How important is a consistent routine to a child with Asperger's? Very important. We've noticed that a structured routine does Jacob wonders at school. The plus side for us is, that as Jacob has gotten older, his ability to deal with change in the classroom has improved. As we posted in ASPERGER'S LOVES ROUTINE parts 1 & 2, Jacob has had a new educational assistant (EA) in the mornings at school. This week is half over and at this point Jacob has a few stickers, but he's hit a couple speed bumps along the way.
Since the new year began, Jacob's had very little to no home work after school. We, as parents, took this as a sign of Jacob's problem solving skills improving as he progresses in school and gets older. Then, his school throws us a curve ball. They requested that Jacob have a different EA in the morning. Now Jacob has 2 EAs instead of 1. Needless to say that Jacob has had an extra helping of homework the past couple days, but that was expected. And the behaviour, and the outbursts and the anger was expected too.
Tuesday, Jacob had the most homework he's had in a single day this year. He had math, science and reading/writing work that had to be done at home. We use his favourite at home activities as leverage, to get him to quickly complete his home work. But on Tuesday, Jacob said "I don't want the DS or the computer, I'm going to my room!" We were at a loss. And with no way to get Jacob to comply, we let Jacob's emotions run their course. We had to. For those who know, you can't make an Aspie child do anything they don't want to do. Thankfully, Jacob came down from his room about 10 minutes later and then quickly disposed of his work by completing it all in less than half an hour. Thankfully, it was a quick diffusal of an explosie situation.
Then Wednesday came. As I sat outside the school doors Jacob comes out of, in the freezing cold, (about -10C), I was hoping that Jacob had a good day. Then Jacob's teacher appeared and said. "We need a little help with Jacob." I just took a deep breath. As we went to the classroom, Jacob's teacher explained what the issue was. "Jacob doesn't want to leave for lunch." I was told. When I asked about his day, it turned out that Jacob had good morning, and at that point, Jacob didn't have any extra homework. What a relief. When Jacob has a rough day, there's this vibe that resonates through our house that affects everyone. So, when Jacob has a good day, we're very pleased. Then on top, when you consider the drastic change that's occurred, we were doubly surprised at the good morning. So, this morning, Jacob received a sticker for his good effort at school.
As Jacob and I played tag on the way back to school after lunch, I talked to Jacob about his goals for the afternoon. Although it's hard to talk while jogging, I welcome the exercise since it's so cold outside. He knows that he has to do his work, be nice and act appropriately. I told him that if he does these things, he'll be rewarded with another sticker and he'll have access to the computer and his DS. Other wise Jacob would have to finish his homework before he could have use of his favourite things. During the afternoon, Jacob has his old EA so we we're more confident that he'd have a good afternoon.
Unfortunately, we were wrong and this afternoon was a little rocky. Jacob spent about 45 minutes in the coat room after refusing to do any work in class. So for home work, Jacob had 3 pages of math, 1 page of science and he has his words of the week to do. Each week Jacob's class has a spelling test and the words are reviewed in class. Jacob often has to do his spelling words at home. The funny thing is, that Jacob knows how to do his homework, he just refuses sometimes. He completed today's home work in about 20 minutes, so we and the school know he's fully capable. It's strange how Jacob can be advanced in math, yet sometimes he refuses to do the simplest assignments. When we look at his progression over the few years he's been in school, Jacob has made great strides in regulating his emotions. But he still has a long way to go.
My wife and I agreed to review the teaching change on Friday of this week to determine the proper course of action. We, as parents, have to look at the week as a whole and decide, whether or not to request his old EA back, or do we wait another week before deciding. Either way, we will have to keep an open mind, but we have to keep Jacob's education and what's best for him in the forefront. Given the characteristics of Jacob and his past learning curves, it may take a month to work out all the kinks. On Friday, we'll talk about Jacob's week overall and hopefully by then, he'll have received a few more stickers.
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