Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You say Good-Bye, I say Good-bye

My young man has become very dependant on his schedules. Where he goes and when is very important for him to know up front. Every trip is planned out on his picture schedule, the number of pictures dependant on the number of steps to get to the final destination. Preparation to leave the house is to become another picture schedule since he now believes if you have your jacket and shoes (on or just carrying them) you are ready to go, regardless if you have any other piece of clothing on.
At school after I leave he is a different kid, closer to the one he was at home half a year ago. He barely speaks and does not express his wants. It was baffling at first to find out that the speech therapist at school had a goal for him to make 2-3 word utterances, while his out of school speech therapist is working on getting him to answer questions. It is a different world for him at school with overly busy walls, and children that he has no interest in.

I prepare the picture schedule with the PECS appropriate for each step;

Car, when we get in the car with seat belt on he removes the card, places it on the backside of the board and I prompt him to tell me where we are going next.

School, When we're parked I come to his door and he removes the card.

Office, We must sign in at the office every morning, this is the step that has caused the most trouble because at first he didn't want to go in, and then his bravery got the better of him and he decided to explore. This was fixed however with a "Don't get yourself in trouble, Connor." Yeah I couldn't believe that stopped him either.

Connor's class room, this is the last picture on the schedule. I had first tried to include a picture of a person waving "good-bye". I thought this would let him know that I was going to say "Good-bye". This backfired, upon seeing the goodbye card he grabbed his things and headed to the door.
The other obstacles in our way of completing the Office to Connor's classroom step is the occasional teacher and or therapist in the hall. To Connor this makes no sense what so ever. They are to be in the classroom, they do not exist anywhere else. The first sighting out of the classroom caused a meltdown in the hallway leaving me wondering how in the world I was going to get around this. Connor fixed it himself, now when he sees them in the hall or out the classroom he averts his eyes and does not respond to them. Yes, I'll have to come back to this one and remedy it.

The teachers and aides have always asked what they could do to help and have been most helpful, even adding the picture schedule to his IEP. However follow through has been hit or miss, causing them to have to deal with a meltdown in the hallway. They had left the classroom to go to the library, Connor is used to the idea that if the class leaves the room they go to the gym, lunch, or home. Not being shown a picture of the unexpected library before hand left him unprepared.

When talking to the aide and asking about using the pictures she told me he hadn't needed it as much since he got used to the normal routine. I was glad her boss was behind her listening to the conversation. The aide is the sweetest lady but she needs to be pointed back into the right direction occasionally, as do we all.


Suzy said...

I find it all so very interesting that every single action or destination has to be so carefully planned out, otherwise a meltdown ensues. The picture schedule sounds amazing for all the steps- but then the unplanned for appearance of someone in the hall- disrupts the routine. But it makes sense. Schedules are meant to be followed and that is what sweet Connor is doing. Detours are not a a part of his path.
I can understand his way of thinking. Your writing and documenting of it is wonderful.
Connor is taking small steps to make the world his own. And he will get through detours such as the library and other obstacles in his path. You must be so proud of him. I know I am.

Love to you and Connor.


mommy~dearest said...

Haha- Jaysen can't handle things "out of their place" either. A teacher belongs in the classroom, not in the hallway, not in the parking lot, and definately NOT at McDonalds. He averts his eyes and makes a gutteral growl if they try to say hi to him.

On the crappy side of the same coin...Mom does not belong at school. Mom belongs anywhere but school. This means I can't attend things like classroom parties, fieldtrips, or even little music performances the kids put on at holiday time. I really miss not going to those things, but I understand that it's just too much for Jaysen to handle.