Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...


Monday, May 28, 2012

Calling All Spectrum Moms and Dads

oh, but don't get too excited Jack.
You still have a bazillion days of school left first.



I've been a little scarce lately.  Things have been a little stressful, and this all leads to BURNOUT.

Good old burnout. It's an old friend.  I had the most horrendous day on Saturday.  I've been finding lately that most Saturdays my son is nearly unlivable.  He runs anywhere from being lovable, to being completely obnoxious, to being an unbearable pest, to belligerent, to physically aggressive, combative, and utterly relentless.

I was trapped at home all day too, because The Man was gone out.  All day. He didn't get home till very, very late.  I don't begrudge him a day off.  We both need them.  I'm glad he went out and had fun, but I don't know if people with "neurotypical" kids get it when I say that I truly am trapped when I'm at home with the kids.  And all I wanted to do was go out and buy a trellis for my new clematis that is as yet waiting to be planted.

Oh wait--I could go out...if I wanted to have a 20 minute fight complete with screaming, pleading, wailing, sobbing, biting and hitting. But I like to keep the peace, so I give in and stay home.

Peace?  What peace?  While I was home, I endured Jack's obsessiveness, him constantly badgering me, and a nice time-out that ended with a chunk of plaster getting knocked out of the wall.  Luckily we don't always have days this bad.

And then, on Sunday?  POOF!  MAGIC!  Jack is back to being his sweet, lovable, fun self.  I am guessing that Saturdays are a write off because it's the upheaval day; the transition from the rigidly scheduled week, to the scattered, haphazard weekend.

But this is all just me babbling on.

What I really want to talk about is THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.  Here, we still have one month left of school.  There are about 23 school days left.  We're in the "home stretch", right?

Wrong.

It's driving Jack CRAZY.  He still doesn't have a solid grasp of the whole "time" concept.  He understands that tomorrow is a new day.  He understands the order of the days of one week.  He understands that after several days of suffering through school, a weekend will show up.  He does not understand how long 23 days is.

To him, I might as well have said:  "JACK, YOU HAVE 1346494934929292976464621 DAYS OF SCHOOL LEFT."

It's making the kid nuts.  It's like a giant, golden carrot is being dangled over his head.  The prize is right there!  All things at school are telling him that it's almost done.  The end is near.  But when?  When is summer vacation going to come?

The kid is having trouble falling asleep at night.  As he lays in his bed, in agony, flipped over on his scrunched blankets with his head at the foot end, twitching and jerking in despair, asking me  WHEN, WHEN, WHEN is summer vacation?!?  I just don't know what to do.

So,

I'm asking you, parents of kids on the spectrum:  how do you handle this end of school conundrum?!?  Do you just use patience?  Do you just try to take it one day at a time?  How do you get your kids to the end of the school year with as little anxiety as possible???  Do you use special calendars?  Do you have reward systems?

Seriously, let me know.  I'd love to hear from you.

24 comments:

  1. Hi, I worked with children diagnosed with autism for 10 years and I always found that a visual made all the difference. Try a calendar with all the school days left and he can cross off the days as he gets through them, good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks very much. I appreciate your advice. I will do just that!

      Delete
    2. I agree with anon up there. My boy responds extremely well to visual aids. He loves sticking to a time table as well. Maybe you should make one up for Saturdays as well. Not the entire day but just mornings, just for Jack so the transition from school to weekend isnt so sudden. You could put in a "Free time" tab in the afternoon. that way he can make his own mind up at what he wants to do, but it's still a time table, so he is happy.

      Delete
    3. thank you Sprite. Those are excellent ideas. I know that a lot of his Saturday anxiety is my fault, because I am the opposite and HATE to be bound to a time table, but if I do one for Saturday mornings, it should help him a lot.

      Delete
  2. We use a calendar and cross the days out and also to mark in what is happening... to teach the concept of time... I bought the book teach me language and found a great section on how to teach time concepts. Wish you luck and happy days :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Þorgerður. I'll have to look for this book, or google some ideas on how to teach the concept of time. It's always been tricky for Jack.

      Delete
  3. the others ahead of me in comments beat me to it. we use some sort of calendar system or a rip off book thing that brooke and i make so that she can count her way down to anything exciting. a big trip, summer vacation, christmas, her birthday. if we're doing the calendar version of this, i find that writing the number of days left in each calendar square, so that eventually it gets down to one, also helps with number comprehension.
    i was startled to discover this year that not only was brooke thrilled with the idea of summer coming, she also got worried about what her schedule-free summer would be like. she was afraid of that first monday when i didn't call her up to start the school day. so we had to help her think of a new summer schedule that's flexible for when we need to do other things, but that she can rely on on those days when we're home all day. i understand that feeling of trapped. i have no car most of the time and a spectrum kid and these walls can feel positively claustrophobic sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that's awesome though that she was able to express her fears over the lack of schedule, and work with you to create a new one. I found that very inspiring, like, maybe in a few years Jack will be more aware of how he's feeling too, and better able to express his needs.

      Great ideas Sherilin. Thanks. I knew you'd have good ideas though.

      Delete
  4. If you are feeling crafty you can make a chain of paper rings (one for each day) and take them off as each day passes. A bit more tactile, but probably not as educational regarding understanding time concepts as using a calendar to mark off days. I just like making construction paper rings :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know Christy, that's a really good idea, because--like you said--it's tactile. If the kids didn't steal ALL THE FREAKING TAPE, I could make one now.

      Delete
    2. stapler. mine's a tape thief too.

      Delete
    3. yeah...come to think of it...where IS our stapler???

      Delete
  5. Licious Karen - Here's what I know about surviving a frightening awful future: don't live there. Live in the present, in this day. Have a spiritual practice that grounds you every day, every week. Yoga is terrific for those who can do it.

    When I can't stand today, I head for fiction, movies, novels, so a chance to relax in another world, so to speak. Right now, it's Sophie Kinsella. Her heroines are even more disorganized than me.
    Love,
    Jeanne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Jeanne. You always have a wonderful perspective on things. I appreciate it. I am way behind in reading you (and all my other favourite people), but I will get there, damn it!!!

      Delete
  6. All the ideas which people have already said in their comments seem eminently sensible. Tangible, visual ways of marking off time must be helpful if the notion of a day, tomorrow, a week, a fortnight, is just a blur.
    I'm so sorry Jack is distressed, and what that's like for you too. The suggestion of some kind of schedule for a Saturday makes sense, if you can bear it. Are there treat-y things you could add in there for Jack to ease him into the weekend, and act as a countdown each weekend till the end of school? So every Saturday he has a defined nice thing of his choosing to mark the day, and mark off another week?
    I dunno, Karen, I have no experience or skills here, but feel so much that I'd like to help. I can read/listen though, and support, and send a big old hug. xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Curtise. I think there will have to be some kind of "reward for making it through these last weeks of drudgery" kind of system. Good idea!

      Delete
  7. You were waiting for me to comment weren't you?? haha!!

    Ok---here's what we do---visual calender. I don't use the store made ones either. We get a piece of construction paper and write out the days on top---starting with Sunday and we write out the dates...and then we write out what's do on what day and that Saturday and Sunday are free days---no school days. All of it's in a grid pattern.

    I have this damn thing hung up at our kitchen island right where he sits and eats breakfast and every morning I ask him what day it is, what the date is and what is going on for the day. As we got closer to school being let out he was able to see where it fell---since I had that effer marked off in bright letters so he knew exactly where things stood.

    Karen---it has really helped him figure out his day and what is coming down the pike. I did do this with him and told him what we were doing so he had a part in it and he "owns" it. That being said, there is nothing that gets them ready for all the change at the end of the school year. I asked for extra breaks at school, told them he needed to be primed for what was going on THAT DAY, when he first got to school, so he could know and asked that if there were any changes--parties, field trips---that they let me know so I could let him know and put it on his calendar.

    Hang in there and send me a private message on FB or e-mail if you want. I'm here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Damn it woman, you are so organized! Thanks Lizbeth. I was waiting to hear what you had to say :) I like the construction paper calendar idea. It's a good one.

      Delete
  8. Oh, honey, I'm sorry. That sucks. I wish I had words of wisdom, but I love the calendar ideas. I hope it all works out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah Sue! I think the general consensus is GET A FREAKING CALENDAR ALREADY FOR THE KID, KAREN. And so that is what I will do!

      Delete
  9. I always did a calender where we just crossed off the days...maybe for weeks coming up to school holidays or going away on holidays. I also did a similar calendar when we were away marking off the days til we went home, with a picture of an airplane on the last day. Sometimes our kids get worried in case they're not going home again! They don't presume that they are so need to be reminded!

    And like Lizbeth I did a similar monthly calendar when my boy was younger. We had velcroed thumbprint pictures of various activities, places to go etc eg swimming, playground, school, McDonalds that we stuck on the relevant days as necessary!

    Good luck :-)

    xx Jazzy

    ReplyDelete

I lurv comments. Thank you for the comments. They are scrumptious.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails