Family Experience journal<br />Ann Tormoehlen<br />
The History of “Matt”<br />Matt is a four year old boy who has been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. <br />Matt enjoys jumping on his trampoline, music, and watching movies. <br />As of yet, Matt does not speak at all but does use some sign language. He is reserved in most social situations but does open up when he becomes comfortable. <br />Matt is a very well behaved young man. There is rarely a need to discipline him. <br />Matt does not sleep well at night. He is up almost every night for hours at a time. Matt’s mother feels he may have ADHD as well. <br />
Matt’s Family<br />Matt’s family includes his two parents and a two year old sister. <br />Matt’s parents are both college educated, employed in good jobs, and well supported by family and friends. <br />Matt’s sister is great influence on Matt. She is very outgoing and well ahead of the curve on her speech. She knows over 100 signs that she uses with him. They play together well. <br />
<ul><li> Matt attends public preschool four days a week in the mornings.
Occupational therapy twice a week is part of Matt’s school regimen.
Matt was apprehensive about school at first but now enjoys going every day. </li></ul>A school day for Matt…<br />
Goals for Matt…<br />These goals are Matt’s parents’ goals for him. Matt is a bit young yet to have goals of his own. <br />Matt’s primary goal is to develop speech that he can use for day to day communication.<br />Until speech develops, Matt needs to learn to communicate using nonverbal cues and sign language.<br />Another goal for Matt is develop a level of comfort with people that he doesn’t know. <br />
Other activities that Matt participates in…<br />Three days a week, a therapist comes to Matt’s home to work with him on speech and other life skills. <br />Weekly, Matt attends story time at the library, music therapy, horseback riding therapy, and sign language classes. <br />Matt’s mother works part time so she can spend more time with Matt. On the days that Matt’s mom works, Matt’s grandmother cares for him. <br />
I’ve gained more sympathy for a family as they begin the IEP process. Matt’s parents have had some frustrations as they work to make Matt’s education as productive as possible. <br />One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from Matt’s family is that great things can be achieved when a family sticks together. Despite everything, Matt’s family is doing all they can to make his future as bright as possible. Matt’s parents feel that they wouldn’t change a thing about their family. <br />Things I’ve learned from Matt’s family…<br />
As a classroom teacher, I have had very little formal instruction in special education. Consequently, almost everything I read in the textbook was somewhat new information to me. While much of it was common sense behavior for any good teacher, there were many topics that I had never considered before, especially the section on transitions from schooling to beyond. <br />Connections with the textbook…<br />