Monday, April 27, 2009

Why "Quiet One?"

I chose this name for my personal blogging because I have always tended to be the quiet one in most social groups. Now that I think about it, I was always the quiet one in school as well. My husband would say it's because I tend to be a "failure avoider" (true!) but I think I was born with a large dose of plain old shyness as well.

Maybe there was a reason for that. After all, in my teaching experience, I have always identified so well with those kids who struggle with communication - the kids with autism who don't speak at all, or those with Down syndrome, CP, autism or other conditions who might be able to say words, phrases or full sentences, but don't really use the spoken word to communicate effectively.

Taking this one step further, I have always loved working with kids who can't use the spoken word to communicate, but are always giving us clues as to what they are thinking by their behavior. I was trained early to use the techniques associated with behavior modification, but quickly found that it didn't suit me very well - and never seemed to work very well with the kids I encountered in my classroom. They could outsmart any program we put in place. And I loved them for doing it!

In one of my college classes (where I never said a word - even though class participation was encouraged and included in the grading process and I cared way too much about grades at the time!), the professor called me in for a personal conference in an attempt to get me to open up. What a trauma that was - I have forgotten most of my college experiences, but not that one!

So, I truly empathize with those who struggle to share their thoughts with others for any reason. I offer them acceptance and patience, and I have learned to follow my natural instincts and work on building trust and relationships rather than developing or implementing various behavior programs.

It works for me!