Guest Interviews — 3 Minutes

Amber Knight: Autism Mom & Teacher

Guest Interviews — 3 Minutes

Amber Knight: Autism Mom & Teacher

Ainsley’s mother talks about her work.

Amber Knight talks with Ainsley Knight about her role as a special education teacher with an emphasis on inclusion. Nativity School, Amber’s employer, recently received the Dandy Award from the National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion for their leadership and vision in including all students.

Off Camera: And action.

Ainsley Knight: Mom, what has it been like for you to teach kids with autism, and what are the biggest challenges of your job?

Amber Knight: It’s very rewarding, because I get to have lots of different activities planned. I have to decide what’s best for the children, as far as what’s going to be in a successful lesson for them. What kind of things are going to be beneficial for them as far as their sensory issues, what kind of accommodations they need, as far as things to make them successful. Some of them don’t like math, so I have to make sure that math is something that they like and how can I make math fun for them. I help their teachers with their accommodations, so I come into the classrooms to make sure that they’re included in their classroom and help the teachers to make it more fun for the students and the things that they have challenges with.

Ainsley Knight: Okay. That sounds like a lot of fun, Mom. Question number two is when did you first start teaching children with autism and Down syndrome? (Because of Maybelle).

Amber Knight: Since I’ve been teaching, I have always had students who had learning differences. I’ve had every year a student that might not have been diagnosed with autism, but there’s always been a student that showed some kind of learning difference that would have been probably classified in the last 20 years as having an autism spectrum disorder. But in the recent years, there’s been children that have that diagnosis.

Amber Knight: And now with Down syndrome today, I spend a lot of time with a student with Down syndrome who is fully included in our classes, and I help her throughout the day, making sure that her accommodations and modifications are met. With my autistic children, I make sure that their accommodations and modifications are met, and I make sure that anytime they need some sensory time, my classroom is set up so that they can have that time away from their class so that they can sensory download whatever they need to do to help them to get back so that they can be successful in their classroom.

Off Camera: And action.

Ainsley Knight: Mom, what has it been like for you to teach kids with autism, and what are the biggest challenges of your job?

Amber Knight: It’s very rewarding, because I get to have lots of different activities planned. I have to decide what’s best for the children, as far as what’s going to be in a successful lesson for them. What kind of things are going to be beneficial for them as far as their sensory issues, what kind of accommodations they need, as far as things to make them successful. Some of them don’t like math, so I have to make sure that math is something that they like and how can I make math fun for them. I help their teachers with their accommodations, so I come into the classrooms to make sure that they’re included in their classroom and help the teachers to make it more fun for the students and the things that they have challenges with.

Ainsley Knight: Okay. That sounds like a lot of fun, Mom. Question number two is when did you first start teaching children with autism and Down syndrome? (Because of Maybelle).

Amber Knight: Since I’ve been teaching, I have always had students who had learning differences. I’ve had every year a student that might not have been diagnosed with autism, but there’s always been a student that showed some kind of learning difference that would have been probably classified in the last 20 years as having an autism spectrum disorder. But in the recent years, there’s been children that have that diagnosis.

Amber Knight: And now with Down syndrome today, I spend a lot of time with a student with Down syndrome who is fully included in our classes, and I help her throughout the day, making sure that her accommodations and modifications are met. With my autistic children, I make sure that their accommodations and modifications are met, and I make sure that anytime they need some sensory time, my classroom is set up so that they can have that time away from their class so that they can sensory download whatever they need to do to help them to get back so that they can be successful in their classroom.

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