Life with Autism- Jobs


Currently,  I am working double as both an elevassistent (student assistant) and as a boendestödjare/socialpedagog (rehabilitation assistant) so my time is very limited. When I am not working, taking care of my children and nurturing my garden I am learning as much as I can about Autism.

Right now, many of my references to Autism are in swedish. I decided to start here since this is where I work and live and to understand the swedish culture around autism, this will hopefully allow for insightful comparisons between how autism in the US and Sweden is perceived. I find cross comparisons interesting but I also just want to learn as much as I can in order to help the individuals who I work with.

The following clip is from a series called UR Liv med autism (Life with autism) that is available on Youtube at

About Life with Autism

Life with autism shows the lives of children and adolescents with different forms of autism and Asperger’s syndrome. The program follows families as they go through investigations, training programs, schools, accommodation options, meetings with doctors, psychologists, educators and assistants.


Annika är en kvinna med Aspergers syndrom. Hon söker efter ett arbete som motsvarar hennes kompetens och behov.

Arbetsgivare skulle faktiskt gagnas av att anställa människor som inte är så socialt kompetenta så dom verkligen arbetar och inte bara fikar hela dagarna,säger skådespelaren Susanne Harju-Jeanty som gestaltar arbetssökande Annika med Aspergers syndrom.

English translation:
Annika is a woman with Asperger’s syndrome. She is looking for a job that matches her skills and needs.

Employers would actually benefit from hiring people who are not so socially competent so they really work and not only get the whole day, “said Susanne Harju-Jeanty, who is working as job seeker Annika with Asperger’s syndrome.

Source: UR publicerad den 25 september 2013

Although I am working with children it is important to keep in mind the future in which they all face in the job market. The ultimate purpose of my work is to help the adolescents I meet grow up into healthy adults and help them develop the skills needed  to live life as independently and autonomously as possible.


Thanks for reading!


Förskola-skola: en demokratisk mötesplats

Förskola-skola: en demokratisk mötesplats

De tre grundläggande delarna av skolans demokratiska uppdrag är för det första att barnen och eleverna ska få kunskap om mänskliga rättigheter och demokrati. Den andra punkten är att barnen ska få inflytande och delaktighet i sin inlärning. Den tredje punkten är att barnen och eleverna ska utveckla sin demokratisk kompetens i form av kommunikativa förmågor. Skolan utmanas av skillnader baserad på klass, etnicitet, kön, religion, kultur, sexualitet och de negativa attityder som kan hindrar skolan att bygga ett trygg miljö.

Nyckeln till att skolan kan uppnå sina uppdragsmål är att skapa ett tryggt utrymme i klassrummet eller i skolan generellt så att barnen/ elever kan utan kritik och bedömningar uttrycka sina åsikter och utveckla sina förmågor utan hinder. I förskolans och skolans värdegrund står det att det öppna klassrummet gynnar alla barn oavsett deras bakgrund. Det öppna klassrummet är inte en fysisk plats utan det är mer ett förhållingssätt till lärarens arbete. Ett tillfälle att jobba med det demokratiska uppdraget kan uppstå utanför det formella klassrummet, t.ex. på fritidshemmet, matsalen, på rast och lärarens kompetens att hantera situationen är väsentlig.

Frågeställningen- Är jag som lärare kompetent nog att bygga ett öppet klassrum för mina elever?

Är denna typ av kompetens utvecklad under den formella lärarutbildningen eller måste man utveckla sin kompetens med fortbildning när man börjar som lärare? Hur kan jag som lärare ta eget ansvar och se till att klimatet i mina klassrum är tillräcklig öppet? Ansväret ligger hos rektorerna och förskolechef att alla pedagoger har den kompetens de behöver. Det står att “Skolhuvudmän har här också ett stort ansvar när beslut tas som påverkar skolors förutsättningar och resurser för att möjliggöra ett öppet klassrumsklimat oavsett barns och elevers bakgrund” (Skolverket, 2013, 65). Det finns resurser som lärare kan använda som säkerställer att undervisningen är kopplat till uppdragsmålen och ger barnen /eleverna vad de har rätt till. Läraren kan jobba med workshop format från t.ex. Forum för levande historia som har workshops med teman demokrati, tolerans och mänskliga rättigheter. “Workshoparna bygger metoder där elever ges möjlighet att utveckla förmågor som är viktiga i en demokrati” (Skolverket, 2013, 68).

Det finns olika typ av samtals-metoder och värderingsövningar som läraren kan använda för barnens/ elevernas kommunikativ kompetensutveckling. Vad som är viktigt är att läraren ständigt dokumenterar och värderar processen och resultat. Var det intressant för deltagarna? Vem styrda mest-pojkar eller flickor? Hur kan jag som lärare skapar förtroende så att alla känner sig trygg? Sen är det viktigt att prata med mer erfarna kollegor omkring deras erfarenheter med metoder och hur de har lyckats att skapa ett öppet klassrum.

Kyana Hansson

Förskola, skola och läraryrke på vetenskaplig grund, HT 15

Skolverket (2013). Förskolans och skolans värdegrund – förhållningssätt, verktyg och metoder. Stockholm: Fritzes.

Leadership in the Classroom

Leadership in the Classroom

What does it take to be a good leader in the classroom?

This is a question that I have been pondering for the past two weeks mainly as an exercise to evaluate my brief stint as a teacher. Although I have decided to not pursue teaching I am taking this opportunity to reflect on my leadership skills which will benefit me in my future career as socialpedagog.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to take the position as a teacher’s aid. Unfortunately, substitutes do not have mentors and beyond being provided with instruction (which is not the same as mentoring) teachers are so pressed for time that they are unable to hold anyone’s hand particularly if they did not have the same experiences themselves. It is really a sink or swim situation and you have to be brave and confident in order to be successful but I am certain that this is a criteria for most places of employment.

I decided to take a year off from my teacher education in order to work and gain practical experience working professionally as a teacher. Throughout my education I became more and more convinced that my previous experiences from the American school system would present its own unique set of challenges for me as a teacher in the Swedish school system. I wanted to learn more about what was considered normal behaviour since I lacked the experience of attending grade school abroad. I wanted to understand what was expected of me and create my own interpersonal style of teaching.

Although there are some differences, which I will perhaps delve deeper into at a later date what I find most striking are the differences in what students today are like versus when I went to school. This is the most fundamental difference for me and the one that presented the most interesting set of challenges for a new teacher.

One thing that I noticed is that teachers who practice clear leadership do not use valuable lesson time in negotiating acceptable classroom behavior. This is one of the main reasons why I do not enjoy working as a substitute. Any class who is prone to challenging a new authoritative figure requires clearly defined rules and consequences for bad behaviour. Unfortunately, while working as a substitute provides one with the opportunity to try new strategies it also leaves one almost powerless in following up on bad behaviors like contacting the principle or parents/guardians, even the threat of detention is impossible to enforce. Discipline in the classroom although a clear indicator for leadership is not something that we who have studied to become teachers are prepared for in real life. In fact, all classroom scenarios are based on a willingness on the part of the students to learn but in reality it is not that simple.

I will end this post with a brief list of challenges that I faced this year as a substitute:

  1. Without a permanent position one is forced to stay in the periphery and is not able to enforce accountability from students.
  2. Unmotivated students- surprised to see just how many students are unmotivated to do anything that is challenging. How do you reach these students?
  3. Time constraints- 40/50 minute lessons, lack of engagement, a negative view of homework, so many students with differing cognitive abilities
  4. Unable to plan for my own lessons and not understanding how  lessons fit together in one cohesive structure in relation to the national curriculum.
  5. Lack of mentorship in the position of a substitute, or even as an unlicensed teacher with years of experience.

There is a clear difference between teachers who by choice later in life decide to teach students and those who are able to set aside four years of life in order to focus on studying full time. I think that so many people forget that for some setting aside that time is financially impossible although they are doing the exact same job and in many cases putting in more hours to create engaging lesson plans for a fraction of the pay.

Nope, the system has made it almost impossible to work as a permanent substitute even though the education system is so stressed that the quality of education can really be questioned….the situation reflects the rampant inequality that plagues all levels of society.


Thanks for reading.