My name is Montse Vilà and I am the special education teacher of an ordinary school in Igualada, in Anoia region.
The first year I worked with Àlex was in the school year 2010-2011. From the start, Àlex showed interest and was happy to come to special education classes. Although not the environment, the teacher was different from the one he knew. We thought this change might cause him an upheaval, but the adaptation was really fast and pleasant.
Àlex attended class every day with a new “conflict-obsession”. Often, we took advantage of the topic of his interest to start the daily time dedicated to oral expression, and then, we would refocus the issue to the subject we were interested to talk about that day.
Gradually, and after a whole year, those daily obsessions got gradually reduced as he became more self-confident and learned to overcome those fears and insecurities that used to dominate him.
With Àlex, as with other people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, is very important at the beginning of each class or before starting any activity, to explain him what we are going to do and in which order we have it planned, because this routine gives him security and there are no surprises he feels he can not control.
Àlex’s school work starts with a routine that soon he made himself: date (day, month and year), weather (relating it to the season) and the school schedule for that day.
At that time, Àlex attended second year of Elementary School. He used to go to the swimming-pool with the rest of the class and he used to participate in the school activities: theater, trips, camps, traditional events… Àlex is very integrated with the other children in the school.
Àlex is affectionate and polite. He has achieved the habits of personal independence and hygiene; he is organized and methodical when arranging his materials and belongings.
He is able to express his feelings and moods quite clearly. Before, it would have been unthinkable that he could tell you what was wrong with him without an adult helping him express it.
He shows independence when moving around the school and he is more sociable than anybody could expect.
However, it should be mentioned here that Àlex’s current situation comes largely from the efforts and dedication firstly of his parents and secondly of all the professionals working with him from their own specialities. Àlex’s personal progress would not go forward if these treatments -therapeutic therapies- he is working on nowadays would not continue.
Àlex, I really want you to keep being the “little person” so special as you have been for me since I have known you.
Montse Vilà i Tarrés
Special Education Teacher
15 March 2013