So as part on the intern experience we have all become members of the American Camping Association (ACA) and from the get go Tim had a couple of articles that he suggested we read. The one that I would like to talk about is linked below, and is titled Moving from Mainstreaming to Outsourcing. The article talks about one woman’s experience from directing 2 camps for children with special needs, specifically autism.
The article goes on to say that a mother of a camper had said she wanted her child to be “mainstreamed” meaning normalized. The author suggest that there is no such thing because her model as a camp director is to understand that everyone in the world is different and unique and attempts to meet them there. The article then explains the results she had with that particular camper and suggest some different approaches that include providing structure, redirecting behavior, and dealing with bad behavior.
I found it funny how similar these tactics were to the things I do on a daily basis in my job as a Hall Director. Working with over 200 college aged males from diverse backgrounds can bring up all kinds of different needs and unwanted behavior. When I work with students the first thing I try to understand is “what was your intention?” this often leads to a much different conversation than a lecture on the rules. I have found that teaching students to understand when they are in stressful situations and asking them what they could do instead of the undesired behavior, (redirection) or how they could have avoided the stressful situation altogether (structure) the students respond well and it is not so much an adversarial relationship.
Funny to me to think that the same strategies of working with autistic children work with “adult” college men. It makes me wonder what a world it would be if all managers, coaches, and teachers carried the same philosophy when addressing behavioral issues. The world may not be better but it sure would be different I think.