Sunday, June 27, 2010

Being bad

I have been bad. Not really bad, just bad in that I have tons to write aobut and no time to do it. We have been swamped with things to do.

being swamped messes us up. Not negatively, just in that we are trying to ahrd to fit too much in a short span of  time. Those are the days when I feel like my son does... too much to do. A friend of ours, Brian King said something that i think merits repeating, "Protect your time, protect your energy, reduce the number of activities that drain your energy while increasing the activities that give you energy. Decide right now that you can't and don't need to solve every problem there is. Then you can get focused and get on with solving the problems you are good at and were put here to solve."

I think we need to slow down. We are picking and choosing what we do and how we do it. I am not stopping stuff but there are times when we are just overwhelmed, over done and over over.

Right now we are going to get thru this next week, then we are gonna figure out HOW to get where we need to be and then figure out what to do when we get there if we get there.
Kind of the "Road to Nowhere" but just not as melancholy. THis is a rather good road even if i don't like it much or think it merits my attention.

My son wants to slow down, the problem is, if he does all he will do is eat, watch TV and get fat. He doesn't need to do that so we are making him work out, run and or do something to get his butt moving. Right now it is summer school and wrestling practice. Next week it will be dropping him off at the corner and making him run home... he needs to burn it off and take responsiblity for his actions. We are working on it...kind of like we are working on everything else too.
Good night, what aren't we working on?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Marking time.

Those of you ex-band geeks KNOW what "marking time" is. For the uninitiated, marking time is marching in one spot, putting your feet back down on the ground exactly where you had placed it. IT takes hard work and a TON of practice. My old band director taught us a lot about marking time. I can still hear him shouting, "Mark time, MARK, 1,2,3,4" and we would march in place until we were told to move again.

Why do I mention this, well there is a good reason. Our kids need to learn to shut up, listen, follow directions without discussion. That is hard for an Aspie to do. My son knows that when I say, "No" I mean NO and don't ask me again. The more you ask the less likely it is you will get what you want. He badgers, begs and tries to wear us down. He did it today, and did earn 10 min on a favored activity ON ONE CONDITION. (You will like this) IF he dares to MENTION the favored activity to me ONCE tomorrow in ANY sequence it will be a MONTH before he can do the favored activity again.

I play hardball.

I also am tired of being badgered. The more someone bugs me the madder I get and then more annoyed I am. THink of it this way, our kids need to work, get jobs and all that. If they are argumentative, they will loose the job oportunity FASTER than you can spit a nickel. WORK is work, at work they don't want WHY you are assigned an icky project or don't like something. You do it and lump it; write the speeches, do the reports, whatever, it is your job and you have to do it with out argument. Like Marking time in marching band; it is not fun, but it is better to Mark time than be run down by the American Legion Float. (FYI- just an exaggerated example OK, keep your shirts on).

I have some pretty high expectations for my son. So does my husband. We expect him to behave maturely, we expect him to read, we want him to do well. I will tell you, my son went to a gen ed school for 3 years. After the 3 years at the gen ed school he was able to read at a 4th grade level. When he transferred to the gen ed school he was reading and COMPREHENDING at a Sophomore in HS level. The drop was dramatic, the drop was Exceedingly disappointing. The "country club" atmosphere at the gen ed school is lower standards, lower expectations and reduced ciriculum.

With that change to a gen ed school,  does it mean that he would have Gen ed friends? I hope so, I don't know for sure. Rarely is he contacted by anyone except via me. I wish I could say that I knew people that had kids his age, I know one person. Like us they are super busy, and getting kids to hang out now is extremely limited. I think the boys in his small group contact him, but I don't know for sure, as he doesn't mention it to me. I know he is lonely, I know he is bored. I don't have many options on what to do about it. In this situation, it is like marking time. There is little we can do to change it but hope that he learns by being exposed to gen ed kids. We don't really know anyone out of the special ed world, when we moved to this neighborhood there were 3 houses filled (that we knew of) and now the kids that are here are EXTREMELY younger than my son, and although he is nice to them he doesn't really want ot hang out with little kids.

In spite of this, we are still really tough on him. He is limited to the amount of things that he is allowed to do and for how long (or at all, World of Warcraft is NOT an option for him). I don't like being the meany, playing hardball is hard on the hands and you have to wear gloves. He doesn't realize now, that we need him to do well, he has expectations that are made of him and he need to keep his head int he game.The basics of what he needs to remember is just the start, the hygene, the daily vitamins, all of that is VITAL for him in his day to day existance.

Working, and marking time, means you have to keep your head int he game. Being independent, or in a teen Aspie's view, argumentative, is not helpful. or endearing to a potential employer or in a general way. My son argues with me about anything and everything. I can say that the sky is blue and he will swear that it is green. This is where we are trying to teach him to not talk, stay quiet, arguing is not going to help at work or at home. (I will ground him and send him to bed, end of story) Most work places arguing is not allowed and unless a rational example, by someone who is mature enough to have a view point or an experience is not allowed to be taken at all seriously. For example, putting the ground beef next to the ground pork at the grocery store, if viable, might be a good idea since in some dishes they are used in tangent. That could be a reasonable argument at work....make it simple.

Arguing for the sake of arguing is a waste of my time. My son does it constantly. I am not taking the bate anymore, but I am also not allowing the favored activites to happen either. This summer is gonna be a long one, cause the boy, he is 'marking time."

MARK TIME, MARK, 1, 2, 3, 4

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Forcing exercise

I know, you aren't supposed to make your kids do anything. Maybe it has to do with being a youngest have having older parents, I don't know... but I do know that we have made the boy do stuff. My parents used to make me do stuff, I had to go places with them as a kid that I didn't want to. I wasn't allowed to go places I wanted to go, stuff like that.

Our son is forced to do a bunch of stuff he doesn't want to. He hs to go to practice, and if there is no practice he has to work out at the gym with us nightly. He has to do his homework, he has to go to summer school. He has to mow the lawn, and clean his room and, well you get the picture.

Lately, I have discovered that there are a lot of kids who don't "have to" do anything. My son has told me about these lucky saps whose parents don't make them do anything (I have yet to meet them). I thought it was an interesting concept. We have found that our son is better behaved, more relaxed and easier to get along with after a good bout of exercise, or as Alcott put it "play" first then hone in on the tasks and do the work. I tell him you don't get paid prior to doing the work. On that note, he isn't happy about us re-joining the gym, I told him if he is in sports he doesn't have to go, but if not he has ot come wiht us and work out. The joy on his face was OVERWHELMING...he was so happy to be hearing that he would get to work out with us again that he just, scowled and said, "I don't like working out with you two, you make me work hard." Really, oh you poor thing, now go get to work.
;-)

That is how it is, kind of like me having to go to dinners when I was a kid, the food was better out with my parents, than at home where I would have had to make my own dinner that night. So, I went with my parents, and I got to eat a decent meal (meaning I didn't make it).

Maybe it will sink in with the boy, ya think? 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I asked him to use soap.

All I did was ask him to use soap. That was it. You would have thought I had asked him to do something terrible.
I sent him BACK to the showers and told him he had to use soap to clean his smelly hair. He got mad at me for making him do it and standing in the shower and watching him wash his hair. The worst of it is; I NEVER had to do that when he was 6. At the age of 6 the boy was self reliant enough to wash his hair, clean himself, and use soap. Now for some reason he thinks that being stinky is OK and soap is a horrible thing for humans to use.
To say I am frustrated is putting it mildly.

I will admit that I have repeatedly taken away the video games. It is to the point whrere it is almost a joke. we let him play, he behaves like a jerk, he stops washing himself, he looses the video games. Simple. The shouting, the almost violent behavior and the bad temper today was enough for me. I have had enough of this garbage. The loss of the video games is almost permanent now. There are days when he has pushed me to my limits, and today he claims he was going to push me, I reacted defensively and he is now mad at me because of a scrape. Don't try to "push" your Mom and you won't have these problems young man.


When the boy is gone on his camp trip I may try to take the game systems out of his bedroom if his Dad will let me. I have forbidden any video game playing for him indefinitely...which sounds like I am being mean, but really it is better for him in the long run. They are over stimulating, quasi violent... and he wonders why I wouldn't get him a World of Warcraft subscription or allow it on the computer- after a day like today with him all I can say is DUH!
 
I know the "studies" don't indicate there is a connection between the video game usage and behavior problems. There are people who think that illegal drug trafficing is OK too.... Neither option work for me. I know what I know, and I know my son behaves better, will take a shower with soap and be a nicer person when he DOESN'T play the computer or video games. Right now he is lucky to be where he is; in bed. He could have lost his bed and ended up on the floor, which if the behavior and the attitudes don't stop that is where he will end up.
 
GRRR- video games!

Friday, June 11, 2010

reading between the lines

Most people are pretty decent at reading between the lines. Inferences, hints and other things are a part of dailylife. My sign language is currently pretty well known and part of a running joke with The Club. (It is affectionately done, not mean).

What I am getting at is that with my son, he doesn't get it when someone is tired. Seriously, I had to sit down and explain to him that I was exhausted after this week of finals and I needed a NAP. Not just a 20 minute diddly nap, a real NAP where I slept and finally felt rested when I woke up. He took a nap too, but would never admit that he felt better afterwards.

I remember as a kid being SO bone weary tired that I would go to sleep at like 7PM and wake up at 10AM the next day. There weren't many days I could get away with that but when I did people thought I was nuts.
On the other hand, my son doesn't get "tired" like that. He will keep going even when he NEEDS to drop like a ton of bricks and sleep. He doesn't understand that resting IS important. He argued with me all afternoon about the benefits of taking a nap. I finally told him that if I didn't rest he would be staying the next 72 hours in his bedroom and I would through his food under the door. Not really but come on now, we have had a rough finals week, we have quizzed, read, studied right along with him. I know MORE about the skeletal system than i ever really wanted to know or remember.

The benefits of a NAP outweighs the benefits of forcing yourself to keep going when your body feels cold, and you want to sleep. It is better than chocolate.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The dreaded phone call.

there are times that I dread the phone. I have numbers in my phone that I rarely ever call and when one of those pops up I almost always know the news is bad. That is what happened this week.

This is a situation where my son is friendish (they are friends but are at each other and compete in sports) with a boy. This is a boy with a learning disability of some sort, he is not a bad kid, but not exactly thoughtful either. He and another BD boy made up an EXTRAVEGENT story about my son and an incident that happened in class. The team taught class was being "taught" by one special ed teacher and one gen ed teacher...the personalities don't mesh and the end result is that my son now HATES science classes and thinks that both of these teachers are horrible. It is sad but that is how it is.

Anyhow, after the call from the Dean we went, after a sleepless night for the 3 of us, and heard a load of codswallop from the other 2 boys and my son told his part, he was nervous, the Dean, Asst Principal, Pyschologist, his Case Manager and parents were there. The end result was the teachers didn't follow the IEP or behavior plan; as I can gather it sounds like one of them MUST be functionally illiterate, she didn't read what was supposed to happen when there is a problem in class. they wouldn't allow our son ot leave the classroom to talk to his cse manger or psychologist, which is clearly stated in the behavior plan and IEP; our son has a pass to leave when he needs to go talk to someone. We have determined that one of the teachers must get off on the "excitement" because then she can go home and say, "YOu wouldn't believe what the animals did today." At least that is the way it appears on our end.

Although we thought our son deserved a detention, and my husband recommended that the dean give him one, he didn't. Our son got a warning, and although it was deserved I still think that he deserved more of a punishment. He is being punished at home, still no cartoons or video games.

Now for the tough part, what does one do with a class where the trust that an IEP and behavior plan are not being followed? This problem would have never happened and we would have never heard about it if the 2 teachers in the classroom were doing their job, which frankly, would have been made EASIER if they had sent our son to his pyschologist or case manager. He had asked once before to go talk tohis psychologist and they wouldn't let him go, so he didn't even bother to ask this time. AS far as he was concerned, what was the point in asking again, the answer would be "No, you can't go"?

Which now begs the question: if a teacher doesn't follow an IEP or behavior plan what happens to them? I would like to think that there is some kind of punishment involved...I doubt it though. Frankly, a tenured teacher around here doesn't garner much respect with the special ed parents. In fact, we really are not impressed that they have been teaching for a long time. Burnout rate is high with teachers of special ed and if they do it for too long they need a job change, environment change or something to keep fresh and do well. We have seen it happen. There are very few that can do it for longer than a few years; I know of 2 that have been at it for a long time; both are in a special ed district and are highly respected. That is 2 teachers in heaven knows how many years we hve dealt with schools and districts.

That isn't saying much is it?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thinking...

Lately I know I have been pretty brutal. I get hard on myself and I want so much for my son that I am getting on his neck almost constantly. Ok more than constantly, Ok, more than that. I don't mean to be brutal. I don't. I am the chick that cries at the end of "To Kill a Mockingbird" both the book and the story. I am the one busting myself to keep on top of things and MAKE sure I let my son's teachers supervisors know what a great job they did this year. I try darn hard.

As far as other things go I am dropping the ball all over the place. I heard a friend was in the hospital on Saturday, and it took me this long to contact her and ask what wasy going on and if she was OK. I am asking questions about my temp job and still working my head off. My son is doing great. He is trying hard but I have noticed the "Chatty Cathy" syndrome starting up again, and I don';t know what to do about it. It exhausts us. There is NO volume control. I need to call for ortho and doc app'ts and I haven't gotten to it yet, I am not being lazy, really. Slovenly, maybe, but lazy not really.

In my planet people would say I am "refocused" on working. It is all I do right now. It is a good thing but I have to remember to do other things too. I am thinking about making up a Bucket List but it seems like I would just put stuff on it that would have been things I would have done anyway. Can one do a list like that but have other people pay for it? If so, how does that happen?

None of this has to do with Austim, or Aspergers. We aaren't dealing with many issues right now, all is quiet on the western front.
Let's keep it that way.