By Linda Hagood
Cole is a totally blind student who is quite verbal and has an incredible imagination. He has many traits of high functioning autism, including difficulty with conversational turn-taking and perspective-taking. He tends to dominate conversations with long monologues and does not give partners time to interject their own thoughts or ideas. His friend in this video clip is Dylan, who is also quite bright and creative. Dylan is a typically developing peer who is a first grade classmate. He has some difficulty with maintaining attention to classroom instruction, and has a sincere interest in building a friendship with Cole.
Goals for Cole are to blend his ideas with those of a partner, and to co-regulate with adult and peer partners so that they can follow his verbally presented ideas.
In this initial lesson, I introduce the use of props and enactment to support the boys’ co-regulation, and slow the pace of the narrative development. Following this session, the boys chose to continue their writing together, without my support, in a writing center that was a part of their first grade classroom. They made their own “robot” prop and took turns writing, with Cole adding a braille page and Dylan adding a print page. This is a story that they took great joy in co-creating. They didn’t want the fun to end, so it became an “epic.”