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January 1995


This daily correspondence between schools she attended and us gives you a glimpse of our daily life. Most parents of typical children do not communicate on daily basis with the teachers. This gives a reader an insight to how important daily communication is for a child with autism.

Kat has attended school since she was 3 years old. These are school notes that were result of correspondence with her parents and her teachers. We have made comments at a later date reflecting back on the impact of these events. Kats School Notes Index








1/3/95 Hi E., Hope yo are feeling better . Happy New year . Kat had a swell break . She worked hard last week. I hope she can swing easily back into things . Tom put in a lot of worksheets. We are trying to figure out howto incorporate the school books .


Hi ! Whew ! Boy I really got hit bad ! I was sick the whole last week of school & through part of Christmas vacation . I'm feeling much better finally, & glad to get back to work.

I see that Kat has progressed to some new things. One of them being lower case letters for the date , & etc . How wonderful ! Also , her worksheets are considerably harder than they were 2 weeks ago. This also is wonderful progress! However, she is having diffculty with some of them & I've noticed that she really cannot seem to work on them in the classroom w/ out disturbing the other children. When I first opened up the folder & turned to the 1st set she stood up& yelled NO! I took her out of the room .

The children were called to the floor for a lesson so I thought we'd try it . I sat her on the floor @ 9:25 , had her look at me & then told her to sit quietly and listen to Mrs. Br. She sat for about 30 sec &then had silly talk which she stopped after 5 - 10 sec. She then was able to sit for the 5 minute lesson & got a smiley face for it . I clipped the worksheets together that she cannot do indep. she calls out " Help me" & whimpers loudly . On one of the time sheets I tried to work w/ her(even though she was uncooperative) &she seems to know the answers ( most of the time ! ) If she marks it incorrectly, do you want me to fix it w/ her , or circle it & let you see it& fix at home? Let me know ! She seems to be OK w/ the hour(6:00) 1/2her( 6 : 30 ) & 1/4 hr ( 6:15 ) , but anything other than that "scares" her .

Also,thank you so much for the box of delicious chocolates ; I can't wait to eat them ! Did Kat like the Winnie the Pooh books I got her ?

Have a nice day .


Hi E., It's great to have you back I always look forward to you notes. At home we are focusing on Kat saying things (asking ) with eye contact & affect. I could come over Friday or next week. The teacher would like to come over next week is Tuesday Wednesday or Thursday better ?


PS Kat loved her books. we added them to her drill books. thanks so much. Danuta



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1/4 Hi ! Thanks for telling me about the eye contact- I'll be sure to focus on that too .

Friday would be fine for you to come here and next Tuesday or Wed . would be fine for you both to come .

She was very verbal this morn . - blurting out words , sentences , humming & singing . I'm not sure if the "exercises" still work . Maybe it's me ! I found that she does respond better if I have her face the wall (in the hall way ) for a few seconds, then have her show me her closed mouth & then go back in the room . Unfortunately , we had to do this about 4 times . This is very unusual now for her but I guess everyone is entitled to an " off " day.

I tried to have her color the letter worksheets where indicated & she scribbled at first Then I took the green crayon & showed her what I wanted . She whimpered & tried to push the paper away , but I persisted & she complied & did a fine job ! She was zipping through these pages & it turns out she colors pretty well. By the way , does she have a library book at home ? I want to take her to the library but I need to know if she took out a book before the vacation .

Have a good day .


Hi E. , If you can find out what title it is we can look for it but I don't remember seeing a library book.

If standing against wall is effective and works by all means try it. Another option may be is to start the happy face sheet with a couple faces on them and when she misbehaves wipe a face off. I will see you Friday.


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1/5 Hi ! I'm enclosing a printout from the library that shows which book Kat borrowed .

Also - did the nurse call you re testing her eyes , ears & ht & weight ? We can do this on Friday , OK ?

I did as you suggested - putting happy faces down & then wiping them off when she has silly talk & it worked ! She became real quiet , after exclaiming NO ! & then "NO more silly talk " .

We went to computers this AM & we did our touch typing - identifying & typing words w/ the correct pictures . ex : yo -yo , mouth , frog , head ; the picture was a frog . chicken , van , tiger , bone : the picture was a van, & she has to type in the correct word . This went very well . (9 : 10 - 9 : 45 ) WOW !

Backin the class she began her work, and it's interesting to watch her now - she's become selective in which papers she does first & which ones she leaves out for last! Sometimes she'll try to get away with slipping 1 or 2 pages in her completedpile that she didn't do at all .

Again ,very talkative today . I had to wipe off 2 happy faces , so she didn't earn a surprise here . Maybe tomorrow ?

E. (I gave her a sticker for typing)


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I'll see you around 9 AM

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1/9 Hi ! Hope you all had a great weekend . Kat again was very talkative today . When we were walking down the hall, she blurted out nonsense words very loudly. The 2nd time I stopped her & said " Kat do you want to go home? "She answered " NO " very loudly & stopped & look at me . Then I said, " NO more silly talk."

Unfortunately , at this time there aren't any extra Blue 1st grade math books to be had ! However, I will keep looking , So you can keep it this week & copy it . Of course if I find one , it's yours ! !

Interesting note : she does all the math related papers 1st - she pulls them out to do them. We went to the library today. You're coming in on Wednesday ?



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Ellen , Hi ,

Sc. does not want to stop the " silly talk " in all situations. In class she has to learn that that is not the place . We will come in tomorrow morning , the teacher (Melissa & I) May be we can talk about some new strategies.


1/10 Hi ! - The reason I was concerned about the silly talk in the hall was that she was quite loud & many of the students who don't know her ( 4th & 5thgraders) were there and looked at her very strangely. She also has had silly talk alot in the class . Mostly humming w/ finger in her ear . I had to erase 2 smiley faces but she ended up w/ pretzels & a sticker . Despite the silly talk she is a good worker! See you tomorrow . (Oh, I fixed her (Magic School Bus Book) .



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1/11 Hi E., thank you for spending the time with Melissa yesterday. She was very impressed with what you were able to accomplish in such a short time . We worked up a library routine andI will review it with the consultant this Friday. After that in about 2weeks we may be ready for library. As soon as we get closer I will let you know. Iwill come over to talk to the children.


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1/12 Hi! OK - sounds good! Melissa seems like a super nice person - you & Kat are lucky to have her ! We went to computers today & all went well . She had a few questions - igloo , wheel & she got confused with the picture of a dress .

Back in the classroom, after she finished her work she said NO ! I asked her tell me what you want & she very nicely looked at me & asked if she could read a book . Also in the hall she took my hand & looked at me & asked if she could have a drink . Of course I made a huge fuss ! She pulled out the clock pages & did them 1st today. Again - very " talkative"in the room . She was making these high pitched noises & the boys at her group asked what was that? I took away a smiley face . Then she began working quietly & after a few minutes I gave it back. I also had her put some smiley faces on the paper. She enjoys doing that !

A super day !




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1/13 Hi , the happy faces seem to work at home as well . She does not want them erased . I have enclosed the library drill we put together with Melissa . Please let me know , if you can today, if this is how the basic routine will go . I will review it with the consultant as well .


Hi ! You know - I think she enjoys doing the calendar each morning with me & putting on a sticker - it starts her day! She did the pledge & the anthem beautifully, then sat & read quietly w/ out being told to while I got her things ready. For that she earned a smiley face, which she drew on.

* Interesting note - her crayons fell & she couldn't reach them . I told her to ask Al. to get her crayons . This confused her but w/ prompting she said " Al. May I have my crayons please ? " Then I instructed him to look at her & say " Here are your crayons . " Then I prompted her to say " Thank you ". Next her happy face paper fell , so we went through the same routine. I said to her , "ask Al. to get your paper ." - then, "Ask Al. what you want . " She said , " Al. may I havemy paper please ? I was so excited . We hugged &she drew another smiley face .

Am I prompting her correctly? When these things happen it's good for me to know the correct prompt so she understands what I want or expect from her . When she finishes a packet , I tell her to take out her crayons & then we do the coloring part . I instruct her on the 1st one , & then she finishes then independently

The library routine looks OK except at Step 1 & 4 - Mrs. Ro. would probably say : "Good Morning Boys& Girls . Put your books in the book drop , and then find your seat at your table ." There are5tables in the library & 5 children sit at each table. ------> (I don't know where she will sit .) Then she will call the children up by tables to come & sit quietly on the floor to listen to a story . Step #3 - she will then choose a child in the class to get the browsing sticks & they either hand them out or take one themselves . (use a coffee can with rulers . If you need anything - let me know ) Then they browse & use their sticks to remember where the book came from . The rest is fine . Hope this helps - I know she will be just fine ! Melissa told me that when Kat makes noises she puts her finger on her own lips &leans into her face so she sees her. Well , I tried this today , in fact,I tried it every which way & here were my results : smiles, avoiding looking at me ! giggles - I guess she thought it was fun -- a game! So I tried putting my finger on her lips - it was OK - she continued through my finger 2x ! Then I said her name & touched her ; her arm , her hand , shoulder - & this worked OK too .

Wow - I feel like I'm writing a book today - but I have so much to tell you ! Just now , she started loud silly talk &the class was working silently ! I said no silly talk & started to wipe off a smiley face & she grabbed my hands &arms & started shaking them & saying NOOO ! NOOO ! Well, I looked at her &said NO ! waited a few seconds till she calmed a bit & then rubbed it off & told her to stand up. She did & smacked the back of my chair! I told her to turn around & face the closet . She stood w/ her hands clenched into fists -(15 sec) When she released her hands, I allowed her to turn around & sit down . Then I handed her her paper. She started to " fake " cry ! ! & made her face sad , then began to work . Er. & Al. looked at each other & said " boy - she's lucky she doesn't get a sad face for that ! ! Anyway, while she was working I gave her back the smiley face & the boys said " See Kat, you got a smiley face for being good ."

Well, that was our morning - have a great weekend !



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1/16 Hi Ellen,

You are becoming a true behaviorist ! :) The way you handled those situations . The way you handled the situations .

Kat's long weekend went quick . I worked a lot on her school papers this weekend & hopefully I'll be able to send some newer worksheets later this week. Kat does the same at home picking which worksheet to work on first , even which problem to attack first . We also started the library drill but Itwill take us some time to get her ready. Do children raise their hands, are they asked questions about the story?


Hi Danuta,

It's T. E.'s absent today . We had a rocky start today but now ( 9:20) things have settled in nicely. First, Kat began speaking loudly (silly talk) hollering "Mother Goose - etc. ) (happened twice). She did quiet down when I said " Kat, no silly talk." Next, she asked to go to the bathroom. When it was time to flush the toilet she proceeded to try to slam the door (with Kat in stall). When I said " No, come out and wash your hands now " she did respond but seemed very angry with me. She then gave me a bear hug - still with an angry look on her face. I said " No - wash your hands - it's time to godo your work. " She washed her hands appropriately - I pressured her - she smiled - and that was the end of that . She's been pleasant and cooperative over since . She breezed thru worksheets (thru packet 3 ) but had difficulty with time - 5 min intervals .

Have a nice day !



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Hi ,

We are working on the library drill is it important that Kat learns to raise her hand to answer a question ?


Hi - I'm back ! If I make it through the year w/out using up all myy sick days, it will be a miracle ! What a winter for the L. family !

In regards to your question abut hand raising ; Mrs. Ro. does ask questions pertaining to the story , but I don't think it's necessary for Kat to answer a "comprehension " question - do you ? At least at first let her get used to following another teacher's directions & be able to sit & listen quietly . Then after a few sessions we can teach her to listen & raise her hand & answer a question . Let me know your thoughts on this . When we spoke last week you mentioned coming in on Fri - is that still OK? Let me know.

She has been asking beautifully for things -ex bathroom , drinks . Interesting note - the zipper on her jacket got stuck & she called "Help me ! ". I said tell me what you want . She asked me for a crayon ! I chuckled & said a crayon ? Yes ! No , Kat you don't want a crayon . Do you want me to help you w/ your jacket ? Yes ! I then prompted her - Mrs. L . can you please help me w/ my zipper ? She repeated it & I helped her .

* She asked to go to the bathroom 3x today . I'm wondering if her stomach hurts - I did ask her & she said yes, but I'm not sure .

We went to the library to exchange her book & Mrs. Ro. also suggested that she just follow the directions & sit quietly , listen & keep hands & feet to herself . (w/out squirmming ) Then browse & choose a book .

Have a good day .



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1/19/ Hi , I am not sure if I can make it in tomorrow I will know better by the end of today . I will writ a note tomorrow morning

PS, We copied the math book , Thanks


Hi ! We went to the computer room this morning . (9:10 - 9:45 ) We played the word matching game again & she was fine . She walked down the hall w/ C. & had appropriate behavior . She was very loving w/ me today. Hugging & sitting on my lap ! She said "Mother Goose " & I said " tell me about Mother Goose. " she answered " Mother Goose is pretty ". Back in the classroom she was able to complete 1 1/2 packets . The day went fine . Maybe you would like to come in next Thurs . & see Kat during computer time ? Let me know also . What did you decide about the hand raising during library time ? See you tomorrow , maybe.


* Do you want me to pick which smiley face sheet we do ? Toady I randomly choose "surprise @ home ." Do you want that for any specific day ? If so, just write me in the AM & I'll choose it .

* I am also having her read the words she punts out loud to me .(Sometimes I have to help her w/ the pronunciation)& thenIpraise her . She's doing fabulous ! !

1/19 E. Probably best if she gets imediate reward for now rather than waiting for home . Can I supply some rewards for you ? I can't make it this morning .

Ithink your right about raising her hand. we'll wait for that step later on .




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1/20 Hi ! Absolutely - feel free to supply us w/ ( rewards that you feel Kat would like . We usually give her (1.) pretzels & a sticker, or (2.) pretzels & treasure chest . She looks forward every day to her pretzels !

We had a sub today for Mrs. Br. so from 9 : 10 - 9 : 30 I had to help her get situated & give a spelling test . I gave Kat some work which she did sporadically & w/ the help of her " seatmates ". They had to continually keep her on task as she kept stopping & talking . When A. asked her a question , she reached across the desk & bopped him on the head w/ her pencil .They all laughed at this but when I heard it I told them not to laugh - you wouldn't lilke it if someone else did it to you & they all agreed on that . I spoke to Kat & told her we don't hit other people & had her say " I'm sorry " to Alec . I'm not sure she understood .They seem to tolerate & accept Kat's strange behaviors w/ out reservations ! * ------> In fact sometimes when she sings, or calls out, they turn around & smile at her ! They constantly ask me "Why does she do this , " or " Why does she say that . " They are intrigued by her use of pronouns , i e - when they ask her their name - " what is my name ?" she answer - " My name is A., or my name is C ."

She has been asking for things & looking at me when she does it . In fact , for the 1st time , when I asked her - " Good Morning Kat, how are you ? " She answered correctly - "I am fine ." not "I am 8 years old ." I hugged & praised her for that !

I put 2 smiley faces on her chart & each time she would babble or sing, I would move my hand as if to wipe it off , & she would put her lips together & go "mmmm". Isn't that funny ? ! Does she do that at home too ? Is it new ? We accomplished alot of work today - we finished every paper in her book - whew !

Have a super weekend !




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Hi E. ,

It sounds like not only you are becoming a great behaviorist but the 3rd grade as well . It's super for Kat .

I put some new worksheets in for beginning sound . let me know if any of them are a problem .


Good Morning ! This AM went very well and it's 9:30 & she's on her 1st set of worksheets . I went over the new sounds on each worksheet & the ones w/ a red check mark are ones she had difficulty with .

The 3rd grade is going on a field trip to the Franklin Institute , the Planetarium & Omniverse Theater . They will be going in the spring and it is all day - 9 - 2:30 or 3:00 . I'll call you today to discuss it . Also, are you planning on coming in this wk? Send back her library book & we'll choose a new one tomorrow . Also - don't forget to send in any rewards you would like Kat tohave .

She was very happy today ; smiling & giggling ,at some "secret"joke of hers !

I'm trying something new w/ her. I give her all her worksheets & have her hold them on her desk until she's finished .Then she hands them to me all together ,(not 1 at a time ,) looks at me & says " Mrs. L. I'm finished . " So far I've only had to prompt her twice . Also - she was working and looked up & said " I need hugs. " I was across the room &the children were out at Health . She ran across, gave me a big hug wh/ I of course reciprocated & then Mrs. Br . & then I redirected her back to work . She had a great day.


PS - check how she makes her "e's" - she makes a "c" first & then goes back in -using 2 strokes of her pencil , rather than 1 smooth movement .

"e" "e"

Hi E. , your notes are great . I feel like I am there when I read them . This is the way Kat was taught using the better guide we had, which numbers the strokes . Does voorhees use a different guide ?

I enclosed the dictionary word we were talking about while back . What kind of dictionary do 3rd graders use ?


Ps . the trip sounds great .

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1/24 Hello ! We tried the dict . word this AM . (1.) Do you show her the word 1st, or (2.) do you just say the word& she has to find it . I used the 2nd way . I thought I'd give it a try . We talked about the dict . & I told her the word for today - bed. What letter does "bed " begin with ? She answered "b". I had her open up the dict . & look for the letter "b " , (we did it together ) , she started looking at F's, dr's, then we found b's. I said the word again & showed her the correct page - & instructed her to look on this page for the word bed. she found it & said -

B - E -D. Then I had her copy the word & its definition. Let me know how you do it . Her dict . is perfect !

* Ijust love the Disney World Book.Would it be possible for me to borrow that book until Friday? My kids would be thrilled !

The handwriting " program " we use , teaches the children to make the " e " in 2-3strokes :

*You can use verbal cues:- out ----> up /\& around (___|--> ---> e & have her do it on the chalkboard, & w/ clay . Have her " feel" the letter .

1. out

2. up

3. around

"e" "e"

I also sent you 2 pages of "e " 's. hope it helps !

Her verbalization is becoming incredible ! ex - Good Morning Kat.

Kat - Good morn , Mrs . L.

Mrs. L. - How are you

Kat - I am fine thank you

Kat - Mrs. L. may I have a drink of water ?

Mrs. L. - Yes you can

Kat - Thank you ( w/ eye contact )

another teacher - Good morn Kat

Kat - Good Morning . ( NO name ! )

teacher - would you like to see a book ?

Kat - yes please . Thank you

teacher - Good Bye Kat. Have a nice day

Kat - " " . Have a nice day

I really feel that the work at home, coupled w/ the modeling done here at school in the AM isreally paying off . She is able to use what she learns at home , here at school ! Boy she's come a long way ! !

Don't forget to send in her library book .

Have a great day !


PS The dictionarys the 3rd grade uses are " real " dictionarys w/ guide words at the top & a few real color photographs. I'll show you one on Thursday. For example - the word " bed " had 6 definitions & was listed as a noun for def 1 , 2 , 4 - 6 & a verb for def . 3 ! !

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1/25 Hi ,E. , I guess there are 2 way to write " e " even the sheets you sent have it 2 different ways . since shecleaned it that way lets leave it but if she makes it messy we correct her .

The Disney wordbook I sent in can you take it now so I don't forget . I will see you tomorrow . She's not ready to go for the dictionary with multiple definitions. Isthis one okfor now .

It's great to hear abotu her progress !


PS Don't let her see when you are taking the Disney book she is very possessive . You can send it back in nextweek OK! Thanks !

1/25 Hi ! The dict . word is working out well . I'm trying to have her point to the word when she finds it but she resists , ie - whimpers , gets stiff ; however I work through that and ask her the dict . again , she tells me & then I physically take her finger & point to the word . I repeated my directions again & she complied .

* Interesting note : this AM when we came into the classroom , she went to her desk & unpacked & I went up to speak w/ Mrs. Br. after she unpacked she came up to the bookcase & G. saw her. He said "Hi Kat" & she said , " I need to go to the bathroom . " He said , " do you need Mrs. L.?" & she answered "yes," & he showed her where I was . She came up to me & asked me the same question - "Mrs. L. , I need , or may I , ( I forget! ) go to the bathroom . " I was so excited ! However , once in there she flushes twice & screeched! - then came out of the stall grinning ! Oh well - you win some & lose some ! ! I did speak to her about that !

Re : the dict word - do you want me to choose the word each day or do you want to write it somewhere on her paper . The reason I'm asking is you may have specific words you want her to do . Today , after she wrote the word & the def . (Farm) I had her read it to me (w/ help) as best she could .

She had a great day ! See you tomorrow .



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1/26 At this point we will send in a list of dictionary words she is familiar with. Once we go through these we can move to words she isn't familiar with.

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1/27 Hi ! A good day . Nothing out of the ordinary except quite a bit of singing ! - lullabye , ring around the rosie , etc . Loud enough , for the other children to hear her ! This went on all morning . I had smiley faces & wiped them off - finally she got quiet at the end

Have a great trip .


PS - Book fair is on all next week M - F .