September 5, 2014

Lessons Learned

Anna's first day of Pre K-3 was last week! Prior I had a discussion with her teacher about keeping her safe in terms of her allergies. I also briefly explained her leg and suggested I come in and do a quick lesson with the kids so that she didn't have to deal with nonstop questions.

The day I came in the teacher thanked me because she said lots of kids were already asking questions and a couple even tried to touch and pull at it (grrrr).

This is one instance where my school counseling experience paid off- I am used to giving classroom guidance lessons!  Here is how the lesson went for those of you who want to talk to your child's class, which I definitely recommend!

The key with young kids is to keep their attention by being short, concise, and keeping them involved (no lecturing). First, I played a little game. I had all the boys stand up, then all the girls stand up, then those with a sister, a brother, blond hair, brown hair (this was about all you can do with three year olds' attention span). If you are teaching older kids go into more depth like interests, height, etc. 
I talked about how everyone is different; some in ways we can see, and some in ways we can't see.

Then I read "It's OK to Be Different", a really cute, funny book.

After the book, I talked about how one way kids are different is that they have different arms and legs. I showed them some pictures from the book "Imagine: Amazing Me!" and asked what was different about the arms or legs of the kids in the book ("she's missing her arm!"). I pointed out how the kids were all doing what every other kid can do (ballet, soccer, climbing, etc.).

Then I brought up Anna and explained how she had a different leg; how when she was born she was missing part of her leg and so the doctors had to do a special surgery on her, and now she has a leg that allows her to do everything other kids can do. I asked them their favorite animals and their favorite characters and I told the kids how Anna can get anything she wants put on her leg! ("cool!").

Next, I brought out her past three legs and asked two 'helpers' (to involve the kids and keep their attention) up to help me hold them up. I explained how each time she grows she needs a new leg, and I asked the kids which was the smallest, largest, etc. Then we passed them around for each kid to see ("Let me see! I haven't seen it yet!")

After that we talked about how Anna's leg is a part of her body, and just like we don't touch other people's body parts, we don't touch Anna's without her permission ("hands to yourself"). I said that anytime they have a question they can ask Anna and she will answer; they don't have to ask anyone else but Anna.

Lastly, I brought out Anna's doll Sarah and showed them how her leg came off. We passed her around, and they thought that was pretty cool.

Finally, I had copied some coloring pages of kids with prostheses (both boys and girls) and I left them with the teachers so the kids could color them and talk more about being different. The teacher later had the kids make their own self-portrait.

Here are some of the resources I used for the lesson: