Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh Well

I am again off of the band thing. But the most amazing thing happened this morning that I felt the need to share. Let me start by saying we are very very routined around here. Daniel, with his autism, likes his routines. The good thing is that once you get him into a routine he'll always do it. Always. He gets up, eats breakfast, plays on the computer, brushes his teeth, goes to his room, gets totally undressed and gets back in bed for 5 minutes (I really don't know how this started but he does it every day!) gets up, gets dressed, makes his bed, watches tv for about 10 minutes and we go to school. Every day. Even on the weekend. Except the school part of course!

It's great that he always brushes his teeth and makes his bed. Changing that routine or adding to it can be a bit of a nightmare, but once you do it. He'll do everything. It has been so nice that he makes his bed everyday and takes responsibility for some things. He is growing up and it's as it should be. He even keeps me in order. On Fridays he brings home his water bottle that he keeps at school all week so I can wash it. Then Monday a.m. he is asking, "did you wash my water bottle?" "Is it in my back pack?" He keeps you on task. It's awesome. The problem can also be when things go wrong with the routine he can get quite upset. The AI (autistic impaired) consultant for the district suggested I make up a "hurry up" schedule. For that day that will eventually come when we all over sleep and he has to have a routine done very quickly. She suggested we practice it on the weekend on a day when it doesn't really matter. This is a good idea. Write it out and practice it and then when it happens you are prepared. No, it's a great idea. A great idea that I haven't done yet, because, well, it will be a nightmare. I know this. But I know it will be worth it. I may even get around to doing it someday!?

If he leaves a library book at home or a water bottle or something he gets rather agitated at school. Even though he is really good at reminding me it still happens occasionally. They usually end up calling me and I bring it in, so he can refocus. Although sometimes I am doing something and I make him wait. Sometimes I just make him wait because it's good for him. This is partially to get him used to not getting it instantaneously. I may say, I'll have it there before lunch. And I will. Now this is usually good enough for him, because he trusts that I will. It is very important to do what you say your going to do. It is teaching him some flexibility. Very very slowly. But I can see it happening over time. We work on in constantly in little ways.

Last week he got in my car after school. He always wears an ear band in the winter instead of a hat. He doesn't like the hat on top of his head so he'd never wear one. Last year I finally got the brilliant idea to get one of the bands. It covers his ears but leaves the top of his head open. It was a good move. So he gets in the car. I pull out of the driveway and I say, "where's your ear band?" He immediately swung into deep panic mode. Turned blotchy red, starts whimpering. It is a state between crying and not. I hate to say it, but the whimpering drives me nuts. He's in a panic. "Go back go back!" he's screaming. I calmly said I have to go up to the next block and turn around, but he really could just leave it there until the next day. He wouldn't need it tonight. "no no no, go back". I say, "are you sure? we could just go home and you can get it in the morning. This confuses him and he screams, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO" at me. I do, we are going back. We get to school, go through his locker. It isn't there. I asked if he even wore it today and he yells, "NO, LET'S GO HOME!" Goodness. He was quite the mess. But when we got home it was here in the basket that it's kept in. I used it as a teaching moment and explained that he doesn't have to get that upset. It was right here. And even if it was lost, we could get a new one. It's not a big deal. I know it SEEMS like it to him. (I don't want to minimize his feelings) but really it could be taken care of either way. That was the end.

So today he does his whole routine. Then I get a call that his para is out sick. I have arranged via Daniel's IEP to have them call me BEFORE WE GO TO SCHOOL so I can prepare him in advance. It makes a HUGE difference. If he doesn't know before he gets there he can get quite upset upon arrival and seeing someone else there waiting for him. It's a jolt that takes him a while to get over. This preparation time before he gets there gives him time to process it and he is pretty ok with it at that point. Then we can't find the darn ear band again. I'm thinking oh no, now he's going to be all upset about this on top of his para being out. We look in the basket, on the floor of the closet, in the laundry room. No ear band. And do you know what he says to me. "Oh well, it happens." And walks out the door and gets in the car. That was it. Totally calm, no big deal. Like he just rolls with the punches on a regular basis or something!? It was truly amazing. What a wonderful thing for him to realize. Oh well.

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