Originally Posted on May 7, 2010
We are having a truly tough time with getting school to have the same success we have here at home, this is a new issue this year and within the last 4 months. Possibly because the demands are higher now and the information does not make sense as readily to Bird but it is causing a great deal of stress for both Bird, his teachers and me. School is seeing compliance issues with academics, working to fast and simple mistakes at school but they are issues we do not have at home because we would simply make him go back. They seem to be arguing with him (a mistake I made last week) as if there was a reason to argue. You simply place the demand (this is only for a super high functioning kids….NOT any other learner) and if he does not meet it than wait him out (thanks you Lesley). An example might be yesterday when he clearly did not want to invest in jailing the details (a process of underlining the material that correlates to a specific question) for his SOL pre-test. I told him he got 3 wrong but not which ones and that he needed to go back and jail the details and re-read. He wanted to argue and point out all of the underlined passages but his answers were incorrect so I simply told him,”You need to come back to me when you have done what I asked.” 3 days ago Bird and I had a session that lasted 2.5 hours of fighting at the table. I sat next to him giving him corrective feedback and he cried. This is so not worth it! I was making myself a route for escape and I was making him miserable. He had to do the work but I did not need to feed his fire of (((if I am fighting mom than I am thinking less about what is confusing me))). Without Lesley’s observation over the phone I would have had this same fight with him 2 days ago and yesterday. I was not looking at what the fight really was and it was an escape behavior. I should have waited him out after placing the demand. So, I emailed the teacher some ideas about Bird and here they are for those who might be having similar issues: 1. If he is working to fast and NOT getting answers correct give him the entire sheet to do over. If this means he does the same sheet 4 times until it is done correctly than so be it. 2. Please create a goal sheet for each day with the specific areas of his schedule: Morning Sheet- completed correctly Yes NO Reading- self corrected YES NO Followed directions in Math YES NO 3. Don’t argue with him. This is likely motivating his behavior and an escape tactic. Just give him the work and if it is done wrong than re-present it until it is right. 4. Somebody is feeding his I cry I get attention. This should really stop. 5. Video tape him as I am sending in a camera (ONLY IN Mrs. Beaver’s room) so that we can show him the tape at home. We can use this as an SD for good behavior. Was doing this really hard…OMG….I went into my room and cried before bed because of the 2.5 hour fight session. Was I really interested in giving up….yeah. My big sister was visiting that night and looked across the table at me and said,”WOW, I just can’t believe you have the stamina.” and I told her I don’t but it has to be done. While my process was incorrect the idea of having to wait out your child for 2.5 hours is something very real. Don’t do it because you want to but because perhaps the next time it will only be 1.5 hours. Getting really frustrated that the school is not able to meet my sons behavioral needs in terms of figuring out how to respond to his constant intellectual escape patterns is also truly horrible. His teacher is smart, well meaning and over all really capable but she has clearly never met a Bird before who is always seeking the easy out. People have told me before that Bird is “cured!!!!” a phrase I HATE or better that he does not have autism because his life is actually much more mainstreamed than most typical kids (track, soccer, ccd, math club, lego league and swim team which starts in 3 week). To them I would submit that first we have gone to a Ped Neurologist at Georgetown 2 years in a row to hear our son was moderate to severely impacted by autism AND I have never not ever had to think and act like I do with Bird’s twin or older brother to get him to be the best he can be! This life is currently (though not always) shear effort and isolating stress that I don’t even share with close friends about how awful it is to become the expert on my child and know that besides Lesley who we see for 1 hour a week I don’t think anyone else has a clue to get him from where he is now to where he needs to be in 10 years. I am not defeated but I am currently down looking for the strength for tonight’s foray into SOL Reading comprehension.