Tuesday, 4 June 2013

But Really, Why Do They Do That??

I get it, ok.  My kids are not neurotypical, so the usual rules do not apply.  I mean, I called Nathan's name 30 times, in his room, with the door shut and no distractions this evening before I finally got his attention.  Results not typical.

But these school events?  I just don't know if I will ever get used to them.  Today Jack had what was called "hoot tea" (the school mascot is an owl) at school.  The kids made these books that are "all about me" and they presented them to the parents.  This is awesome, and the kids were proud for sure.  It's just that everything about this was so hard for Jack. 

First, the making of the book for him was no doubt excruciating.  He had his ideas down, it wasn't that.  It was that every page was written, and had a picture.  Which meant writing and drawing- for a kid who just had an alternative technology evaluation due to his struggles with these very things.  A kid who has a scribe for any lengthy assignments because writing is just so challenging for him.   His book had magazine pictures pasted in it instead of drawn pictures.  He just didn't have the stamina to do all of the drawings that the other kids did.  God bless whoever decided to give him that option though, at least he had something to show everyone. 

So all the kindergarten parents came to school this afternoon for "tea" so the kids could present these books.  This involved the teacher reading a little autobiography about each child- about 20 minutes of sitting quietly.  Then each child came to the front of the class and "read" their books- another good 25 minutes.  So my child on the spectrum was challenged to sit still and quietly for 45 minutes in a large crowd of unfamiliar people with cookies that he couldn't have within site.  He could think of nothing else.  That is until one of the kids mentioned their pet hermit crab.  Then he could mention nothing else but that.  Then he had to present his book- he said something silly on the first page and then pretty much lost it- could not stop giggling, and it was contagious.  God is he cute.

It is so hard to keep Jack quiet.  Really it's impossible.  I was literally turning my hand in a circular motion (to signal, volume down) for the whole presentation.  When that stopped working, I went to "first,then".  All parents use this sometimes, and may not even realize they are doing it, but it is a huge thing for kids on the spectrum.  The incentive is essential to getting cooperation.  So it was "first quiet, then cookie."  I had repeated this so many times, and then when the presentation ended and the teacher said time to clean up the snacks I literally bolted across the room to grab that cookie. 

I took a huge breath- we survived.  And then the teacher suggested that the kids sign each other's books.  Great idea!  It's like a first year book signing.  I totally get it and it will be so sweet to look back at this some day.  And when the other kids do, it will be impossible for them to miss Jack's signature.  Because it takes up the whole page, haha.  I poked and prodded him to write each and every signature- the touching thing is that he really wanted to do it, and many of the kids made sure to come to him to get him to do it, as he was not perusing the room like everyone else.  What a huge challenge this was for him!  I am proud of him for doing as well as he did, and I am proud of him for making friends this year.  I watch him daily and see all of the challenges he faces- the distractions, the sensory stuff, the fixations.  The fact that he can overcome those things and start to build relationships is no less than miraculous.  Jack is miraculous.

But I still hate these school functions!  So there!

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