Saturday, April 23, 2011

When to get a cell phone

When to get your Aspie kid a cell phone.....

I was thinking about this today. Our son has had a number of cell phones. His first one he had from 2nd grade all the way thru 6th. Then he went thru several- 2 were washing machine issues (I have a fear of meeting up with bugs and ick when emptying his pockets so I rarely ever have and it was me) the other was an age problem and over all poor phone system. This most recent is a  "go phone".
"Go phone" is a cheapo way to get a phone when you don't want to go into an expensive cell plan and are trying to make it work until the contract wears out.

Our son tells us he would like a Blackberry. Although it sounds like an interesting idea there is a thought that getting a teenager a Blackberry is kind of like getting a dinosaur an Ipod.....what for and what is the point?

Teaching responsibilty with electronics is a learned process. I think it is an important thing to do with kids who have an overall tendency to be couch potatoes. Having to do work around the house or understand that being responsible means cleaning up your room and putting your clothes away. It is all an learned process. Now I don't want you thinking we are perfect at this....we aren't. There are many evenings where we struggle to get homework done. Or we argue about why the boy picked Around the World in 80 Days over Call of the wild for a reading assignment when we told him to read Call of the wild. A basic example of how the boy refuses to listen to us and then discovers that OMG the old geezers might have been right after all. What a shocker.

Being responsible for his phone is huge. He was allowed to have a phone at a school where electronics of ANY sort were not allowed. At a young age (6) he was using his phone appropriately and NOT allowed to hand out his number to everyone under the sun. It was a number of years before he even knew what his number was, if he still knows I am not certain. The thing is though, he LEARNED not to download a bunch of games, features and stuff to plug up the systems on his phone that he needed to have. He is texting rather than calling (texting is not as disruptive) after school and prior to working out.

Really if you think about it, encouraging your Aspie to text requires them to think in a few words what they need to tell you. Our son tells us if he is at school, doing homework, going to practice; or whatever we need to know in 3 words or less. BONUS! No long drawn out explanations and better yet a quick easy way to communicate with out trying tocome up with the appropriate phrases. Texting may be a bit slower in the response time, but in the overall thinking it out process it is MUCH MUCH better.

Even now, the boy does the 3 word thing and it is very effective. I know exactly what is going on, when, and how it needs to be set up for everyone to feel OK about the situation at hand.

This is not a perfect alternative to communicating with the kids, but if you need a quick and dirty resource to getting ahold of a kid who is prone to be loquacious....well to us it is a positive thing to keep things going appropriately within the family scheme.

Deciding when to give your kidling a phone is a big decision to make. Deciding WHEN they are old enough to be responsible is up to them. Making it happen is up to the parents. TEACHING it is another parent thing. Not the school, not the case managers, not the psych's the PARENTS need to teach this part of being responsible. IT is not up to the kids to know that leaving their expensive electronics or even basic daily supplies about is a cause for problems or concerns....trust me, Our son has done that  too, lost his expensive calculator AND lost a day planner that he really needed to have to keep track of assignments.

After loosing rights and privledges; he is learning to keep track of his stuff......although the other day he mislaid his house key. Too bad he didn't check his backpack. He would have been inside and warm instead of parked on the stoop and mad at me because he thought he didn't have his key....allright so we didn't think of everything- give us a break we will get there soon!