Friday, August 21, 2009

What is he trying to say?

Yesterday, we took another tour of the middle school. The day wasn't starting out very well when I reminded Daniel of the plan he got quite upset with me. There were angry faces, pounding on the ottoman, maybe a few slaps to his own head. Hmmm. This made my heart sink. When I asked him what was making him feel angry, I got the usual answer. "I don't know." He doesn't know. This is an on going problem for us. He just can't put his finger on what is making him angry in a situation. If he could say, "I'm nervous about it" or "it will take too long" or whatever, I could help him with the problem. But he doesn't know. He just knows he's pissed, leaving me with my constant guessing game of "what to do next?"

It's a game with which I've become quite proficient, to be certain. I feel I am very in tune to what he needs. I have to admit, he took me by surprise yesterday. He has shown very little anxiety about the transition and has taken it in stride thus far. I knew one thing, I wasn't backing out. He was going. I was hoping our trip would give me some insight on what the issue is.

When we arrived Mrs. Social worker was not in the office so the secretary called her over the p.a. system. Zachary was also not a fan of going and he had brought a book and was planting himself in the waiting area so he "didn't have to walk around". Oh, he has it SO rough, doesn't he? Fine with me. When we were waiting for the social worker/tour guide Daniel draped his body across the desk and just stayed there.

Me- "Daniel are you tired?" (just a lucky guess!)

Daniel- "a little".

Apparently, climbing millions of stairs at Avalanche Bay the previous three days was taking it's toll. Of course I DID realize this. He did not sleep in, as I had anticipated. He was too excited to get up and get his computer time that he had missed out on over the days. I suggested he might want to peel his body off of the front desk and sit in a chair. He did stand up but the schedule for the school caught his eye. I pointed out (again) that school starts at 8:10 not 8:55 like last year. It gets out at 3:04 pm not 3:38 (sharp! as he used to say) like last year. This REALLY caught his attention this time (Yes!). The other biggie. Lunch is at 11:00 instead of 12:30. 12:30 which he has pretty much maintained throughout the summer. These times are very very important to Daniel. We discussed them at length while waiting and then I took his picture in front of the sign in the office. He's so cute.

When Mrs. social worker came into the office she mentioned that she had to find his locker combination, and as she was walking away Daniel quietly rattled it off. She looked for a decent amount of time as Daniel kept glancing at me with annoyance, "Is she still looking?". I KNOW he was thinking, I JUST told her what it is, why is she looking? But I said nothing. When she victoriously came up with it, she said, what did you say it was Daniel? He repeated it flawlessly. Impressive. I knew it too. Numbers are my thing to remember. I was staring at the secretary thinking, "I have no idea what her name is". Not a clue. But his locker combination from a week ago. No problem.

We headed up the stairs and were letting Daniel lead us to the direction of his locker, which he easily did. He worked on it a few times and it was pretty obvious that he had it down now.
He dragged his feet down the hall toward his first hour class, computers. Saying "math", "science" on the way as we passed a few rooms. Now it was clearing up for me. He already knew all of this, why did we have to do it AGAIN? That's why he didn't want to come. The boy hates repetitiveness. Now I get it.
We did enter his computer class which he seems excited about. I again stated that I wished his para was there to tell us which would be the best seat for him. Then I realized, DUH. ASK HIM. People don't ask HIM enough of the time, including myself. I'm trying. He is really pretty capable of telling you. If he doesn't know, he'll say so. So I asked him, "what would be a good seat and computer for you Daniel?"

"Right here." He went right to it. He had probably been thinking that all along, but he doesn't speak up about it. It was across the aisle from the teacher's spot (which is a very tall chair so he can see the students screens), in the back (he doesn't like people behind him very much) and closest to the door. Perfect. Mrs. social worker is passing the information along to the computers teacher. Then we left. Quick. Mrs. social worker and I both realized he was set. We aren't going back until orientation day, August 31, when all of his peers will be there too. Things will look different with halls full of highly anxious, hormone filled kids. But Daniel's ready. Even if he couldn't quite tell me that in the morning when he got angry with me. I get it now Daniel. Welcome to 7th grade. You are growing up.


Laura Grace said...

Moms grow as their kids grow! ;)

Jude K. said...

He IS so cute!!!!

JoyMama said...

Ohhhh clever mama! Well figured-out!

It sure sounds like he's ready for 7th grade. Congratulations Daniel!

One maybe-too-nosy question: did you follow up and confirm with him afterwards that the repetitive trip was what caused the anger? Does it improve things when you try to help him verbalize what's wrong, or does that just amplify it? (My daughter's not nearly at the age and stage where this would apply, so I am truly ignorant on this kind of thing. Which is probably totally individual anyway...)

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Glad he got some more practice with his locker - it sounds like he's ready!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it sure seems like he's ready - even got the combo down! Go Daniel!