Teacher is Awful!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JLady, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Six weeks ago my 7 yr old son was diagnoses with Aspergers after months of testing. I'm proceeding forward through the school system to get him the help he needs. I've met with the teacher and faculty at his school. His teacher has told me that she doesn't want him in her class. She said she doesn't know how to handle him and she can't deal with his saying mean things in front of the 19 other students in the class room. I have left numerous messages for the VP at the school that handles Special Education since I'm told she is the one who is"handling" my son right now.

    I've also talked to the Psychologist for the school and he says the teacher told him that my son is doing fine with "her" interventions. That isn't the case nor is it the truth. He has improved some with medication but still has several episodes a day. He also is very physical and angry.

    He has a thing about having gloves on his hands or in his pocket. Her idea of dealing with him was to take his gloves away from him. This sparked a meltdown and she can't handle it.

    I'm frustrated because I'm not getting any help or any answers. I also have a big problem with a teacher telling me she doesn't want my child in her class.

    Can anyone help or advise me what to do? I will also be attending a support group for parent's with children on the Autism Spectrum meeting tonight and certainly hope to gain a lot of information from that. Just meeting someone who understand would be huge.

  2. Sagegrad

    Sagegrad New Member

    JLady - Having a child in the same school district as you, I am not suprised at all by the teachers' remarks. My Advice - get an advocate to help you with the legalities of your rights and IEP process. They can AND will do everything they can to avoid providing services. Just my two cents.

  3. JLady,

    I like the Sage advice....
    I'm in Georgia as well. If I had it to do over again, I would definitely get an advocate.
    I think it puts things on a different level, and you are viewed differently as a parent.
    Your child's needs are not being met if his fit with the teacher is not a good one. He needs to be somewhere else, and quickly!

    Sending gentle hugs your way...

  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The advice you've been given is valid. We don't live in your State but I assure you that the educational system is not on your team! If you don't have complete protection for your son they can and will find a way to expel him from the school system. Get an advocate who knows how to handle the situation. It's a sad state of affairs but once you have a child with special needs it is usually them versus us. Good luck. DDD
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would be hopping mad, in fact, I am hopping mad just reading this. What a terrible teacher to tell you she doesn't want your difficult child in her class! I can't imagine ever telling one of my parent's that! How unprofessional! Getting an advocate is a good idea. I think I would want my child out of that class-she needs to get a clue!

    I hope at some point in difficult child's school years you will have some teachers that "get" it and truly care. We have had both for difficult child. The ones who care have been awesome!!!! This year's group has been fantastic and truly does have difficult child's best interest at heart.
  6. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Sage.. where do you get the advocate? I did talk with the VP this afternoon. She was on the phone with me for over an hour. We talked about the teacher and how my difficult child has been given rules and then the teacher hasn't lived up to her side of the agreements.

    Like yesterday.... The rule is that if he stays in EIP reading the entire time without being sent back to the regular classroom, he gets a reward. He stayed in reading the entire time but wasn't behaving and the reading teacher made him sit and stay. When he got back to his class he wanted his reward because he was there the entire time. She told him NO because he didn't behave. The VP understands that this isn't a condition of the rule. The teacher doesn't. STRIKE ONE

    My difficult child has a pair of gloves that are always on his hands or in his pocket. I guess these serve as some sort of security for him. Since he was having a meltdown about not getting his reward she took his gloves away from him. STRIKE TWO

    They have a smiley face system. If he loses all 3 smiley faces, an administrator is called to the room to come and get him. After she took his gloves he told her he was going to stab her. She called an administrator. He had 2 smiley faces left on the board. STRIKE THREE.

    Some of this information I had form the teacher and the VP filled in the rest. She explained to me how difficult child had been violated 3 times in a short period of time and that his needs of least resistant environment wasn't being met.

    We compared notes on the teacher and came up with a plan. I admited that I don't have any answers. I'm just learning about all this but I need support not more problems. I need them to work with me and to help me. I can't do this alone.

    We have 7 items on the plan that will be addressed immediately. Things that should make difficult child feel more secure. I'm really glad the VP gets it and I hope she can get the teacher whatever she needs in resources. Being so far into the year we both agreed that moving difficult child would just cause him more issues. He will however be given the new right of turning in a power card when he is losing control and without any questions being asked, he will be able to go to another teacher that really does well with him. This other teacher is a Special Education teacher and she will give him her attention any time that he needs it. That is what the VP said. I hope so.

    I can screem pretty loud. Especially when it comes to my precious boy. difficult children really are special aren't they? I think I'm beginning to see how blessed we are to have them.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Keep screaming. You need it, with this teacher.

    Some very basic but vital rules she needs banged through her thick head:

    1) DO NOT REMOVE POINTS/REWARDS etc once earned. This also means - do not set up a reward system which is also a debit/warning system. Regardless of how it works for everyone else, you MUST have a punishment system that is immediate. Instead of "three strikes and your'e out" what she needs is to be able to call someone for each infraction, but not for such a severe punishment. Instead of callnig and administrator, she needs an aide working with your son, whose task it is when he does something wrong (that would cause a strike against him) to take him aside and workshop what he just did wrong. He then has to come back into class when he is ready, and apologise to resolve the 'crime'.

    2) DO NOT INTERFERE WITH SECURITY/STIMS. I'm having this argument on behalf of difficult child 3's best friend at the moment - his class teacher who used to teach difficult child 3 (and who I thought finally 'got it') is doing everything wrong, like your son's teacher. She is punishing this boy because of the noises he makes. difficult child 3 used to make noises in her class also - it's a stimulant. And with stims, you can't/shouldn't stop them because they are actually a coping strategy. Unless the gloves are a problem which is causing a distraction in the classroom, she MUST NOT interfere. Do consider the possibility though, that he could be spending a lot of time fiddling with his gloves and not working, and she mgiht be thinking that she needs to remove a distraction. Ofcourse, if it's a stimulant (which it sounds like to me) he could be fiddling with the gloves a lot more because he is feeling stressed (having her as a teacher would do it).

    3) ALWAYS BE CONSISTENT. Kids on the spectrum (I include Aspies here) have a very keen sense of justice and rules being foillowed. If ANYONE changes the rules halfway, it's a mean thing to do to any kid. But to a spectrum kid, it's red rag to a bull. VERY wrong, on every level. if the teacher can't be fair or consistent, then how on earth can sheexpect the kid to be fair or consistent? He certianly won't respect her, and without respect, he will treat her increasingly rudely. Frankly, she sounds like she's asking for trouble. Probably because she doesn't want him in her class, she is not only not making an effort, she is almost deliberately rocking the boat to trigger enough trouble to get him thrown out.

    What I tihnk you need to do:

    Go to the meeting, talk to the advocates/other parents there. Find out your rights and your son's rights. Make your own list of his triggers as well as common triggers for Aspies in general.

    Next - go to the school and make it clear - give them your list and the rules I just gave above. Then give them the following, in writing (in your own words) - "These will trigger my son, because of the diagnosed disability he has. He CAN be managed, but he needs certain strategies in place to make it possible. If these are not in place, or if these rules are not followed, HE SHOULD NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONSEQUENCES.

    Before you do this - check your rights, make sure this will stick. It will for us, because it comes under our antidiscrimination laws as well as the disability rights stuff we have.

    And last but most important - THANK this teacher for her honesty. Don't be sarcastic about it, either. She has been open about her feelings, about her unwillingness to teach your son. That is a VERY good thing, I wish more bad teachers would admit to this, many of our kids would be better off.

    You need to ask for help for your son and for the teacher, who has openly admitted to being out of her depth. Whoever it is that is supposed to be helping your son - she MUST call you back, call the teacher also. She MUST set up an urgent appointment with you, ASAP, preferably yesterday.

    If she does not, then call and leave one more message - "Hi, this is difficult child's mother. I have rung to ask for an urgent meeting, I have been trying to discuss the problems since [list your first contact date]. The teacher is not coping, things are getting worse. Therefore I am keeping him home until we have put some urgent strategies in place. As things are, we are achieving nothing and only doing damage. And most important - I am so determined to have something in place urgently, so he can return to school, that I will give you 30 minuteds to return my call. After 30 minutes from now [state time] I will be telephoning [name next persin up the chain of command] and repeating this request. I will give that person te same message, if they are not there. Again, 30 minuteslater if no call is returned, I will be calling the next person. And so on, until I get someone who either calls me back, answers their own phone, or I reach the congressman [or the top person you can name, who you are prepared to telephone if you have to]."

    I have done tihs - in our case, the top person for me to ring was our state Minister for Educvation. While I didn't speak to the Minister personally, I DID speak to his personal assistant who was the one I needed, to kick-start things happening. And I emphasise the word "kick" - rear ends were getting kicked back DOWN the line, for the next few days. I had the urgent meeting I wanted, the very next day.

    Only do this if:

    1) You know the chain of command, including the phone numbers, and know your rights;


    2) You are prepared to follow through and be part of the process of putting things in place.

    Don't do it too often - once in a child's school career should be as much as you ever do. But keep good notes of who you ring, what time, what they said. You will undoubtedly need to hold them to their words (or make them eat them). Also you can find some unexpectedly useful advocates.

    Do your homework first, pick the brains of other parents so you know who is likely to help and who is a waste of space (you still have to call them, if they are in the chain of command).

    Also be prepared to put your concerns in writing, and to ensure copies are sent to all who should be on the list. Keep letters simple, unemotional, short (one page for preference), constructive where possible and make it clear what you want. "Dear ..., I am writing to you because of my concerns about... I need the following fixed... In order to do this I would like to meet with you to discuss this and to also provide you with information to help make this possible. Please let me know what you would like me to do, to help you achieve these outcomes."

    Simply sending a letter saying, "I am very unhappy about how my son is being treated, this is what has been happening," doesn't actually say anything except - you are unhappy. But saying as well, "I want this to change in the following way using these strategies," is making it possible, it's even going so far as you teaching them how to do their job. But hey, anything you can do to help should be welcome. If the school line is, "We're just too busy to waste energy on a single student in a large classroom, we can't play favourites," then as parent you step in and say, "there there, I understandhow busy you are, I also understand how frustrating it must be to have my child in your classroom (because I live with him, so I do have an idea). So I am gonig to teach you how you can meet his needs, which of course are due to his disability and are not naughtiness. Therefore, since it is a disability thatis interfering here with your ability to ensure his educational neds are met, it is the responsibility of the education system to ensure he has equal access to an education, as with other kids who do not have this disability. For my son, 'equal access to education' does NOT simply mean giving him a seat in the same classroom; the curriculum material needs to be given to him in a way that he can take it on board and learn. If it means the work needs to be somplified; if it means he needs an aide (to give the teacher a break as well as to support his learning); if it means he needs to be given a quiet spacwe to sit and work, if it means he needs anything different in this manner, then together we can work to identify what will work so that together, as a team, we can ensure this child does not get left behind due to the school's inability to understand and meet his needs."

    Again, make sure what I'm suggesting matches what is legally required in your area.

    Run it past an advocate.

    But I've found, oftgen, that when you're dealing with a reactionary system you often need to get activist and put in the (velvet ballet shoe) boot. If you do it in a constructive way, nobody can complain that all you're doing is whinging and not helping. They can't say, "I don't know where to start," if you have just told them how. They can't label you a problem, when you make yourself part of the solution.

    We shouldn't have to do all this, but this is not a perfect world when our difficult children are concerned. So we do what we can do.

    Good luck with this teacher.

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  8. JLady,

    You can find an advocate several ways. One excellent resource is found at www.wrightslaw.com

    You will find a wealth of information there. They have template letters on the site , much like the excellent one that Marg has suggested to get you started. Within in the site there is an area for COPAA, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. You can open that link and choose your state to find a listing of lay advocates and attorneys who specialize in this area. Our difficult child's psychologist will also work as an advocate and come to IEP meetings and such, but that route is rather expensive. The Lay Advocates are less expensive and some of them are former Special Education teachers. Your local Parent to Parent Group may also be able to refer you to some advocates.

    We had a situation with our difficult child in the 3rd grade. His teacher did not like him, didn't want him in the class. I agree with Marg that you have to give such a teacher points for honesty. However, I personally believe that once that cat is out of the bag, you can't really put it back. Not all people are good matches together, and that goes for the classroom as well. Is there any chance that your difficult child could just work with the Special Education teacher you referenced for the rest of the year? Just a thought.

    Hang in there, you're working on your warrior mom badge!

  9. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    I'm going to meet with the teachers at 3:00 today.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Let us know how it goes. STay calm (if you can) because it helps you keep control. Make some notes of things you want to discuss, don't forget to thank the teacher for her honesty (it sounds like there isn't much else to thank her for) and emphasise the need to handle these kids with positive motivation and avoid ANY negative feedback.

    Ask them if they have read "The Explosive Child" - I actually wrote a summary for difficult child 3's first school and even though I kept it simple, they didn't even read that.

    Another point - teaching as a profession has changed a vast amount, from what you or I experienced askids. Teachers now have to do a great deal more and have a lot more to consider in how they handle all their students, including the tricky ones. This is now built in to the profession, but some older teachers who have chosen to just coast for the rest of their career are just not up to speed and will never be.

    What I'm saying - a lot of teachers are just fabulous, doing an incredible job. But they are being undermined and having their workload complicated, by those who give the entire profession a black eye. You will find pockets of problems in some schools and in some school districts. It IS possible for a parent to begin to cause change, but it's really hard work and thankless. However, in the long run positive change is inevitable.

    I hope it goes productively.

  11. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Get an IEP asap. And don't think they (school) will put what is best. YOU are part of this team and YOU make sure what your son needs, what helps him are IN the IEP. That is a legal document and it MUST be followed. I have many, many times written teachers, staff..stating "PER IEP...." things change real fast.

    Many difficult child's learn in a different way. Not wrong, just non traditional. I had a Special Education teacher a few weeks ago say in a meeting that difficult child won't do math the way HE shows him. I told him if you TELL him he has to do it THIS way, he won't do it. He'll completely shut down. There IS more than one way to solve a math problem. Special Education teacher then replied, "I am sorry. I cannot work with him"

    Principal was in this meeting. Most of the time he is the biggest advocate I have for difficult child. He understand. He looked at that teacher and said,,,xxxxx - you WILL work with him. It isn't that difficult.

    In the beginning of all this IEP stuff, I found myself at school almost daily. Finally found someone to help me out.

    You will find some teachers that fight this and want things their way. But you will find wonderful teachers willing to add input on what really helps.

    Hang in there.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am glad you have a VP who is trying to work with you. I do think this teacher should be thanked for her honesty in telling you up front that she doesn't want your child in her class, but teachers don't get to pick and choose. So she needs to hoover it up and be an adult about it. How does she expect the CHILD to cope if SHE can't cope with the rules?

    No matter what she should NEVER EVER take his gloves away. He NEEDS tehm. Period. It isn't a big deal unless they are filthy or they are being used to hit other kids. If they are filthy then she needs to send a note home ASKING that they be washed or replaced (I am sure you would have no problem with that - no reasonable one of us would!). If he is hitting others (or even the desk to make a banging noise) the he needs to be told that he must stop. Rather than taking the gloves, HE should be gently asked to leave the room. Sometimes our kiddos CAN'T stop flapping an item. It isn't a conscious refusal, it is an INABILITY. (BIg difference there!)

    If she continues to interfere with his stimulant, she DESERVES to have whatever threats he utters. I have a few I could share with her if she continues! (I feel very strongly about this, having had Wiz tormented over and over for 2 years about this.)

    This year is almost up. I think the ability to get up and go to the Special Education teacher is something he is going to NEED to get through this year. Make sure they don't tell him he can go in "a few minutes" if the deal is that he can go NOW or at will. Also make sure it is the ability to go, not a card he has to turn in and get back before he can go again. You will be SHOCKED at how a teacher can use these things as a tool against the child if she is not on board. Have the VP agree that difficult child can just tell her (rather than ask her) that he is going to the sp ed teacher.

    If this teacher has the chance, she will stall him, or if an actual card is used she will not give it back because she will feel he is "out of control" and maybe even that he just needs "more discipline" rather than this sort of accomodation. I have seen it happen. So make sure that difficult child can just TELL her he is going and then go. There needs to be some way for him to handle the situation if the teacher tells him he cannot go to the other teacher. If this happens, he should ask to go to the bathroom, or whatever excuse will get him out of the classroom - even saying he has to throw up can work. Then he should go and tell the specific vice principal or ask to call you. Because telling him he can go when he needs to get away from her, then having her refuse to let him get away is really a recipe for a major explosion. So he needs some mechanism to tell the school, and you, that this is not working as promised.

    Sorry if I sound skeptical and cynical. I have gone through this with Wiz and seen a number of other kids go through it with specific teachers. Sadly, some of the teachers who end up with our kids are HUGE control freaks who will find a way to sabotage even the least demanding of accomodations that our kids need.

    I hope and pray that this all goes smoothly and this teacher does not pose any kind of problem. But figure out what you want the next steps to be if it doesn't go that way.

    Glad they are learning you can be fierce when your child needs you to be!
  13. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    The meeting went well. I told them they do NOT have permission to restain my son (that's what they wanted). I told them if the restrain him, he will fight and they don't want that. I told them he needs a "cool down" place. We agreed on some methods.

    I'm not sure if I'm right here or not so please help me out.....

    They are still treating everything as a behavior problem. Is this actually a behavior problem? I'm under the impression that he is trying to maintain control of his confused world when it is out of control when he has these fits. Am I wront? (not sure if that made sense). In other words.... this isn't actually a behavior problem is it?

    I hope things get better. I just want to get through the year and have some good things in place for the start of next year. I really want him in the Aspergers program at the other school in our county. (I think)

    It's spring break so we get a break this week. Thank goodness.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    He has Asperger's diagnosed, so this goes beyond behaviour Yes,there are behaviour problems but they are the result of the condition and you can't fix everything by working on the behaviours.

    This requires some expert on-the-spot opinions from an autism expert if possible. We went through this with difficult child 3 - the Dept of Ed behaviour expert was called in. Often in Australia our Aspie/autistic kids get caught up with the behaviour management area, but at least they are taking the autism into account.

    This needs to be discussed with you, the teachers and an expert in autism behaviours so you know what can be changed, what can't be changed and what has to be endured.

    This is where continued observation and diarising between home and school is so valuable - the teacher tries something and has either success, failure or no change. Same thing with home. By feeding back to each other what you tried and what result there was, you all slowly build up a picture of how to manage.

    Things to try to change:

    1) he needs to learn the right way to interact with others.
    He cannot simply be left to try to absorb this on his own; autism doesn't work that way, he needs active tuition, support and supervision. He needs positive outcomes and if it has to take adult support for this to happen at least in the beginning, so be it. The more positive outcomes he has the more he will improve, often quite quickly. But if the experiences are negative, his behaviour is likely to deteriorate.

    Example - difficult child 3 was put on playground supervision. This did involve the aide staying within eyesight of him, but so she wasn't merely following him around she actually organised a game of touch football in the playground. Kids joined in, kids dropped out, the game rules were followed, as game rules changed she made sure difficult child 3 understood that rules had been changed (because other kids signal suchthings to one another more subtly) and any possible problems were picked up on and dealt with immediately. "It's OK, difficult child 3, Benny didn't mean to tip you so hard, he was just getting caught up in the game. Benny just said sorry, let's play on."
    At the end of the play session she would talk to difficult child 3 and they would discuss any issues and finish with an overview of social lessons learned. Other kids couldn't take advantage of difficult child 3 because an adult was supervising, but it was informal so a lot of 'natural' communication was still happening.

    2) He needs to change his response to change and to distraction in class.
    This is a huge problem area for autistics and Aspies, teachers need to make accomodations here but over time you want him to become more adaptable. It won't happen overnight and it won't happen without support.

    3) He MUST NOT be expected to stop stimming or to do without his coping mechanisms. However, if what he needs is not practical, then he needs to be supported in the process of making a change to something that CAN be made practical. For example, if his stimulant involved a noisy scream every 5 seconds, this is gonig to be disruptive. If it is at all possible he would need to be supported to find something else that is not so disruptive. Help him find a workable substitute and gently remind him to try the alternative; in the meantime, finding a work area where his noises would be less disruptive to others, would be a short-term management.

    I would be asking the teacher to make a list of the behaviours they want to fix. Follow "Explosive Child" methods (I'm taking this from the earlier edition) where you sit down and make a list of what you want 'fixed'. You then have to 'cull' that list and only work on what can be maanged, and only a couple of things at a time. You have to ignore the rest of the things on the list, otherwise you'd be constantly correcting and criticising the child and NOTHING would get done.

    An analogy for the teacher - the problem behaviours are a herd of gazelle, the teacher is the lioness who needs to make a kill to feed her cubs. If the lioness charges at the entire herd, she is not going to catch anything, her cubs will go hungry. What she needs to do is to make a choice - which gazelle is going to be the easiest for her to bring down? Not only the most frail, perhaps the weakest, perhaps the one closest to her. Perhaps a combination of these. But she MUST make a choice and when she charges in, she must not take her eye off that target or allow herself to be distracted or swerved from her aim, or again she will miss.

    So for now, if the school want to consider this to be a behaviour issue - work with them. Make it clear that you must continue to be informed and involved, and also make it clear that they are NOT going to be able to work on everything. And it is possible that what the teacher chooses to work on, may be too difficult for him to change. It is the equivalent of the lioness choosing to attack the strongest buck in the gazelle herd, the one most likely to be able to defend itself and fight her off.

    For example, we would all love to put as a high priority, the apparent insolence you can get with these kids. Teacher asks child to stop writing in his maths book and put it away, then get out his English book. Kid says, "I'm not ready, in a minute." Teacher says, "No, NOW!" Kid says, "I said, IN A MINUTE! What part of this don't you understand?"
    This, believe it or not, is NOT primarily insolence; it is actually task-changing problems and anxiety, coupled with poor social skills. Three problems all together, one at least is diagnostic for Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). If a mere reprimand could fix this, then our kids would all lose the autism diagnosis instantly.

    I've watched difficult child 3's current teachers and how they handle this in him. They really are brilliant. Most of the time when difficult child 3 is reacting like this (or other kids; they get classes from the behaviour schools on study days as well) they ignore the outbursts and focus on getting though to the kid via whatever chink they can.
    Example - a science lesson, face-to-face with 20 kids. Most of these kids were from a behaviour school with varying issues and from what I could see, a lot of the problems were impulsivity, arrogance, rudeness and kids generally mucking up to show off. Behaviour like that, when I was a kid, would have had the kid sent out of the room to the principal's office. Kids calling out with rude remarks, being cheeky - this is NOT what you get as a rule with Aspies. The teacher was demonstrating a chemical reaction, the stuff in the test tube fizzedviolently and kids were all shouting, exclaiming loudly. The teacher used the enthusiasm and said, "Yes, this really is a strong reaction."
    Then when he did it again but with a different chemical and there was hardly any fizz at all, one boy said loudly (and rudely), "That's boring! I liked it better before."
    The teacher turned to that boy and said, "You're right - this is a very dull and boring reaction, hardly anything is happening. Can anyone tell me why?"

    Instead of distracting and derailing the entire lesson by chastising the student, the teacher took it and used it in a positive way. The student, who may have been trying to get attention, did NOT get the sort of attention from the other students he wanted. However, his contribution being turned into a positive, he was automatically engaged back into the lesson despite himself.

    And surely it is the aim of all teachers to engage all students?

    You say you want him (you think) in the Aspie program at the other school - I think that is well worth investigating.

    Changing the subject a little here - how does HE feel about his diagnosis? Or does he not yet understand? If he has been getting constant criticism over behaviour he can't control, he is likely to be feeling very negative about himself and his diagnosis. This is not good, because it's not something about himself that he can control. However, he is just coming into the age group where Sixth Sense program can be very helpful. I would suggest doing some digging on this, it could be a useful strategy if you DON'T move him.

    The meeting sounds like it was very positive. I hope things continue to be positive, but it will need your constant input and involvement, even with the best school staff in the world.

  15. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night


    You are a Godsend. Your words encourage me so well. I'm learning to be flexible in our schedule. Typically we would be at church right now. difficult child and I didn't get off to a good start. I wound up sending him to his room (this time for much longer than usual) and telling him he to gain control. For about an hour he threw stuff around, said mean stuff, and had what I guess is a meltdown.

    He came on his own and gave me a hug and told me he had calmed down. I'm guessing that this is progress. I'm learning as I go. He also apologized just as I was getting ready to tell him he needed to. On his own! But we are not going to church. I guess that will have to be ok this week. Now he is playing and fine.

    This aspie stuff is so challenging.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Yes, that is wonderful progress. What is more, you helped him regain control, by staying out of it. He will have recognised this and it is important for him to turn around from seeing you as the obstacle, always saying no and trying to make him conform, to you being the facilitator, the support and the helper.

    When your child is out of control, they need to have a relationship with you where they know your aim is to help them regain control.

    In our house, "Go to your room" rapidly became, "Take yourself somewhere as a refuge until you can regain control of yourself." It didn't work with difficult child 3 the way it did with the other ones. Sometimes we have to find other ways of managing. difficult child 3 will instead stand and argue, so there have been times when I have gone to MY room and said, "I need time out to get myself calm."

    difficult child 3 is also learning that sometimes when he desperately wants to talk about something, he can't just dump it on us if we are tired, or brain-fogged after a long day. He is finding this terribly frustrating, often he wants to talk to us about why we MUST buy the latest computer component, software package or game. Someone we were talking to, I think it might have been therapist, suggested that difficult child 3, instead of insisting on talking to us, writie it as a proposal. Because when he goes out into the workforce in IT (his ambition) he will have to submit written proposals for stuff he thinks work should be buying or doing.

    Putting it in writing is useful in so many ways -

    1) He learns new communication skills.

    2) He knows the need has been recorded so he is less likely to forget to follow-through on it.

    3) We can read it and see the entire argument spread out before us, without being hammered verbally with, "Can we buy it? Can we? Can we? huh?"

    A thought for you, and please don't panic - but keep an eye on your 15 year old. Where you have one Aspie or autistic in the family, the chances of others having Aspie traits is much higher. It's easy to miss, especially if your attention is occupied by a more troubled individual. In our case, difficult child 1 wasn't diagnosed until he was 14 even though we knew there was something very much out of place. And their sister still doens't have an Aspie diagnosis although increasingly, we're convinced. For her, however, having a label won't make any difference to her, she has adapted a fair bit and is already getting what support she would get WITH a diagnosis. Her diagnosis is ADD but frankly, the current main problems in her are the Aspie traits, not the ADD.

    Back to your son and not going to church - I think you need to identify what triggered the meltdown. There can be multiple reasons and the most obvious one may mask an underlying problem. For us, church was a problem for a long time for difficult child 3 because other kids there were teasing him. For difficult child 1 there were a few times where some adults at church (which for us is like one big family) stepped in to try to chastise him, without letting us know if there was a problem, and frankly did the wrong thing. difficult child 3's godmother used to go to this church and has recently told us of incidents she witnessed (and stepped in to stop) where an adult (who obviously thought the only problem with my boys was bad parenting) was trying to discipline difficult child 1 fairly roughly. Godmother made the man take his hands off difficult child 1 and put him down. That man is no longer at our church, he still lives nearby and is a VERY strict parent. Interestingly, his younger daughter was initially a bullying problem for difficult child 3 but later on became his champion at school, telling us if teachers were bullying difficult child 3.

    Church is like school in that you can't always see what is going on. But it is like family in that people there are not bound by their own behaviour rules and regulations. Teachers are themselves taught and educated. People t church are not necessarily, they are much more anarchic.

    So, strong recommendation - if you take him to church, you may need to makespecial provisions for him. He is likely to have more trouble understanding what is being taught at church (because it is far less concrete) and as a result, find it more boring. His resonse to boredom is likely to annoy others there (such as other kids, other adults who feel his behaviour is disrespectful and needs to be corrected (loving chastisement, or some such ridiculous euphemism).

    You can't request an IEP at church. As a result, we actually don't go to church very often and thankfully our current congregation mostly are very understanding about difficult child 3. We get the occasional ratbag as well as a lot of visitors who simply haven't the experience with him.

    There are ways to involve your son in church if you wish to - for example, at our church we use overhead projectors a lot, with pages that need to be changed (song sheets etc). difficult child 3 has helped out with using the overhead projector, because these pages have to be filed away carefully and meticulously. He is also musical. After church he often gets out the cricket set and finds someone to play cricket on the beach with him (the beach is right next to the church, one step down from the strip of lawn - it makes for easy baptisms!).

    I'm not trying to preach or anything here, just mentioning some practical issues to do with any community group meeting arrangement, whether it be for religious purposes or not. It is a risky situation to bring a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid into, unless you monitor it very closely and stand ready to take your child home if necessary.

    What we tend to do these days, especially now difficult child 3 is older - we let him stay at home if she chooses to. Sometimes he asks to come along and that is good. When he comes to church and finds himself 'tuning out' he has the option of going to sit in the back room (aka cry room, but there are no others in there these days, not often). The church service is piped in (can be) and if we need to, we can wander in and wander out to see if he's OK. He sits there and plays a board game or does a puzzle or plays with his Nintendo DS, then mingles with people afterwards. It's a good experience for him, to be able to join in when it's something he can follow, and to remove himself when he finds himself in danger of distracting other people.

    Also, there can be many other ways to "go to church". We have various TV shows we can watch, although we havwe learned to avoid the tubthumpers around Aspies, they are very impressionable and I want my kids to KNOW what they believe, not be told what they believe. If you get my drift.

    difficult child 3's understanding of spiritual things is still very basic, very concrete. He simply isn't able to really follow the degree of emotional complexity. And he reminds me of myself as a young child - we used to do Sunday School exams when I was a kid, and my knowledge of the scriptures was almost encyclopedic. But my understanding of anything abstract or of human nature - of course I knew nothing. As for what I beleived - I beleived what I was told. It wasn't until I was older and able to think for myself, that I was able to really begin to apply any understanding.

    That "understanding" stage is very much delayed in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), and this delay can lead to misunderstandings and sometimes criticism, from church family.

    I speak here of church, but from my understanding, I think this would apply across all religions where people gather together in the name of religion to share their spiritual beliefs together. Spirituality is very abstract, difficult for a very young child or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (or other difficult children) to comprehend. Understanding needs to be very concrete and despite the compassion and love so often preached, people can be very judgemental in the name of ANY religion. Because people is people, the whole world over.

    Temple Grandiin herself describes how she has to visualise "the power and the glory" as power lines, with a rainbow above. She showed us a photograph of this (a conference I attended, she was keynote speaker) and it made me realise how even with an adult autistic, understanding needs to be highly visual and very concrete. That is the starting point for abstraction.

    One final point - we need to forgive ourselves for when we've got it wrong and also forgive those adults in our child's life when they just don't 'get it'. THis gives those people a chance to learn. However, that doesn't mean we let people repeatedly hurt our child. I forget where I heard what is supposed to be an Arab proverb - "Forgive the man who steals from you, but lock up your camels."