Friday, 8 March 2013

Empathy Needed. . .



Last night our school was so fortunate to have a Dara Choy, volunteer from the Edmonton Chapter of the Tourette Society, share information about Tourette Syndrome with our entire staff.  She began the presentation with this video (this is only a part of the video: we are ordering the full video to have on hand):

http://youtu.be/aDipNAuZuZI
For some reason I can't embed this, but take a look by clicking on the link.

What a powerful video in the voice of the children.  There were many teary eyes in the room especially when the child talked about how his teacher just didn't understand anything about him and how hard that is for him.  This gave our  staff something to think about.

As part of the presentation, she had us do an activity to emulate a situation with Tourette Syndrome.  We had to hum, shrug our shoulder every time she clapped, touch the back of the chair every time she clapped twice, and cross out every third word and re-write it.  Then we were directed to write out the lyrics to O Canada.  Holy cow!  It was so hard that I could not get past the first line of the song.  Imagine how hard it is for our little people who actually must learn through all of that stuff going through their minds.  This really hit home for many people who now understand how hard our two guys must have to work to complete assignments, stay on task and so on.  We consider ourselves to be competent in many areas and we could not do the task. What a great example to live through.

Larry Ferlazzo has a blog post called The Best Sites for Walking in Someone Else's Shoes  This site is filled with videos and activities that can help build empathy for other students either for staff or for students. 

Many staff have come to the realization that our little guys are doing the best that they can and it is up to the adults to make the changes that will aleviate the anxiety felt by these students.  It is up to us to be the change to help make the situation better and to realize all the work these students are doing.  We have to be understanding of the parent who is probably exhausted at home and worried and who doesn't really need to hear "one more bad thing that happened!"   We need the paradigm shift to understanding.  I expect great things after hearing such a wonderful presentation.

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