Teaching & Agenesis Corpus Callosum



A teacher is a careful observer of each
student and understands that every child
has their own personality, motivations,
strengths, weaknesses and gifts.

Getting to know each student is an especially
important part of what a good teacher does
in an effort to provide the best possible
instruction for the child to help him learn
to his greatest potential.

When a child has Agenesis of the Corpus
Callosum it can be confusing how to
effectively teach and help the child learn
not only for the child's teacher but for the
child's parents as well.

There is no way to predict how ACC or a corpus
callosum disorder will affect a person diagnosed
because ACC has a very broad range of effects.

There is also no set guidelines for how to teach
a child who has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum.

Each person can be uniquely affected as a result
of having ACC. What works for one student in terms
of learning and education may not work for another
student with ACC.

It is extremely helpful to have teacher/parents
communication flowing regarding the child with
ACC to gain insight into how their child learns,
their strengths, weaknesses, what motivates the
child, etc. Anything that a parent can put into
writing about their child with ACC with respect
to helping their child learn in the classroom is
very valuable information for that child's teacher(s).



Some things that are mentioned often when a child
has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum are:

  • A child may need A LOT of repetition to learn something.

  • It can sometimes take a child much longer to
    grasp a skill and it seems like all the
    repetition is going nowhere with no progress
    but one day it just clicks and they get it.
    It all comes together for them. They often
    times just really need that repetition to
    make the connection.

  • Sometimes children with ACC take things very
    literally. For example, "Wake up and smell the
    coffee" could be taken very literally by a
    person with ACC.

  • A child with ACC may struggle with social
    skills. A child may have trouble with making
    eye contact, showing empathy, reading and
    comprehending facial gestures.

  • Staying on task and focusing may be difficult
    for children with ACC.

  • Moving a child with ACC, who is not focusing
    well, to the front of the classroom may prove
    to be very beneficial.

  • A child who is having difficulty staying on task
    and focusing may also greatly benefit and
    require a one-on-one aide or a shared aide.
    Some parents have a child in school who has
    an aide in the classroom to help but the other
    kids are not aware that the aide is there for
    that child.

  • Receiving too much information at once may
    be difficult for a child with ACC. They may do
    wonderful with one or possibly two part
    directions but if you give too many
    directions at once they might become
    overwhelmed and not be able to follow
    through with everything being asked of
    them.

  • A child with ACC may require extra time to
    process information and need extra time to
    complete tests.

  • Children with ACC may have trouble with
    abstract reasoning. Keeping information
    presented as concrete as possible can help.

  • Children with ACC may learn more easily if
    what is being taught is broken down into
    smaller tasks.

  • Children with ACC may struggle with reading
    comprehension. They may read very well but
    find it difficult to remember what they
    just read.

  • Giving a child different ways to receive new
    information and new ways to express
    themselves may be exactly what the child
    needs in order to process the information
    better and express their knowledge. For
    example: a child may not do well with
    using a pencil and putting their thoughts
    into written words or they may not use a
    pencil or crayon well to draw a picture
    but if they are given other methods to
    use such as a computer (or whatever else
    is discovered) that child may be able to
    put together perfectly their own picture
    or thoughts or express themselves in a
    manner that is just right for them.
    Finding that way isn't always easy but
    it's always worth a try or two or ten.

  • A child with ACC may have trouble staying
    organized and may struggle to remember
    homework assignments. A homework log
    with all assignments can be helpful.

  • A child with ACC may find it very difficult
    to put their thoughts into words and struggle
    with handwriting and taking notes.
    Handwriting may be very slow for them.
    Allowing a child to use an Alphasmart in
    class or to type their assignments can be
    a tremendous help for a child who has ACC.

  • Children with ACC may have difficulty with
    math. Being able to use a calculator can be
    very helpful for the child who has ACC.



More Agenesis Corpus Callosum and Education
information can be found at the links below:

Teaching Resources

ACC Social Skills & Challenges

ACC & Me Children's Book

Considerations For Educators Of Students With ACC:
This document is written by Mr. McCallum and
he is a teacher who taught a child with ACC in
his classroom. He offers detailed and valuable
information. The web page version of this
document is no longer available. If you would
like to receive a copy of “Considerations For
Educators Of Students With ACC” by Mr. McCallum
please E-Mail me. In your e-mail it is helpful
to know if you are a parent or a teacher
requesting the information.

Take a Leap of Faith..!



We recently took a BIG Leap of Faith!

We made the decision to attend church
for the first time in a very long time.

Our child, Matthew, who has complete Agenesis
of the Corpus Callosum is developmentally
delayed in all areas. He is 16 years old.
However, he functions on a very young level.

We cannot leave Matthew in the nursery or
in children's church alone because he requires
someone to stay with him due to his delays and
his special needs.

When you have a child who has special needs
there may be times when you find yourself
becoming isolated from some activities for
various reasons that will depend upon your
own particular circumstances.

The isolation may be partly a result of your
own fears and concerns that you wrestle with
in your mind. Those fears and concerns then
further prevent you from seeing anything but
additional distance from the place you want
to be.

In our case, Matthew does not have behavior
issues. Quite the contrary. He is very sweet
and full of love and kisses, lots of smiles and
is a genuinely happy boy from the time he wakes
up until he goes to bed.

We were concerned if he would make noise
and babble sounds outloud during a quiet
time or during the sermon. Also, he
struggles with problems like having a lot
of gas and burping.

We were unsure if a gigantic, loud burp
would burst forth from his mouth during
church service or (God forbid) from the
other end.

But the reality is he doesn't do those things
on purpose or to be disruptive and yes those
things may happen (even while sitting in church)
but we put one foot in front of the other
(and determined to try it)...we went to church
despite our fears and concerns.

Our first Sunday went beautifully during church.
Matthew did great! We sat at the back of the
church in the last row on the aisle (so we could
easily get up and step out if need be) and sat
Matthew in between myself and my husband during
the church service. During the service Matthew
would lean to kiss me and get a kiss, then lean
toward his dad for a kiss and this became a
sweet ritual throughout the entire service.

We also brought something he likes to do to keep
his hands busy. It was such a blessing to step
out of our isolation, join the community and
have fellowship.

Last Sunday also went very well. Matthew loves
music! We stand up often during the service
to sing songs and Matthew's head moves from
side-to-side while the sounds of singing
voices and melodious music fill the room.
Again, the sweet kissing ritual took place.
He is happy! We are happy!

Did he make some noise? Yes, this time he
did.

Did he burp out loud? Yes. He didn't do
it on purpose and I have come to terms
with the fact that he will probably do it
again. But, as much as we are both a bit
concerned and embarassed, we won't let it
stop us from going to church.

Last night my husband said to me that he
was worried while sitting in church last
Sunday that Matthew was going to let out a
huge, loud burp and it surprised me that he
had those feelings. I didn't really think
that my husband felt awkward like I do about
those kinds of things.

Is there something that you have stopped
doing; something that you want to do as a
family but aren't sure how or if it will
work due to your own situation..?

I encourage you to make a decision to try
whatever that something is that you have
become isolated from doing and to take
your own Leap of Faith..!


Destiny...


"Life is like a box of chocolates...
you never know what you're gonna get."


That is a famous quote from the movie Forrest
Gump.

Fifteen years ago my husband and I went to see
the movie Forrest Gump at the movie theatre.

Matthew was a baby then...only nine months old
at the time.

My parents watched him for us so we could go to
the movies.

We had just learned about Matthew's diagnosis of
complete Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum when he
was four months old so we were in the beginning
stages of our journey having had only five months
to deal with it.

Little did I know that when we sat down on the
theatre seats for a night out as husband and wife
to watch Forrest Gump that I would be filled with
tears and find it emotionally difficult to enjoy
the movie as I watched little Forrest Gump struggle
to run away, while wearing leg braces, from the kids
who were being mean to him.

I know that the movie is wonderful but at the time
I was stuck in my own emotional whirlwind of
wondering if my own child may be disabled, wear
braces and have other possible challenges.

Rewind several years earlier before Matthew was
born. My husband and I dealt with infertility for
many years before we decided to adopt a baby.

When we made the decision to adopt, we applied
through Children's Services Division but were
told that the chances of us being able to adopt a
baby or toddler were slim and that it would be
more likely that we would adopt an older child who
would probably have some challenges such as
physical, mental or developmental disabilities.
We were required to take several classes before
we could adopt through this agency.

We only took one class and I knew that I was not
able to proceed further down this avenue because
my heart's desire was to adopt a baby. I did not
see myself as being the mommy of a child with
special needs.

So, we applied through a completely different
adoption agency and we were chosen by a birthmom
who was eight months pregnant...Matthew's birthmom.

Fast forward sixteen years later and our
'baby', Matthew, celebrated his 16th birthday
on October 1, 2009.

We took him to the beach and stayed overnight a few
nights in Seaside, Oregon to celebrate his birthday.

Our last night in the condo I was searching through
the cable guide on the television and saw the movie
Forrest Gump listed so I switched the channel and
began watching the movie.

It made me cry several times though now I was able
to see the movie in a different light and my tears
flowed in response to the beauty of the movie, the
story of love, the magnificent way in which
Forrest Gump was able to love unconditionally.

At one point in the movie Forrest Gump's Mom
explains to him that it was her destiny to be
his mom. Then he wants to know what his destiny
is and she tells him that he will have to
discover that for himself.

I ended up becoming the Mom of a child who has
special needs.

I believe that it was my destiny to be Matthew's Mom
and that Matthew's destiny is yet to be discovered
but will unfold one day at a time...

When we think we are in complete control of our
own destiny I think that is the time to stop and
realize that...


"We toss the coin, but it is the Lord who
controls its decision."
~Proverbs 16:33


Matthew had fun opening his birthday presents,
playing with his new toys, taking walks through the
town, riding the carousel several times, and
spending time with his grandparents who came
with us.

While walking along the Seaside turn-around
boardwalk that overlooks the beach and ocean
we saw this beautiful sandcastle...


Today I bought Forrest Gump on DVD and it will
always hold a special place in my heart.