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My Book of the Month arrived!!!!!

Yeah!  My book arrived.  I am so excited.  The book “The Aspie Teen Survival Guide”  is written by Jeff Kraus.  He was diagnosed in elementary school.  So, far I have read two chapters.  The second chapter discusses school issues and some IEP accommodations.   I loved some of his ideas for test taking such as, white paper, no pop quizzes, three day notice for exams, alternative testing environment and the ability to retake a test if the student fails.  In addition, Kraus discusses how students who feel they are not ready for that test, should be able to request additional study time (like the next day). 

Report card time:)

Well, we received our son’s report card.  He did really well.  I knew he would.  The only low mark was in PE.  He earned a “U” for effort.  The comment from the teacher was that my son was uncooperative.   When I ask our son about this effort grade and comment, he had no idea why the teacher marked him that way.  So, I sent an email to the teacher of record and asked if she knew anything about this situation.  She told me that “Nico wanders off to areas he is not supposed to be in”  also she stated when redirected he is “often rude to adults”.   We told her we would talk to him.  When my husband picked him up from school he calmly spoke to Nico.  Nico began to get enraged screaming, “It’s not true.  You always take the schools side.”    My husband quickly replied, “Really?  Do you think the school has a conspiracy against you?”    Nico does have a problem being redirected by some of the teachers.  He tends to be flippant.   He can behave that way at home.  The difference is that my husband and I have been dealing with him for years.  We know how to deescalate the situation.  I have a feeling these teachers need more training on how to redirect students with Aspergers.   

How do you get your son or daughter to see his actions and reactions cause this behavior?   How do you teach them to respond to adults in a polite manner?

Well, you know what they say about best laid plans…

So, remember my post about weekend studies? Well, Nico got through only math. He forgot that I told him about vocabulary and science. In the car ride home from the market, he began to stress out. He started to raise his voice at us and shake his hands in the air. I knew that this situation could go two ways. If I start stressing and yelling back, well all hell will break loose. We might have full on blow-up or a rational discussion. I have realized over my many years of dealing with my son that calmer is definitely better. I have also learned that my son absorbs my stress like a sponge. In order for this not to happen, I needed to relax and realize he has today to finish the other two assignments. Furthermore, I looked at it as a goal, he met the goal at 66%. For my son, 66% without fighting and screaming is meeting the goal. He is working right now on science.
One thing I have to remember, as his parent, is to take one moment at a time and not project my stress and frustration on to him.

"Mom, how do you preheat the oven?"

My husband and I were out to dinner tonight.  Our son was very sleepy, most likely from the medication.  He decided to stay home and sleep instead of go out with us.  During dinner, my phone rang.  It was our son.  He wanted to know how to preheat the oven.  He said he was hungry and he wanted to make a frozen pizza.

Why is this a big deal?  This is a huge step for him.  First of all, he didn’t wait for me to cook for him or bring home take out.  Sometimes, he would just eat cereal ,fruit or not eat at all.   But this time, he actually looked in the freezer and chose a frozen pizza.  He took it out of the box and threw the plastic shrink wrap away.
He placed the pizza on a cookie sheet and baked it.  I have been cooking with him in the kitchen lately.  He must have been paying attention these past few weeks when I showed him how to work the oven.  I explained which buttons to press.  I even explained the “cook time” feature so the oven will shut off automatically after the cook time is finished. 
This is a shocking and amazing event!  There is hope that one day he will completely independent and live a happy fulfilling life.

Aspie teen’s weekend homework and studies

Well, it is one of those weekends where Nico has several assignments. So, how do we handle this without a huge meltdown from our beloved son?

Over the last month, we finally figured how to get our son to study on the weekend. First thing in the morning,
we give him down time. After an hour, we talk to him about the assignments he has due for Monday. We ask him,”What time do you want to start?”. Usually, it is a reasonable time.
This way he does what he needs to do for school, but he has some control. This helps him to feel empowered.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is new and works for right now. Sometimes there are blow-ups, which can be deflated without over-reacting.
Currently, our son may try to negotiate more time, but he is receptive to starting his work. I do have to frequently monitor that he is not on YouTube or reading Japanese manga on the Internet. It is never perfect.

What works for you?

First day on the Treadmill

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Lately, Nico has been telling us that he needs to get in shape.  We tell him what a great idea this is to release stress.  We remind him we have a gym in the building and now he is old enough to use it.  We offer to teach him how to use the equipment, but he never wanted to really take us up on it.  So, in order not to push, we dropped the conversation. 

Well the other day, Nico brought the workout subject up again.  I asked what days he thought he would like to schedule these workouts.  He said mom, “Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays?”  I ask why these days.  He said, “I don’t have my tutor.” 
Well yesterday after school, Nico hit the gym and ran on the treadmill. 
I am so proud of him.  This was all his doing.  YAY NICO!!!!

Have these people heard of "LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT"?

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The other day I had a forty-five minute conversation about my son going to high school.  The current middle school he is at wants to place my son in SDC (Which would be far away from his neighborhood school). This is fine for some children but my child is accessing the curriculum and tests at advanced and proficient.  Furthermore, my son’s grades are A’s and B’s.

So, why do they want to send him to SDC?  The teacher of record is worried that my son’s off topic comments, nervous ticks, and occasional blurts will appear rude and the high school teachers will become upset.  Really???  Then, maybe these teachers need some training in compassion and understanding.  
Each day, I get some email about my son’s day.  For the most part, my son has great days.  Every now and then, I receive an email that says the teacher was upset because my son shouted our in class. While I appreciate the feedback, I expect this person to return to these teachers and say, “He has Asperger’s!  This is part of his disability.”  This seems to be where the school system differs from what the parents expect the teacher of record (person who is in charge of the child and the IEP while in that school) expect.  My middle school experience for my son has shown that these teachers tend to be weak and ineffective.   These teachers only care about making waves.  They are more concerned with the feelings of the teacher than the needs of the student.