Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Monday, October 12, 2009

School Daze:

We've been settling in to our Fall/School routine and I've noticed that not much interesting stuff actually happens here. We get up go to work/school/work and perform our various weekday tasks, I pick Dave up at the bus, we come home. Or run an errand then go home, which he hates because it interrupts his '5 minutes after I'm off the bus I'm playing games' schedule. Then I check the e-mail, get dinner started, Raine comes home, we eat (a necessary evil game interruption) we watch a movie or hockey (GO PENS!), then Dude goes to sleep (a much longer game interruption), we watch some more tv/hockey (GO PENS!.... didn't I say that already?) and then it's time for us to go to bed (and that's all I'm going to say about that) until it's time to start the whole thing over again the next day. Other than a few (?) minor variations, which seem to all come in the same week, that's our weekday routine. I mean there are times when the entire week goes by and we don't see our house until it's already time for bed (and boy are we glad to see those beds!). But by and large that's our day to day. (Weekends are completely different, and have zero set schedule)

Schedules are good for autistic kids. (That's not particularly why we have one, but it works out for Dave). Autistic kids need to have a routine and get upset when it's disturbed. Most of the 'behaviors' that make people nervous or just scare the hell out of them are a result of their own presence breaking into that routine. We've gotten Dude to the point where you almost have to know him to understand how upset he is. He'll hiss air through his teeth or just speak in a more agitated manner, but I still know how upset he's getting, and when to step in to calm him down before it gets too far. Dave does like his routine, but his idea of a routine is sometimes negotiable. But only on his terms. It's been almost 2 months now that he's been on his school schedule so it should be setting in, right? Well, kind of.

Two things make me think that Dude's idea of 'schedule' an mine aren't exactly compatible. One is, quite often in the evening when he goes to bed he looks at me and says, "No school tomorrow." or, "Jackie (his Summer nurse) will be here tomorrow.". Subtle hints, I know, but do you think he's trying to tell me something? The second indicator might be when I went to visit his school the other day. I could tell that his new teacher (Mrs Yarosz) was pleased to see me, but resigned to the disruption that my visit entailed. She was obviously glad to see me taking enough of an interest in my son to come visit the class, but we both knew that I had totally blown her plans for the rest of the afternoon as it was going to take her most of an hour to get her kids settled back into their groove. Some of the kids knew me, and it was some time before Mrs. Yarosz (ya-roce) and I could even talk because to the kids I was obviously there to see them. One of them even asked how Raine was doing even though he'd only met her once.(which surprised Raine when I told her) But we eventually had our impromptu parent/teacher conference and then Dude and I left the classroom about an hour before he normally would. When we'd cleared the doors to the school and were walking down the walk to the Bonnie Rhuad (still Dude's car) he peeked back toward the building, looked up in the air and said, "I'm free!". (Pause simulating the time it took to retrieve my jaw from the ground) I was quick to inform him that he wasn't technically free as he was still under Dad's control. He didn't seem to think that was much of a problem. So much for the parental intimidation factor. Needless to say he had his driver, (me) take him to the place where his video games dwell (Raine and I call it 'home') and then dismissed his driver to whatever it is 'that Dad man' does downstairs while the video games are playing. Something to do with cheese if he knows what's good for him.

On an interesting side note: You'll notice in the picture of Dude getting off his bus that he has his book in his left hand. You can take it from this that he has a 'good note' waiting for Dad, because if it weren't a good note he would be doing his 'What book do you mean Father?' imitation. One other note: All of the pictures on this Blog, other than the occasional Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, are taken by me. So download them, use them for desktops or whatever but I need my cut if y'all are selling them... lol.

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