Pilar Lopez de la Garma
Responsible for the area of school support in “Torreon”
Director for the Centers of Childhood Education “Patinete”
Many years ago I started working in the area of school support with a six year old autistic boy. In our individual support classes, we took the time to get to know one another, and always with his consent, our work begun.
At the beginning, In one of our classes, he stated: “My head is divided into very tied compartments, making it very difficult for me to allow my ideas in and out. “ I was impacted by his words. A bit later during our classes he informed me that he enjoyed visiting his grandfather in town and seeing him work with the tajadera. What is that? I asked. You don’t know? It is an object that has a very dangerous blade and it cuts the passage of water; sometimes I am able to use the tajadera with my grandfather’s help and see how water goes in and out.”
During this time we were working on writing and mathematics. At home he had several educational games; one of the games had a plastic piece with two holes where addition and subtraction number and object cards could be placed. Since he had such difficulty with mathematical calculations, It occurred to me to present the game as “a tajadera.” And to convert an object so special to him into an educational tool. He loved the idea, and for a long time we made use of our “educational tajadera. “An educational tool in the learning of mathematics; taking and placing the numbers, adding and subtracting, and telling stories as we went along…Always respecting the rhythm of his productions. I was cautious to avoid easy ways in the learning process, those directed towards the demand. Always being careful not to exhibit an excess of enthusiasm that he could experience as a limitless demand.
At a later time we continued the support classes in “Torreon.” One day (he must have been around fifteen years old) he appeared with his tajadera educational game under his arm, and in a moment of great emotion for both, he gave me the game saying: “ I am bringing you the game so that you can use it with other children, I no longer need it.”
At the present time he is nineteen years old. With great effort he has obtained the title of E.S.O and has continued studying. His tajadera educational game continues in “Torreon.” The game helps me to continue working with other children and to never forget to put into practice singular educational moments.
Translation: Maria J. Lopez