About Me

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Orem, Utah, United States
My name is Annie Campbell and 9 years ago my son was diagnosed with Autism. Over the years of treatments, therapies and schools (with my son) I have learned countless techniques for dealing with children with special needs. Through my experience in primary, I have come up with some specific tips to create a happy atmosphere in church.
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Working together

Recently I had a child in my class throwing a tantrum because he wanted his mom. Now he's almost 6 and I've taught him before so I know this just means he wants to get out of primary. Not that he's feeling insecure or something similar. So I took him to the hall (so that the the rest of primary isnt disturbed) and I calmly express to him about how we act in primary and as soon as he calms down we can go back in. About 10 min in to the the power struggle, a fellow teacher and the child's neighbor, tries to help by taking him with her to the younger class. I understand that she was trying to help so it didn't upset me but it did frustrate me. It was then I realized the importance of communicating and working as a team. If I had informed the primary presidency of my plan for the child, this teacher would have known I had things under control, even though it may have appeared to others differently. I know with my son I always try to communicate my wishes and plan of action to support. I did learn from this experience and since have spoken to the parents of the child, primary presidency and everyone else involved about how we will handle similar situations. It can cause confusion with the child about who is in charge as well as who to listen to if their isn't a clear plan for all parties about what their role will be.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Senior primary help

Last Sunday we came home with a very frustrated 8 year old boy. Our oldest, that has Autism, was getting upset because the senior primary lessons are a little too advanced for him. As a mom that is a fixer, my mind went crazy with ideas about how to make this better for him. After talking with my husband and discussing several ideas, my husband came up with the winner. We will begin having family home evening about my sons upcoming Sunday lesson. Sometimes I'm amazed the ideas that come from my husbands brain.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Working with "typical" kids too

Today in our primary, my daughter gave a talk and so my husband was in there to help. My partner was a little late so I was alone with 7 five year olds for about 15 min. Three weeks ago this would have been a HUGE issue but now it's no problem. The class behind me was having an exceptionally rowdy Sunday and afterward my husband came to me and asked what the difference was between the classes. The only thing I can come up with, is that I am prepared with plans for creating good bahavior. The kids actually come to me and say hello and then ask if we are doing the "check marks today?". While all the techniques I use are NECESSARY for children with special needs, they work wonders for typical kids too. In a "normal" classroom situation, behaviors can vary week to week. But if the teacher has a behavior plan, kids will rarely act out. As a result, the entire primary becomes more teachable and a happier place to be. My goal for this blog, and the Primary Angels DVD, is to help teachers make primary a happy, enjoyable and educational environment. Primary IS a child first introduction to religion classes.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Routine, Routine, Routine!

One of the most important things you should remember when teaching a primary class with children who have special needs or difficult behaviors, is to create a routine. The children will LOVE it. Especially children with Autism NEED the structure that the routine offers. It doesn't need to be anything huge, just make sure that they can predict what will happen next. In my class we first go through the different positive behaviors I saw in sharing time (Lucie sitting quietly, Daphne singing her best, Jackson zipping his lips)and then move onto the prayer. The lesson is next, followed by some sort of art (coloring pics, cutting things out, etc), then the closing prayer and FINALLY the last 10 min of class we have play time. It's easily predictable in their minds. Last year, a couple of the kids in my class were hyper active so we always started with a walk around the church. You can make the routine anything that works for your class. I always try to keep in mind that MY goal is to help the kids learn something and also to LOVE coming to primary. GOOD LUCK and let me know if you have any questions or issues I can help you with!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Positivity is contagious!

The first sunday of the year, and my class doubled in size. Let's just say, there was A LOT of planning before church. Of the class of eight 5 year olds, there are 2-3 kids that are consistently well behaved. The other 5-6 are consistently difficult. So how did my partner and I attack this? We tried to be VERY positive. You would be amazed what happens when you praise kids. One of the kids I was MOST worried about today, THRIVED off the positive praise. In fact, we had NO issues with him AT ALL. That's never happened! What types of things do I say? I always try to notice what they are doing right and say, "Wow! I like the way Lucie is cleaning up! Thanks for cleaning up Lucie!". Or, "I like the way Daphne is having walking feet! Thanks for having walking feet Lucie!". This actually serves 2 purpopses. The first is to praise them for doing something right. The second is, because kids are competitive and they want to be noticed too, so typically kids will start doing whatever that child was doing to get noticed. It always amazes how fast the kids start doing what I want them to!