Today I finished reading Susan Draper’s book Out of My Mind. What a fabulous book! It was such a powerful to show how students with disabilities can truly be successful and provided insight into the world of someone who is non-verbal.
What I appreciated so much was the honesty of the story. The main character was teased and ignored because of her disability. Even students with less significant disabilities face these issues every day, and often times these issues go unnoticed.
This week I am going to start working with an RTI group. My group will be students who are performing at grade level, so I am going to boost their skills with some higher level thinking work. I plan on using this book because I think it will provide numerous opportunities for discussion- not only on empathy and how we interact with others, but on how our lives would be different if we struggled to communicate.
I don’t often think about my communication skills as an adult, so I doubt students do either. It must be incredibly frustrating to not communicate basic needs and feelings, and it it something I take for granted all of the time. I’m curious to hear the fifth grade perspective on this.
As a special education teacher, this book also makes me want to help my students more. Last year, as a general education teacher, I had a student who would be considered nonverbal. He had very limited communication skills, and because of fine motor difficulties, sign language was difficult as well. How I wish he had an assistive technology system available to help him communicate. I know he had lots to say, but he had no way of sharing his ideas.