Today was Pilot Study day. Even though I have planned meticulously for months, the nerves were present this morning. What if I forget to ask all of the questions? What if the children don’t engage? What if the iPad spontaneously combusts? Just standard self doubt goading me through broken sleep. None of those things happened. What a relief!
The planning process, including seeking and obtaining ethical approval, was lengthy. Although the delays were frustrating at times, they were beneficial, as I had time to refine the questions and assure myself that I had chosen the ‘right’ text to share with the children.
Initially, I chose two texts: Rose Robbins ‘Talking is Not My Thing’ and Isabelle Marinov and Chris Nixon’s ‘Leo and the Octopus’. Both score highly within the rubric I have created (with reference to Kleekamp and Zapata, and Menchetti). However, once the children were chosen, it was clear that the Robbins text may not be appropriate, as it is aimed at a younger audience than the Key Stage 2 children I was allocated.
Of the four children, two are autistic and two are neurotypical. All are boys. All four were happy to participate, expressing their views about the book freely. One chose not to draw or write, whilst the other three or wanted to draw, as well as talk.
I found the experience rewarding and fascinating. There are tweaks to make and plenty of discussion to be had. I’m keeping a personal journal during the process, which gives me time to reflect, without worrying about word count or even if makes complete sense! The next step is to watch back the video footage, taking meticulous notes as I go. I can’t wait to get started!
Just a quick aside. As well as all of this, I have been busily curating a new ‘room’ at the bookshop, drawing together titles from neurodiverse authors and/or featuring neurodiversity (fiction and non-fiction). Ikea has done well out of the process and it’s coming along nicely. I’ll share the finished product when it’s ready for the world!
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