On my first day at Have Dreams, I mostly just observed the kids and teens to get a better understanding of who I’m working with. Before agreeing to help out over there, I only ever had anything to do with someone who has a form of autism once and that was a student with asperger’s back in high school. I knew a bit about the disability through reading the autobiography “Look Me in the Eye.” However, observing multiple people with it is different since you see how autism and individuality mix.
After making all necessary arrangements, I happened to begin both of my tasks days apart even though it was a bit tricky to set things up at first. At Oakton, the student I am tutoring led the way. Our supervisor worked through her by giving suggestions for what to discuss during our meetings. The first day we went through some paperwork from Oakton’s end included goals for our meetings. Then we discussed where each of us currently stand in programming. Since she is new, I decided to draw on all my experiences and gave suggestions for what to do and what to avoid. We created a shared doc which contains mostly links to sites like Python Tutor, The New Boston, Khan Academy, Coding Bat, forums, etc. I suggested picking up on some python if java ever becomes unbearably frustrating as the syntax is not as harsh to a beginner. Afterwards we discussed career options, the job market, and how to decide what your calling is. We went over the LinkedIn profiles of several people I know or know of that work in a computer-centered field and discussed what they did to get to where they are today. I told her that the only way to know if a certain path is right is to explore it through coursework or some other form of exposure.
On my second meeting at Have Dreams I observed a little but mostly did some research on possible Unity projects since this would be a better use of my time then helping with Scratch since there was more than enough staff at hand.
During my second meeting at Oakton, we continued the discussion from last time and also discussed possible colleges that would be good choices to transfer to. We mostly discussed what to look for when choosing a computer science program and I have suggested asking people that have graduated for their opinions. The student had an extra credit assignment (a password generator) that we went over. I wrote up some pseudo code that I made up and we went over the process of planning a program logically before actually trying to code it. Afterwards she said she feels confident that she can figure out how to complete the assignment on her own.
Ayesha did not have any class material to go over so we spent most of the time discussing education and career goals. She is concerned about falling behind in terms of figuring out what she wants to do. I assured her that this is natural and that she is not behind by much. I explained to her my own thoughts throughout the last three years. I urged her to try to get any kind of computer related job as soon as possible so that she start acquiring general applied knowledge and build her resume. I suggested taking electives based on what she feels lured towards.