Last week, we were informed about an upcoming change at school. Now, for parents of kids with autism/Asperger's, a proper routine can mean the difference between a day full of joy and learning and a day full of outbursts and sadness. On Friday of last week, the school's learning resource teacher called and asked how we felt about Jacob having a different EA(educational assistant) in the mornings. I immediately agreed to the change, but only for a week's trial.
Now, I know that some would say that not putting up a fight was a mistake, but we felt comfortable with the change because the resource teacher agreed that if after a week, if Jacob didn't adapt well, then his old EA would be returned to him full time. Jacob's regular EA, whom he's had great growth with, will still be his afternoon EA. Luckily for us, Jacob is already comfortable with his new morning EA, she knew me when I was a young boy and we have lived in the same neighbourhood for a long time. So, even with the possibility of issues with the change, I am welcoming the change because I want to see how Jacob adapts to adversity.
Yesterday, we repeatedly told Jacob that he was going to have a new EA in the morning. At first, he didn't want a new EA, but when we told him who his new EA was going to be, he became happy. We find that with Jacob, early preparation is key. We had to explain the change prior to the moment it would occur. This way, Jacob would be aware of the change and hopefully, he would be less resistant to the change. All parents of children with Asperger's, that are high functioning, should try this approach. By warning our child, we can greatly lessen the chance of an outburst. We also told him that another student needed his old EA's help. This made Jacob feel good because we explained that it would be like he was helping another student, which he enjoys doing in class anyway.
Now it's only the morning, but this little change can possibly effect his entire day. We know that as a person, we all have to be willing to accept change, but for Jacob, timing is crucial. That's why we're glad that his new EA will be with him in the morning and his old EA will be with him in the afternoon. We much prefer that his regular EA was available in the afternoon to be with Jacob. This way, his afternoon will be more routine to him. I don't think having his new EA in the afternoon would be as effective because it would mean ending his day with a big change. And an afternoon without routine/comfort means an afternoon full of frustration and evening full of homework.
Once Jacob comes home for lunch, Shannon and I are going to ask Jacob, a few more questions at lunch than usual. We also usually speak directly with his old EA and we're going to have to develop new communication levels with his new morning EA, which could be interesting. His new EA is familiar with Jacob and she knew him before he started school, but she hasn't worked directly along side him in a couple years. So this afternoon, once Jacob goes back to school, I'll post how his morning went. Hopefully it was great, but if it wasn't, that's okay too.
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