It's officially hump day, and as such, the week is half over. It's also February 1st, which means that soon it's Groundhog Day. Jacob's had 2 very productive days at school. Even though he's had some homework to do each day, his behaviour has been good in class until this afternoon. We all know how much children with Asperger's need routine. So when we think about how Monday was an impromptu holiday, it's great that Jacob wasn't adversely affected. It does seem that no matter how hard we try to prepare Jacob for the days goals, life has a way of derailing even the best laid plans. We know that Jacob needs help focusing on certain things (school being one of them), so we try to keep him on track. But in the back of our minds, we know that at any given moment, thing can unravel. It's hardest when there's nothing you can do, like if the event was unforeseen. We just do our best to redirect Jacob's emotions.
In the past, it seemed that Jacob's behaviour was almost affected by the lunar cycle or something like that. Do your kids get worse when there's a full moon? The 1st of the month was usually a struggle for him in school. I think it's because his teachers may change certain features about their room. Since Valentine's Day is coming up, there could be hearts or cupids around which weren't before. In the past, changes like these would have certainly caused Jacob to display some difficult behaviour in class. We, as parents, always try to look to the bright side when it comes to Jacob's education. We feel that Jacob's behaviour has improved ten fold since his diagnosis of Asperger's. And we hope that his improvements continue as he grows up. We're lucky that Jacob's teachers and aides are flexible to Jacob's emotions too. The staff as a whole at Jacob's school are all very good when it comes to dealing with Jacob. They know that if Jacob has an outburst or meltdown, the best thing for them to do is ignore it and allow Jacob's EAs to intervene. This way the class is not totally disrupted, and the other students can keep learning.
This afternoon, was one of those days when something derailed Jacob. Jacob wanted to play soccer at recess. But he wasn't allowed to bring another soccer ball outside. This was strike 1. Then the big kids kicked the ball over the fence, and into the teacher's parking lot, hitting some cars. This was strike 2. Then Jacob's EA told me that Jacob was hit with the soccer ball. Strike 3, Jacob was out of control. He had to go stand by the wall for the rest of recess in order to calm down. Jacob did clam down, though it took all recess. Even the learning resource teacher (one of his favourites), couldn't get Jacob to calm down. Sometimes his emotions just have to run their course.
After I spoke with his EA at home time, Jacob was so upset he didn't want to play tag. All he wanted to do was tell his mom about his day. But then we came within half a block or so of home and something caught Jacob's eye that was on the sidewalk.
Jacob: Look Dad! A snail! What's it doing?
Dad: I don't know what it's doing.
Jacob: Is it really a snail?
Dad: Yes it's a snail.
Jacob: I don't see the snail.
Dad: That's because it's inside it's shell.
Jacob: Why is it in it's shell?
Dad: Because it's afraid.
Jacob: Afraid of what?
Dad: Being stepped on.
Jacob: We should move it then.
Jacob picked up the little snail with his fingers and put it on the nearby grass. He was so gentle and caring. Just moments before, Jacob was mad and he didn't want to talk to me at all. But then it all changed as it often does. It's amazing to think that a child with Asperger's can go form angry to happy, just by seeing a snail that was smaller than a dime. What a complete turn around. When we got home, Jacob calmly told his mom about his afternoon. Then Jacob finished all his homework in about 15 minutes.
That's how easy it is for Jacob to become derailed. But that's how easy it is to get him back on track. All he needs is something positive to focus on. Even something small like seeing a snail or finding a coin can turn things from bad to good. If only there was a way for Jacob to carry a snail around with him at school.
A snail. So small, yet so big.
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