Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Independence

Zachary's basketball camp has been going really well for him and his buddies this week. They are having a blast. Apparently they are the youngest kids there and Carlton Valentine (former MSU player and current high school coach in Lansing) calls them "the four nines". It has been a blessing to have them doing something so fun, with their friends, while actually learning something.

Daniel woke up yesterday very excited because he knew we were going to be meeting the boys at McDonalds for lunch then going BOWLING. That kid loves to bowl! You would have thought McDonald's was giving away hundred dollar bills judging by the amount of people having lunch. I heard they are one of the few places not suffering from recession. I believe it!

We headed off to the bowling alley. We tried the first game without bumpers and really, everyone was a bit disturbed. I thought Daniel did a great job dealing with the gutter balls. He hates when anyone gets gutter balls! None of the boys were very happy with the "failure" of the gutters, so on game two we put the bumpers up. This really cut down on the frustration for everyone. The screen for the scoring kept getting fuzzy. He felt like the woman on the lane next to him was using his ball. (she wasn't she had one just like the one he was using) All of these things were taken in stride (pretty much) and we successfully had 3 games of bowling.

Today was my turn to drive everyone to bball camp and we were all moving a bit slower today. I was giving Daniel the breakdown of the day and he looked at me and said "I can stay here". Daniel craves independence. We work really hard to give him some. At the end of each school day while I go to the park (4 houses away)to meet Zachary's school bus, he comes into the house, gets his snack, empties his backpack and goes on the computer. If it's a nice day I could be at the park for an hour talking and watching the kids play. He does fine on his own. My question is this. When do you start giving your kids the independence of staying home on their own? There was a moment this morning when I paused and thought, "why not?" 99.9% of the time he'd be fine. I'd only be gone for 30 minutes. Instead I rushed him through his morning routine. We were waiting at the door while Daniel was making his bed. He can't leave without doing everything in his routine. It's that .1% that gets me. If an alarm went off, a fire stared (I know, I know all highly unlikely) what would he do? He wouldn't call me. He doesn't use the phone like that. This is something I would have to make sure he could do, call a cell phone and/or 911. I wouldn't want him to call 911 inappropriately, but this is something he should know how to do anyway.

When, if ever, have you let your kids (with autism or not but tell me either way) stay home for short periods on their own? I know it's different for kids on the spectrum, depending where they fall on that spectrum. Is it acceptable to do this? Why or Why not? What suggestions do you have for things he should know first. I'd love to hear from you.

3 comments:

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

An excellent question, Michelle! I'm going to have to devote an entire post to this, but the short answer is, for Nigel, I started letting him stay home for short periods when he was 12. He had the ability to call for emergencies and could be entertained for an hour watching a movie as long as he had plenty of snacks lined up.

P.S. Nigel *loves* bowling with bumpers!

Me said...

We have let our son stay home once in a while for very short periods....we let both boys stay home together for bit longer periods if they are watching a movie that has their full attention. Our rules: Don't answer the phone (unless it's mom or dad) or the door and don't leave the house. We are also close with a neighbor and they know they can go to her if need be.

rhemashope said...

Wow, that is a tough question. I have no experience to speak from, of course. But maybe you could start with very short time periods of letting him stay home and then build up. ?