In order for me to conduct a successful charrette, I plan on meeting with a small group of teachers, and maybe a few parents if possible at my NFP. In one of my meetings with Learning Spring they had me speak to the entire staff of about 25 people so that they would all know what I was working on/why I was there. It was definitely helpful to introduce myself to everyone, and get all of their feedback, but it is difficult to get a successful dialogue going with such a large group of people. I think it will be much more successful to get a small group of about 3-5 people. If that doesn’t yield enough information, I would like to work with more small groups of people. I think this way people are less intimidated to speak out and give their opinions.
There are several questions/issues that will be beneficial to discuss during the charrette, the main ones are as follows:
-Most common self-stimulatory behaviours that the educators encounter -Current methods for dealing with self-stimulatory behaviours -Insistence on sameness – what this generally affects most -Social aspects of these behaviours – who they affect, how, why, etc. -Products/toys/games educators use or have seen used to deal with these concerns -Degrees of severity – who is affected most, who least, why? -Mechanisms used at school versus mechanisms used at home -Consistency between school and home – how is it maintained? How important is it? -Factors that affect anxiety in autistic kids – how to reduce the anxiety -Awareness of behaviours – are kids at all aware of behaviours or are they subconscious? -Failed products – which products don’t work as intended? Why? -Common assumptions – any behaviours/qualities written about that are different in their experience? How so?
I would also like to guide the discussion to talk briefly about materials being used, and how effective they are in the classroom. I would like to see if there are any favourite materials, textures, shapes or colours, and if there are any that really don’t work.
I want to discuss failed products, and/or products that don’t work as intended. I think talking about this will help to reveal some of the common misconceptions people have, as well as some of the approaches that don’t seem to work. Along those lines, I want to discuss the common assumptions about autism. Often times there is plenty written about a subject like autism that you find to be slightly skewed or completely inaccurate when working in a more natural setting.