The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

December 27, 2012

Central teacher, mom see breakthrough in autistic child’s budding education

Thursday, December 27, 2012 — It’s hard for 5-year-old Braden Poplin’s mother Carla to hide her emotions when she talks about her son’s teacher, Julie Busch.

It’s because Mrs. Busch, as she’s known to Braden, took a chance last summer when she elected to have Braden, who is autistic, in her kindergarten class.

Poplin said getting Braden into a regular kindergarten class seemed nearly inconceivable at times. More than a year ago, Braden was attending Central Elemen-tary’s pre-K class and it was suggested that he enter kindergarten in a self-contained class, a class comprised of children with a range of developmental disabilities.

If Braden had gone into a self-contained class, then Poplin said she would have been okay with the decision, but she wanted him in an environment that the Autism Society of North Carolina said would be best for him — in a typical classroom setting.

“That’s what they say, which is very hard to do, is what (Busch’s) done,” Poplin said of putting him in a typical classroom.

“I think she is one of the few who are willing to try something else and not look at the data, but look at the positive.”

Positive can be tough. Poplin knows. She said it was difficult to remain positive when she thought of how her son’s childhood would be different from other kids. Braden, who his mother described as “extremely intelligent,” is also primarily non-verbal. Having Busch take in her son for his first day of kindergarten was a memory that will be worth revisiting.

“Being a parent of a child with special needs, there’s a grieving time where you think about things you’re going to miss out on,” Poplin said.

“And (Busch) helped give us some of that back because she was so willing to let him start like everyone else and said if we can’t find something that works, we’ll try something else out.”

Busch, who is in her 23rd year of teaching, said she had never been fortunate enough to work with a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). After attending a meeting with the Poplins last summer, Busch walked away knowing that Braden could succeed in her class, but also knew she would have to do some homework of her own, researching the best methods to help Braden and herself with the new challenge.

“I knew it would be a challenge, but I had a heart-felt feeling that that challenge was meant just for me,” Busch said.

“I was asked to come to that meeting for a reason.”

After having the chance to observe Braden in Central’s pre-K program, Busch noticed some fundamental traits that she thought could translate well to her classroom.

“I felt like he had the confidence and self-efficacy that he would need in a regular classroom setting. I knew that he would need some one-on-one assistance at times, but I thought he should have a chance to experience kindergarten and be successful in that setting,” she said.

Part of the benefits of having Braden in Busch’s class is having him observe the behavior of other children. Busch, along with exceptioal children resource speciality  teacher JoEllen Teeter, have helped to fill in the areas where he might need extra attention.

Busch and Teeter have developed some ways to help Braden adapt to the classroom setting. For many autistic children, systematic routines help them to feel comfortable. Some stops along Braden’s routine include a walk with Busch to the office each morning where he then meets with Teeter in a one-on-one setting. They have also developed picture clues in substitution of words to fill his reading deficiencies. Small alterations, but steps that have led to progress.

“And he’s done amazingly well with that. He’s come so far from last year. In just a short amount of time, we’ve been really, really pleased,” Poplin said, to which Busch agreed.

“I see certain behaviors in Braden and I know he has obtained those from watching others. It is definitely beneficial for him to be in a regular ed classroom this year,” his mom said.

Maybe things wouldn’t have worked out so well if it weren’t for his classmates that have accepted him and treated him like all the others, and at times with a little extra love.

Poplin has observed Braden in the classroom and called the other kids “amazing.”

“He hums to himself and sings a lot,” Poplin said.

And as Braden and other classmates were sitting around, Braden began humming again, which is a means of communication.

Poplin said she saw one of the kids start rubbing him on his back, as if to say, “we’re listening.”

Braden and Busch will always share a connection after the events of this year, long after Braden moves along in his schooling. It was not long after having Braden in her class that Busch knew in order for him to continue developing, and for her to continue a commitment to making Braden’s kindergarten year the best it could be, she would need some help. Saying she wanted to help Braden was a nice gesture, but then she took action to ensure it.

“I wrote (requesting) a grant through the Bright Ideas for Education program,” she said of the program which is sponsored by North Carolina’s electric cooperatives that provides funding for classroom projects.

“I was so blessed to have Braden in my classroom and the opportunity to work with him each day, but I did not have the resources and materials I needed. Ongoing budget constraints did not allow any funding for these. I knew I needed curriculum resources and materials to meet the special needs of Braden.”

Her request was granted Nov. 9, when two representatives from Union Power surprised Busch with a check fpr $1,919.

“It was incredible,” Busch said.

Busch used the money to purchase learning materials and resources through National Autism Resources and Flaghouse.

The two have begun using some of the materials that arrived from Flaghouse and plan to get started with some of the other resources once they return from Christmas break.

 “I was given a challenge in August of this year — an incredible, life-changing challenge that has also energized my teaching,” she said.

“I think I have missed out on some precious and unique children. Braden is my first ASD child. How truly blessed I am. It was meant to be for (Principal) Mrs. Smith to call me for that meeting in July. It was meant to be for me to work with Braden this year.”

Busch took the challenge, and both are better off for it.

“It takes a teacher like (Busch) to say this kid can come in my class and do what it takes to make it,” Poplin said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Youth Choir State youth choir shares message in scripture, song

    They came, they sang, they shared a message.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lending A Hand Red Cross, YMCA discuss emergency preparedness

    They may not be in the Coast Guard, or even in the Boy Scouts, but the kids at this year’s YMCA camp can now say they follow the same motto: always be prepared.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dragon Boat Resident wants to bring boat races to Stanly

    Ann Pressly is not ripping herself off with the idea of bringing dragon boat racing to Stanly County. She is just taking advantage of a good thing and something that is gaining in popularity.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • School board hopeful files to oppose Poole

    District 1 Board of Education member Melvin Poole has something he has not had since 1998, an opponent.

    July 21, 2014

  • Crisco died of heart issues

    An autopsy report released this week indicates former secretary of commerce Keith Crisco died from heart problems.

    July 18, 2014

  • Stanly projects stall

    Barring any major changes in the next couple of months it is unlikely that any highway projects in Stanly County will receive funding from the N.C. Department of Transportation next year.

    July 18, 2014

  • 4-H Students ‘power up’ over summer break

    “The Magic of Electricity” flowed freely at Stanly Community College recently as 15 youth, ages 9-13, gathered in an electronics lab for a 4-H Summer Blast class which had advertised that the youth would be “shocked” at what they could do.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker RNG powers to grid

    Two months after connecting to the power grid for the first time, Tucker RNG found itself featured in Biomass Magazine.

    July 16, 2014

  • Park Ranger #1 Children test knowledge of Morrow Mtn. ranger

    Ever since the TV show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” folks can’t help but wonder how they would match up with the grade schoolers in their lives.

    July 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • Council calls on residents to share opinions on STI

    After hearing about the changes the state’s new Strategic Transportation Investment program could have on roads in the area, the Badin Town Council is calling its citizens to action.

    July 14, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide