Well, we made it. Today is the last school day of 2011 and now we get 2 weeks to try and relax. When I say we, I mean we. I think my wife and I need the time to relax as well. For me however the Christmas holiday means something else. My work season is over. As a seasonal worker, I work from April to December each year, and that means I get the next 3 months to relax and spend more time at home. This time is beneficial to Jacob's development, as now both Mom and Dad can focus on his schooling.
I've noticed over the past few off seasons, that Jacob really responds to me being around more frequently. I'll be able to take Jacob too and from school every day. And lucky for me I can play tag each time we walk to school. I don't know if Jacob is getting faster or if I'm getting slower. I also enjoy the more frequent contact with Jacob's teachers and EA. I'm also more available for school meetings, should one come up.
My off time from work allows me to also give some much needed relief to my wife. When I'm working, Shannon usually has the responsibility of taking Jacob to school, as well as picking him up and of course, speaking to school staff. Now that I'm off work for a few months, Shannon won't have to worry about getting up and dressed, if she doesn't want to. Nor will she have to worry about trudging though a couple feet of snow. We'll also be able to spend more time together as a couple. And when we work together in helping Jacob focus at school, he reaches higher levels than if one of us was more involved than the other. I think Jacob enjoys the balance between the both of us. Mom is a little more flexible with rules, whereas dad is a little more strict.
Luckily for us, we haven't had any snow accumulation so far this year. Jacob however loves the snow. He always wants us to play outside and build forts or snowmen. Jacob even helps me shovel the snow on the sidewalk. Also, to help combat the winter blahs, I'm going to purchase another family pass for the Rec centre around the corner. This way we can take Jacob swimming on a regular basis. We can also play games in the gym, like soccer and basketball. If only Jacob slept though. Although he does get more tired he never seems to get really tired, even after swimming sometimes. I on the other hand, am usually exhausted.
When it comes to school work, Jacob is usually 50/50 as to whether or not he did all his work for that day. So he often has some homework to complete. Jacob is usually resistant to complete his work when he first comes home. We now use a combination of tools to help persuade Jacob to complete his home work right away. We use the sticker system and the reward system.
We have a Twisted Whiskers calendar to help document Jacob's success at school. If he does all his work for the day, he'll get 2 stickers. 1 for the morning and 1 for the afternoon. If he doesn't act appropriately or do his work, he won't get a sticker for that session. At first I didn't think this would work, but one day, during a run of getting no stickers, Jacob looked at the calendar and said "Where's all my stickers?" We then told him he hasn't been doing what he is supposed to do at school. And then his attitude totally changed and he began to get stickers again. This can also help us identify and possible reasons for Jacob being frustrated for a prolonged period of time.
Then we employ withholding his items of interest, generally books, the computer and the DS. This helps him complete his home work more quickly. Mom sometimes has difficulty in getting Jacob to quickly finish his homework. When I help Jacob, he tends to focus a little better. Jacob often finishes his homework in minutes, so it's possible that he's not being challenged enough. He's especially quick at finishing school work, when we tell him that once he's finished, he can have his stuff back. Jacob seems to be advanced in math and reading, so this winter, were going to try upping the level of work he does. This way Jacob will be ahead in some areas and hopefully this will allow more school time to develop in the areas he's having issues with.
I'd like to wish all ASD parents and their families a Merry Christmas and I'd like to congratulate those of us who made it through another year without losing all our hair.
WELCOME TO JIM'S AUTISM BLOG
Hi everyone and thanks for visiting our blog. My wife and I created this blog to chronicle our experience while raising a son with Asperger's syndrome. Since our son was diagnosed with an ASD at age 5, we've had a lot of questions. Lucky for us we have a great support network in place. And our blog gives us an opportunity to share what we've learned with our readers. We hope you find our blog informative and interesting. Thanks again for visiting.
"It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential." Dr Hans Asperger 1906-1980