That in a nutshell is how we help Johnny to move forward and for us as parents to be able to handle any challenges as we all move forward as a family. We accept that he learns differently and sees the world from a different perspective and if we want to help him forward we need to try and see things from his perspective. Why? How can we expect him to see things “our” way if we don’t take the time and show him the respect by “trying” to see the world the way he sees it. How can I expect him to learn to be a more flexible thinker if I am not doing it or his teachers?
When I picked Johnny up from school today to take him and his sister for a treat I was told he had another great day except for one thing. In gym he didn’t listen to the Grade 3 teacher who was doing gym class when it was time to put things away so she asked him to go back to the Autism room. The EA was telling me this in front of Johnny and told us both that everything is okay but there are consequences. He really likes gym with his friends but if he doesn’t listen then he learns a lesson.
When I looked at my son and saw his impish look and I knew it was more then that. He REALLY likes his Grade 3 teacher nearly as much as the Grade 2 teacher and I know he likes to please her. So I turned to him and asked him what was happening? He gave a little impish smile and said, “I like playing Mommy…I just wanted to play.” A simple statement but full of many meanings. He has trouble just saying to someone that he wants to play so he will do things that might seem annoying to get the person’s attention and then once he gets it he is impish and playful. It might not be the best way but its Johnny’s way and he does it all with a smile on his face. He gets along with this Grade 3 teacher and she is one of his recess buddies that he can turn to when recess is hard. I don’t think he realizes that she really wants the kids to do as she says when she says it. At the same time and I don’t think she caught on that Johnny was just teasing her. I told him that all his well but sometimes people don’t know that he’s being playful and that’s okay and we’ll work on that.
Later I couldn’t help but think about how any adult or child can quickly forget that they are dealing with an Autistic child that finds social expectations hard and that sometimes moments are confusing and wrong choices are made. He blends in and they forget until he makes mistakes. Outside he looked a bit embarrassed when he saw the Grade 3 teacher talking to another teacher and I think he might have gone over to talk to her if she was alone but again I could feel the social anxiety wafting off of him and I know I can only assist not push. He decided not today.
My big thing always is as long as we are having positive interactions that is that counts because there was a time when we didn’t have hardly any interactions and we had to fight for every scrap we got. I think I can look past Johnny not putting stuff away when asked if he is interacting and turning it into a game but then later sit him down and talk about what we do in the gym and with a teacher and not in a social communication moment. Why? Because we seriously had to work so very hard to get these interactions so please don’t treat him like he’s been naughty.
Last year I wrote a post about responding to another parents concerns at a parent training course and thoughts about moving our children forward. Here is the link: