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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Chores and Procrastination

Well my wedding is less than two weeks away now and there is a list a mile long of things that still need to be done.  I am, of course, not doing them.

The thing about getting married for the second time is that it is a lot more difficult to plan, prepare, complete the millions of tasks when you have a child.  Though there are many supposed moral reasons why people should wait to have kids until after marriage, I think the real reason is that it’s damn hard to get anything done when you have kids!

Seriously!  I can barely get the dishes done on daily basis because of Connor!

So when Connor was sick for three weeks straight and missed 10 days of school, my wedding planning got derailed.  Thankfully I have my faithful minions (aka my family and friends) who are kindly helping in whatever capacity they can.  Or that I will let them.  (I do feel strangely reluctant to burden anyone with work when I know how impossible it is to get things done with little ones clinging to you as you try to move the wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer…or maybe that’s just my house?)

Now that Connor is back at school I should be tackling the dozen or so items left to get done in the next 10 days.

Instead, I’ve spent my morning researching and creating a picture chore chart for Connor.  Yay!…?

The other thing about getting married for the second time is that you don’t get to stop being a parent, your child still needs all of your attention (and your special needs child needs all of your attention and then some).  Since I’ve set the tentative goal of mainstreaming Connor one or two days per week for next fall, we are really focusing on doing whatever we can to prepare him for a mainstream preschool classroom.  That means he’s socializing more with typical developing peers, we’re making him use more and more of his language at home, and we’re trying to create an environment of responsibility.  Part of that means Connor has to complete certain tasks each day (mostly without complaining).

To get him used to the idea of responsibility and having to do things he doesn’t necessarily enjoy, we instituted a chore chart.  I made a worksheet of chores with bubbles next to it to be checked off.  And while Connor enjoyed getting check marks, it didn’t really appear to be making an impact.  So I’m taking another approach.

Choice boards worked really well for us in the past when we were developing Connor’s language skills.  He was able to look at the pictures and either point or pick them up to communicate his needs, while still focusing on developing the words these pictures represented.  I’m hoping that using a pictorial chore chart will have a similar effect.

With a little research I was able to find these from Over the Big Moon:

Picture Chore Charts for Preschoolers

The author provides blank versions so you can add your own clipart/images and text.  Obviously I’m not going to have Connor read 15 minutes every day (since he can’t sit still for 15 minutes) but I am going to have him brush his teeth!

To customize your own charts visit here: http://www.overthebigmoon.com/pre-k-chore-charts-free-printable/

I’ll post an update once I get the charts on the wall and we can see how Connor is progressing!

Until then, I guess I’ll get to some wedding chores before my actual wedding is here…maybe.

 

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Not taking no for an answer

I really don’t like being told no.  I mean nobody does, but I really really hate it.  It makes me want whatever I’m requesting even more!

Can I eat all my trick or treat candy? No.  Oh yeah?  Well I’m going to eat as much Halloween candy as possible before I even get home!

Can I go on that spring break trip to Mexico? No.  Well fine! I’m just going to Havasu instead!

Can I finish my finals and term papers for my masters while on bed-rest at 8 mos pregnant? No. Wanna bet? Just watch me! Done!

So when I spoke to someone today about moving Connor from his special education preschool into a mainstream preschool just two days a week next fall, I didn’t like hearing them say no.  It mad me mad.  I mean it mad me really really mad.  Like I wanted to pull all the research out of my pocket and show them how great mainstream education is for high functioning autistic children.  (I didn’t actually have it in my pocket so that’s kinda why I’m blogging at 11 pm on a Monday.  I’m writing, taking notes, and researching.  And I’m really good at research, like it’s kinda my superpower.  I now have enough sources to write an academic paper on the subject.  Booyah.)

Telling me that my son can’t do something, telling me that he is limited, that he may get lost in that setting, pushed all the wrong buttons.

Sure Connor isn’t ready at this very moment to be in a mainstream preschool class.  The biggest obstacle is his speech delay.  In the past six months we have seen Connor’s speech improve tremendously, breathtakingly! But he’s still not at a level of typical development for a three-year old.  And that’s ok.  It’s a process that may take years to fully catch him up.  I’m willing to wait.

What I’m not willing to do is sit on the sidelines to wait.  I’m going to push him.  I’m going to put Connor into environments that drive him to increase his communication.  Existing solely in a world of special education, Connor is never going to be pushed to exceed those around him.  He will not be asked to stretch beyond the goals set forth for him that year by adults.  And as much effect as adult interactions can have, kids want to interact with kids.  Playing and talking and having fun with another child can be the greatest motivator to grow.

A recent study in particular (in Norway) found that children with autism who interacted with their typical developing peers in a mainstream preschool setting saw a significant increase in their IQ over two years. A second study published by Autism in 2011 found that 31 % of the autistic students observed, who interacted with their typical developing peers, saw such a significant increase after just 8 months as to qualify them as typical developing.

These studies with these types of returns convince me even more that Connor needs to be pushed into a classroom with typical developing peers.  Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but soon.  He may not see the same significant increases in IQ or developmental abilities, but I think any increase is worth the risk.

And I’m not taking no for an answer.