Wednesday, May 19, 2010

But I Didn't *MEAN* To

With Mister Man, it's always an adventure at the end of the school day. We hope and pray that he's had a green day (no trouble - or only a single warning) and not a yellow or red day where he's had more difficulty following the rules and doing what he's supposed to do.

Unfortunately the autism diagnosis only makes his impulsivity and other behavioral problems more understandable. We've yet to find the solution to actually stop them. The good news is that the sticker chart has helped provide incentives to him to follow the rules, and we've started to see patterns (specials like music and gym are more of a challenge).

We still have many days where he comes home having been put at a separate table for group work in Language Arts because he was drawing on someone else's paper or running in the halls or laying on his chair instead of sitting.

When we have those days, we always talk about them - trying to create the social stories that will help him understand how to better handle the situation in the future. Some of them work, and sometimes the behavior repeats itself.

Yesterday, Mister Man came home with a yellow day. He was having difficulty listening in one class, and then he put his hands on a classmate's neck. Obviously, the hands around someone's neck is alarming. Behavior like that - especially for someone who doesn't always know where the line is and when to stop a game (another function of his autism).

I showed him the sheet of paper and asked him to tell me about the situation. I've found that having him walk me through exactly what happened and what he was thinking is far more effective in trying to work through the issue than me lecturing or getting upset at him.

He was upset about having gotten in trouble. But, Mom! I was just trying to give H a hug. I wasn't hurting him at all. Mrs. C saw it and gave me a yellow.

When trying to get further clarification from him, apparently he likes this little boy and wants to be an even better friend. And so in line to go inside after recess he tried to give him a hug. The teacher assistant saw only the arms up around the other child's neck. Mister Man is not one to question authority (very rules focused - another autism trait, ironically) and so didn't try to explain his thought process.


Should he have gotten a yellow for that? Probably not.

Should he have been doing that to begin with? Probably not.

I explained to him why Mrs. C thought he was doing something he shouldn't have been. We discussed how school isn't probably the place to hug people, anyway. BUT if he really wanted to hug someone, he needed to first let the adult in charge know his intentions so that she could alert him if there were to be a problem. Second he needed to ask his friend if it was ok if he got a hug.

He seemed to understand - or at least he claimed he did. It's amazing to me that Mister Man always has a thought process and logic behind what he's doing. Whether it's the logic that most people would use and whether he went to what would be considered a logic conclusion may be up for debate, but at least I'm starting to figure out how his head is working.

Fingers crossed that tomorrow is another green. After all, he has another Bakugun to earn from good behavior just waiting in the closet!


Alexis AKA MOM May 20, 2010 at 12:22 AM  

Oh that is so hard :(. I'm glad the stickers are working.

We have the key system and Cole has a hard time being on Green & Purple today we had a yellow key day too.

Fingers crossed!

Karen May 20, 2010 at 4:19 AM  

It's gotta be so hard to be Mister Man. Poor little guy - normal life to him just plain gets him in trouble. *hugs*

Kori May 20, 2010 at 9:56 AM  

I wish I had something helpful to say, but this is way out of my realm of experience-so I just send good thoughts your way today.

Tara R. May 20, 2010 at 6:00 PM  

When teachers take the time to let them explain their own logic, usually there is a simplicity that should be obvious. I hope Mister Man has many, many more green days and is given the chance to explain himself more often.

MaBunny May 20, 2010 at 7:18 PM  

good luck ! I hope he gets a green day.

Mrs4444 May 20, 2010 at 10:46 PM  

This is tough stuff.

Does one incident make the whole day yellow? That seems extreme to me, unless he had warnings about hands-on stuff earlier, maybe.

Students with autism and lining up for anything is a bad combination. Especially since recess is a pretty wild time, he's probably over stimulated in line. If Mister Man is often tempted to touch others, it's probably a sensory thing; consider finding a way to meet that need differently; having something to play with in line, maybe?

Unknown May 21, 2010 at 2:53 PM  

I wish I had something to say to make things easier, saying a little prayer for greener days for Mister Man :)

Together We Save May 21, 2010 at 4:41 PM  

Good luck... I know it is hard! Wishing Mr. Man lots more green days.

Claudya Martinez May 21, 2010 at 7:48 PM  

I wish there was a way to make things easier for him. You are doing a great job.

Hyacynth May 22, 2010 at 1:16 PM  

I *love* when I get a glimpse of the thought process. It helps me remember, hey, this kid is human and he's got a brain of his own here, too!
On a side note -- poor Mister Man. A yellow for trying to hug someone? How did we, collectively on a societal level, get to a place where we have to take steps of action to explain our hugs and shows of emotion? Sigh. What hard lesson for anyone to learn. And especially hard for someone on the autistic spectrum.

septembermom May 24, 2010 at 11:50 AM  

Poor Mister Man! Hope he has a bunch of green days.

Michelle May 24, 2010 at 9:54 PM  

Alexis - Helping anyway... nothing is a complete fix unfortunately. :)

Karen - It is hard because so many times he has no idea what he did, just that he had a yellow or a red day.

Kori - I appreciate the good thoughts. Sometimes that's all there is to offer, and that's ok.

Tara - There is a simplicity in the logic, but with way more kids than teachers, I understand that there isn't always time to investigate.

MaBunny - He did today. But not Friday. And Thursday, but not Tuesday or Wednesday....

Mrs4444 - Two incidents make the whole day yellow. There is a warning, then you go to yellow. We are going to make some changes for next year, and something sensory may be a part of it. I'm most worried about the zoo next Tues - where I *won't* be a chaperone unfortunately.

Megryansmom - Thanks! It's just slowly figuring things out day by day - for us and for him.

Denise - Very hard, but there are definite pluses and good days which makes it all worthwhile.

Unknown Mami - You're so sweet! Sometimes I don't feel like I'm doing a good job, but I do my best every day. Here's hoping that's enough!

Hyacynth - The thought processes are amazing, aren't they? And hands around the neck are scary... the hugging part wasn't explained to the teacher, so I get it. But yeah, it's a hard lesson for him.

Kelly - Me, too! He's got lots of cool stuff he's trying to earn for green days!

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