The Lag After the Lag
The Black Folder

Lag Is Us

Waiting for dad can be an inside job too

 

For better or for worse, this post is again about lag. (Right, maybe I should rename this blog "Autism Lag" temporarily.) Charlie had incident #3 of the week (so he's now had incidents three straight days in a row). This one happened at 11am and he was back to being calm in just around a half-hour, as his teacher relayed to me over the phone.

Charlie's teacher highlighted one thing in particular: The room had been very noisy and one of the other students does some screaming. I noted to Charlie's teacher that, in a previous class, another student had done a lot of (really high-pitched) screaming, and how Charlie (who of course does plenty of his own things) had endured it for the most part, and had some trouble too. It occurred to me to ask if Charlie is the youngest in his current class and, sure enough he is -- plus he is the only new student in the classroom this year.

Bingo.

Charlie had been with his old teacher and aides and behaviorist and some students for about two years prior to transitioning to his current, secondary level classroom. He was one of the older kids in that class. Now he's the youngest and the newest, plus there are 3 more students in the class (for a total of 9), and sometimes they combine with another class for activities. While I think it's good for Charlie to handle being in larger numbers, I can see how it must be a new challenge. Charlie's teacher said they're working on having him ask for a walk to get out of the room when it gets too noisy, the very strategy teachers have taught him in the past -- but those were other teachers, in other classrooms, when Charlie was himself at a different stage of his development and he needs to learn that same old skill again, it seems.

We tend to be pro-active about and things we know will set off behavior storms. I'm going at least to ask his teacher if there might be some way to remove Charlie from a noisy room and gradually build up to him asking.

But the bigger issue may simply be that, having been in his new classroom for almost two months, Charlie is starting to miss his old one, his old teacher and the aides and the kids. It's not unusual for it to take quite a while (over a month) for him to have a reaction to a new setting -- yes, lag again.

Our own house is quite quiet. Charlie enjoyed a bike ride after a hiatus of all of one day. Then Jim went to Jersey City to speak at an event at an Italian restaurant and Charlie knelt on the big black couch, looking out the front window for Jim to return in the black car -- that is, Charlie waited inside, sitting (kneeling) down, instead of standing for hours on the sidewalk. Certainly this had to be at least a little more comfortable (for his mom, at least, glad to sit at her desk rather than on the concrete porch steps, anticipating the next mosquito bite).

Comments

Judy T

Would "visiting" his old class help, or would it make things worse? If it would only confuse him, it wouldn't be helpful, but if it would give him a sense of reassurance about the continuity of people and the world, maybe it would be a good thing.

Louise

With the chill that has been settling into New Jersey (especially at night), you shouldn't have to worry about mosquitoes much anymore.

When Charlie is spending hours waiting for Jim, is it that he simply wants Jim to be home with you? Did he expect a late-night bike ride?I'm sure he must have pictures of Jim on his iPad. Perhaps Jim could make a little a story for Charlie ("Hey, buddy, I'm thinking of you. We will ride bikes tomorrow.. " or whatever.)

Of course, you have probably already though of this before. The watched pot never boils, and it gets rather exhausting for the pot-watcher. His happiness when Jim walks in the door would make a great photo for the end of a little picture story - and also for us.

Kristina Chew

@Judy, I've been weighing over your suggestion -- I have a feeling he passes it, and lots of places at the school he was last year. I'm sure he's seen his old teacher and the aides and everyone..... we had tried to 'micromanage' Charlie's transition but hadn't thought about how certain objects would mean so much to him!

@Louise, if there's a mosquito in New Jersey, it will find me (just got another one).

I may be having Jim posing for photos walking down the sidewalk, up the porch....

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