Monday, October 20, 2014

Engineering Growth: #PrivateSpecialEducator #CoachBill Drops the Rhyme / #autism #executivefunction

Part of my job as a Private Special Educator and Executive Function Skills Coach is to engineer, innovate and grow my tool and strategy base. I basically pop the hood and look at the motor all the time. I look at other motors, I try adding new parts, I take away parts, I look to streamline.  Generally, I use a notebook or a white board and a marker and start considering how to smartly grow my destablizing initiative to upend Special Education as we know it.  Like an actual enginneer, I prod, poke and test the importance, practicality, and effectiveness of the tools and strategies I use in my coaching. As of late, I have an old tool which I have dusted off thanks to a young boy who 'took me to school.'

Recently, I was working in Marthas Vineyard with a band of brothers and the youngest started dropping rhymes with such execution and swag that it blew me away and captivated me. Not being able to back out of the challenge and in full view of one of his other brothers, this boy basically put on a suit of confidence and started rapping to me like there was no tommorow. His brother, who is on the autism spectrum was enthralled by our lyrcal battle with each other and stared captive as Coach Bill fuddled and fumbled his way to sound at least as half-coherent as his young cohort.  Before long I had improved slightly:

'mad rhymes, not dropping slime, and so I sounded just fine, 
as I sang before we'all  dined.  Coach Bill was bringing the real thrill, 
and that's no drill, he keeps it real, so real in the field.'

With my entrepreneur mentality, I engineered an opportunity by hacking into the growth possibilityof integrating  catchy rap-singing as a catalyst to prompt passionate verbosity in the brother on the autism spectrum. Obviously, I didn't recreate the wheel, but I did 'blow the hinges off' by holding the sustained attention of the brother on the spectrum in a novel way. With practice, i can get the somewhat non-verbal bro to be slinging the beats, and even with the use of a smartphone laying recorded track down and creating a music band out of the musical instruments in the basement of their house. It is not about how great the song is, but what was done by all. Truly innovative for a young band of brothers. 

The masterpieces may not make the Billboard 100 top songs, but to the children it can be a creative, work of art that is fun for them and expands their horizons. That is a great motivator. It ushers excitement and newness like a breath of fresh air. They get filled with a sense of accomplishment and even wonder. They then look forward to the next fun time. What will happen next? Will there be a new song? Will there be a better jam session? Will one of the kids get an idea that takes us in a new direction?

In my line of work I try to foster innovation, initiative, focus and chutzpah. Tools and strategies that I use go via the litmus test of how motivating they are across time with different kids and adults I work with. Being able to engineer opportunities for professional growth, as well as the growth of the student is foremost on my mind when I work.  It paves the way for daily success and swag rights for all involved. That is one way on how I stay #RealInTheField.


Coach Bill MA SpEd is a Private Special Educator and Executive Function Skills Coach working 1:1 with kids and adults with executive function skill deficits, ADHD and autism. His company, Life Skills Corp. is also a credentialed provider for the Connecticut Department of Child and Family Services. Fall season home office is in New Canaan, Ct. CoachBill.US & Life Skills Corp. also works with individuals and families in New York City, Marthas Vineyard, Ma. and Puerto Rico.

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