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THIS is why I do the work that I do

"CA" was a 6 year old boy diagnosed with Autism when I met him. He was nonverbal when he first came into my classroom. He was bumping into children, pushing, shoving, spitting, eloping, and was lacking the tools to communicate with his peers...and with me.

But I KNEW that the tools, strategies, and systems that I had in place were going to TRANSFORM this child and his future. And they did.

After only a month in my classroom, not only was he able to communicate with his peers, but he had FRIENDS...True connections and friendships were made. He was able to write stories, work successfully in small groups, and when it was his turn to be our Star of the Week...this kiddo was able to stand up in front of his entire first grade class and speak to them in the most beautiful presentation I've ever seen.

THIS is why I continue to do the work that I do. This is why I've created a Social Emotional Learning roadmap for teachers. This is why I've created the ABC's of SEL for families. So that we can begin to bridge the gap from our schools to the community, and so THEY can all create the magic too.

Below is a testimonial from "CA's" family. This is my WHY.

"Magical people exist, they appear out of nowhere, they gain your trust quickly and unexpectedly. Suddenly one day they come into your life and ... THE MAGIC begins!

And so, began CA’s new stage; 1st. Grade in a regular class.

It had only been two months and we noticed the magic, and not only in our child, but also in ourselves because together with him we began learning a new language with which we could communicate better!

The zones of regulation taught us how to understand his emotions better. He was able to express how he felt each morning which allowed us as parents, change our working strategies daily depending on his mood.

Thinkables and Unthinkables appeared and complemented that communication.

In short time, we experience great progress in CA.

The pandemic came and with it a great change, not only in CA’s life, but to the whole family because we had to provide more support so that everything could work better.

We continued working with more strategies that we have learned little by little.

- Working Clock

- Chunk Each Task

- First, Next, Then

- Allow for Extra Time

And many more, but the most important strategy for us has been to learn to identify which ones help us best depending on each situation so that CA works in a harmonious way and enjoys learning, because at the end of the day, the most important thing for us is that he continues to be happy.

CA is a little person who loves going to school since he was only 2 years old. His dedication and effort motivate us to continue learning and to be one more reinforcement for him.

Mrs. Gameroz, every one of the strategies, reinforcements, advice that you have shared not only with us, but with everyone, have been implemented, and we simply see the magic!

Our only wish is to keep learning, as we want to be the best support in CA’s life.

We can only thank you for having planted the seed throughout the Tustin School District, because thanks to your hard work, the empathy in all the children begins to bear great fruit.

We wish her a life full of successes and we are eternally grateful for all the support she has given us since the day we met her at that open house, in the pineapple room.

And as a personal anecdote I will always have in mind and in my heart that day one of that open house, when we approached you to introduce ourselves. As soon as we told you we were CA’s parents, you immediately placed your hand on my shoulder and said: “Don't worry I know who CA is, he will do very well”.

At this moment, I knew that I did not have to worry so much, because you made me feel a security and a great confidence that he was going to do very well, and it did!

Thanks Mrs. Gameroz! I will never have enough words to let you know how lucky, grateful, and blessed we feel to have such valuable people around CA.

And finally, we highly encourage other parents to implement Mrs. Gameroz strategies to help our kiddos!"

So what's stopping you? YOU, the parent. YOU, the teacher. YOU, the administrator.

YOU too can experience the magic. Because THIS magic doesn't come from a curriculum. It doesn't come from lessons or activities. It doesn't come from being pulled out of the classroom. It doesn't come from chants or songs. It doesn't come from PBIS. It doesn't come from your clinical lens. It doesn't come from a specialist.

THIS magic happens IN the classroom...and IN the home...and in every social situation and environment...ALL DAY LONG.

I can't wait for you to experience this too. It's all right here waiting for you.

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Kim Gameroz is a change agent for schools and districts who seek to revolutionize classrooms by taking on a systematic approach to teaching social and emotional skills.

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