain after a few well planned lessons go to the wind. Ugh!

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  8. I just recently found your blog and LOVE it. I can relate to almost everything your talking about. I’m a special ed teacher for 5 wonderful kindergarten students with autism. This is my 3rd year teaching, every year gets easier but it never fails to have days where you need to be flexible. Tomorrows always a fresh start, right?!

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  9. I am with you!!!! The day never seems to go quite as you plan. Some days are better then others. 🙂 I love your posts. Thanks for making me feel less alone.

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  10. I look forward to your posts each day. I am using many of your products & am trying to like data as much as you do. Your post today sounds like my year last year. Thank you so much for sharing, I for one appreciate you & have told my special ed colleagues about your blog.

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  11. Happens ALL the time! Hang in there!! 🙂

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  12. It feels good to know that we are all dealing with this! Not that I wish the craziness upon you all – haha! But I am not alone in this frustration! Sigh…

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  13. Thanks Doreen- those crazy days still happen! Thanks for your comment and thanks so much for reading!

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  14. I read your post last night thinking ” yep, sounds about right”. Then today turned out to be one of the craziest! Bathroom accidents, crying, time-outs, hitting, grumpy! I work with elementary students with intellectual disabilities, and thankfully I have great aides who let me continue teaching the group while they handle an individual student.

    Love your blog!

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  15. SO TRUE! Last week my afternoon of perfectly planned penguin activities complete with fun hands on science experiment ended up with me handling a meltdown for 45 minutes instead. Not what I expected but like you said drama is our job 🙂

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  16. Ugh – I hear ya!

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  17. Thanks for reading Melissa! 🙂 Hang in there – hope you are having a good week!

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  18. I recently started reading your blog, and I’m hooked. This post spoke to me! I teach elementary emotional support, and I couldn’t agree more!

    Brandi
    http://apeachfortheteach.blogspot.com

    Reply
  19. we are all in the same boat! 🙂

    Reply

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