Teacher Chris Ulmer has a unique, and very inspirational, way of beginning his special education classes at Mainspring Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. For his eight students he starts the day by giving each one of them a compliment.
Ulmer posted a video of his routine to Facebook where it got millions of views after being picked up by ABC. "I love having you in my class." he says to one of the kids in the video. "I think you're very funny. You're a great soccer player. Everyone in here loves you."
Ulmer teaches kids with a variety of conditions, from autism to speech apraxia to agenesis of corpus callosum, and taking ten minutes out of each day to boost their confidence in this way makes a big difference.
It started with just one day called "Toast Tuesday" where he would compliment them, but soon evolved to a daily routine.
"I noticed the kids were always more motivated, happier and better behaved on Tuesdays. So we started doing it every day." he says. "They all came from a segregated environment. Now they're participating in school activities, dancing in front of hundreds of other kids and in the debate club."
Ulmer's Facebook page is called Special Books by Special Kids and he uses it to not only show the journey the kids are on, but also to help people understand the type of children he teaches who have special needs.
"I believe if enough people follow our journey it will erase stigmas and show the beautiful nature of children with special needs." he says.
What a hero.