It can never hurt to slow down and smile.....
I took one of my teenage students out on a field trip to teach him some life skills on how to buy a meal on his own in a food outlet. Easy task, or so I thought.
*Day 1: Didn't go as planned, special thanks to the cashier. *
She knew my student was trying his best to place an order, but she was impatient, avoiding eye contact and kept redirecting the order to me to finish it quickly. My student was confused which made it difficult for him to understand her cues.
*Day 2: When I thought things would get better. *
It was a different cashier this time and she was afraid to take my student's order. As he repeated phrases several times and laughed to himself. And as expected, she was trying to get the order from me instead.
*Day 3: Operation successful. *
This cashier was an angel. She instantly understood that I was trying to teach him independent skills and was very patient. She maintained eye contact with him, slowed down in taking his order and remained composed when my student stumbled.
So, operation successful, but……………a few learning points for me.
I realized that I should avoid eye contact with the cashiers, take a step back and just shadow my student, giving both of them the space to synchronize and be on the same frequency.
Maybe it would have been better if I had done that on Day 1, or not, it may have been worse as it works two ways and the first cashier was not co-operative.
Even though we try our best to integrate people with special needs into our society, is the society ready and willing to accept them? Are those with special needs being treated "special" in a wrong way?