Friday, January 26, 2007

"You Must Respect My Authoritah!"

For those of you who abhor South Park and all of its content, I apologize, but considering the post, I think that was a very appropriate opening line. For those of you who LOVE South Park, you'll understand. For those of you asking, "Just what the HELL is she talking about," well, just keep reading.

At the beginning of 2nd quarter, we started sending "the notebook" to and from school - the Communication Notebook. It's been a lifesaver for both PC & me and for SmallBoy's teachers. It has become something that we NEED...I need that notebook when I get home to find out what happened during the day; Mrs. M needs the notebook first thing in the morning to find out how he's doing, where SmallBoy's engine is, and how his spirits are, if he's having issues with homework, behavior, whatever.

The end of last week and beginning of this week were great. The only thing the notebook said was, "Great day today," or "Another GREAT day." I was SO excited, we were on a roll after coming out of a slump that, I believe was fueled by the bug that was visiting our house, anxiety about a test, and the stress around the house of trying to be in 12 places at once. The last couple of days, however, the notebook has said, "Great morning, but this afternoon at the all-school assembly, SmallBoy got upset when not picked by the presenter for an audience participant. Ms. B (the principal - also a lifesaver), had to take him out into the hallway and calm him. After the assembly, he joined us back in class." Yesterday, I ran into Mrs. M after work, we occasionally cross paths where we exercise....she decompressing from a day with high strung students, including SmallBoy, and me decompressing from a day with high strung students, a totally silly corporate system, and getting re-fueled to go home to SmallBoy and to play cab driver to all of Girl's sports (it's playoffs this week). Mrs. M said to me yesterday, "We had a FANTASTIC afternoon, but the morning was terrible. He's having a problem with being disprespectful."

I wanted to be surprised and say, "NO, not MY SmallBoy. He knows better. He has been taught to respect those in authority roles," but I knew that what comes out of an ASD mouth can VERY easily be taken as disprespectful, though it is not. Angry outburst, inability to pre-censor and think twice to rephrase and change the tone of voice....yeah, that can very easily be taken as disrespect.

I guess what happened was that Ms. R, the Social Studies teacher, had given them homework for that night, and SmallBoy wanted to do it right then and there. She told him that it was HOMEwork to be done at HOME. He was not satisfied and asked if he could go out in the hall and do it. She stressed to him, again, that this was classtime to work on the lesson, not homework time. I guess he then got extremely upset and threw a marker across the room out of frustration, and proceeded to have a bit of a tantrum.

We had a little talk when I got home last night. SmallBoy was very aware that what he had done was not appropriate for the classroom. I applauded him for being able to tell me WHY he had gotten upset (and identifying that he was, in fact, upset - AND SORRY). I asked him why he had behaved the way he had and he told me, simply, "Mom, I wanted to do my homework then, not later and I got angry when I couldn't get my way."

WOW!!He told me that he was angry and WHY he got angry. I was so happy I wanted to hug him and tell him how awesome it was that he did that, but it was time for me to play the bad cop. "SmallBoy, who is in charge at school?"
"The teachers and the other grown ups."
"SmallBoy, when you're at school, does anyone else get their way by throwing things, yelling, or having tantrums?"
"Does anyone else yell at the teacher?"
"SmallBoy, what did we just learn?"
"That the teachers are in charge, not me."

What a wonderful insight. Let's just hope that he remembered that past 8:00 this morning and then, was able to find that tidbit in the file cabinet of the Asperger's mind. I think this is something that should, perhaps, be a social story, or, at the very least, written on a notecard inside of his folder or desk.

Comments, suggestions, ideas? Anyone have a bottle of Pinot Noir?


Diane said...

Good job Mom! The only comment I'd add is, after "playing the bad cop" then congratulate him on the fact that he was able to tell you that he got angry and why he got angry. It's absolutely wonderful that he was able to do that and he needs to hear it from you. :)

Our son is 13 with Asperger's, OCD, Bi-Polar, GAD, etc. so I'm definitely a mom who can identify.

And BTW, if short on Pinot Noir, chocolate is a great escape too! :)

Take care,
Diane Dennis

mommyguilt said...

Thanks, Diane - I have many many many more days now that I think I've got it under "control" - mine, of course, but they difficult ones still creep in from time to time.

Chocolate is one of my favorite escapes - that's why I have to work out!

I will share your link with the rest of the readers so that they may also share in the wealth of info your site has to offer!

Wade Rankin said...

Anyone have a bottle of Pinot Noir?

We're very fond of La Crema out of the Sonoma valley. (Do they have a Binney's out by y'all ... oops, I mean by youse guy's?) We find it makes damn near anything a little easier to handle.

kristina said...

A little South Park to start a post and a little vino at the end----and some problem-solving inbetween. I think the social story, and some kind of reminder in his binder or notebook, both sound good----and, not to put too forcefully positive a spin on this, but perhaps there is some sign of..... maturity here? Of SmallBoy asserting himself? Charlie used to be very "compliant," as the word is, when he was younger, but he often says "no" now to things he always did----I tend to walk away and repeat it after a bit, and (if it not's too big a request!) he does it. (Slowly.)

Lora said...

I wish that I could get Griffin's teacher to use a notebook but all she wants to do is talk on the phone about him. Should I have another I.E.P meeting and have that put on it? How do I get her to use it? I would like to keep track of his progress/behavior through a notebook. Do you have any suggestions? I think that it is awesome that SmallBoy verbalized how he was feeling and what was going on with him. I can't wait til Griffin is able to do that, I feel sure that he will one day. I love Pinot Noir it is so yummy! Sounds like a great way to end the day to me.

mommyguilt said...

Lora -

In talking to Mrs. M on the phone at work one day, I suggested the idea to her. It's so much easier, because you're both not always going to have the same free time to chat, plus, then it's easier to communicate with the teacher BEFORE she starts her day with Griffin, and you have time to process what she says - good or bad- before responding or coming up with a plan.

Plus, if you're like me, you don't remember everything said in the phone conversation, because your head is swirling trying to remember everything and balance emotions. Written, it's easier to go back, get the details, and process.

If she doesn't respond to just the suggestion, and I can't imagine why she wouldn't, THEN take it up in the IEP.

Mom to Mr. Handsome said...

I loved the South Park reference! Hurray for Small Boy that is HUGE! I hope, crossing my fingers and toes, that Gabe will be able to someday tell me why some things bother him, make him happy etc. and then to actually DISCUSS a better strategy and reasoning behind such I can't wait. It sounds to me that he understood, although the concept, as you implied, may still be "a work in progress".