Some students with autism, or any student for that matter, are hard on themselves. Some students struggle with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), but all students are growing up in a society that portrays an image that everyone has to be perfect.
We all know that this is not they case, but we need to teach our students that this is true! I had one student in particular who had high functioning autism. He would get so upset if he didn’t write his lowercase ‘a’ neat enough or if his paper got bent at the corner. He would act out in an irrational way where his reaction did not match the size of the problem (That is another future blog post).
One day, during a meltdown, I decided that we need to change these moments of defeat in the student’s mind into a celebration! The next morning I quickly went to our school’s die-cut machine and created a banner that said “Celebrate Our Mistakes.” I had no more bulletin board space, so I hung it on an empty wall. Then, I waited for our first “mistake.” It didn’t take long… One of my students spilled some milk during breakfast. I yelled out a big “hooray!” Everyone looked confused, but I kept up my excitement and explained that mistakes are okay and should be celebrated. I had the student write her mistake on a post-it and she stuck it to our mistakes wall.
This was a game changer for my classroom. Yes, we did have to deal with some students making mistakes on purpose and we had many discussions that mistakes are okay because it helps us learn from them. We don’t want to keep making the same mistakes every time. This could work for any classroom, not just a self-contained class. Download a free banner for your mistakes wall here and please email me your pictures (email@example.com) or tag me on Instagram @TotallyAutism.