Inclusive Schools Week: Student Progresses from Loner to Classroom Leader

Student with Starter Kit

This first week of December, Duncanville ISD celebrates Inclusive Schools Week. This time is used to bring awareness to making schools more inclusive, which leads to a more accepting society that embraces people’s differences. Morgan Wong’s story (below) is an example of the successes being realized each day by our students and staff  especially Duncanville ISD’s Special Education Department:

If you watched 9-year old Morgan Wong lead fellow students in his science class in creating an electrical circuit, you might not realize the struggle he and his parents have faced.

In kindergarten, Morgan was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Although he is intelligent, his social skills lag behind his intellect and have made it difficult for him to relate to his peers and others. Unable to sit still, pay attention and interact well with others, Morgan’s parents decided to home school him until they could figure out how to help him be less disruptive in a group setting.

Following two years of learning at home and behavioral therapy, Morgan’s parents decided to re-enroll him in public school. The staff at Bilhartz Elementary School immediately recognized Morgan’s intelligence, but knew they needed to work with him so he could feel more comfortable among his peers.

“When I first was introduced to Morgan last school year, he was a loner,” said district behavior support specialist Christina Henderson. “He was on the playground and he was playing by himself with a nickel.”

Morgan has come a long way since then. With the support of Duncanville ISD’s Special Education program, the fourth grader has made great strides with his social skills.

“This year I can see more confidence in him. He’s making friends – he has friends in other classrooms. He’s just doing great, said Mrs. Henderson.  “I have really seen a change in him.”

Morgan’s parents have seen the improvements too. His dad says they’re grateful for the work Morgan’s teachers have invested in him.

“The support he has gotten from the whole staff at the school has contributed to his improvement,” said Morgan’s dad Max Wong. “Everyone at school has been very supportive and understanding of him.”

Allowing Morgan to help teach the science lessons has given him a way to relate to his classmates.

“The kids love him because he does the demonstrations and because he’s someone on their level so he uses phrases they understand,” said Mrs. Henderson. “Sometimes they’re in awe – especially when he did the electrical circuit with the switches and made the lightbulb light up.”

Morgan’s dad says he wants to be an electric engineer or a scientist one day.

“He is in love with electronic components. He likes putting them together and making them flash and make sounds,” said Mr. Wong.

Those who have been working closest with Morgan the past couple of years say if he puts his mind to it, there’s no limit.

“I believe he can do it all,” said Mrs. Henderson.