Jake has finally gotten used to our new school routine. Once he understands what times we need to do things in the mornings he is pretty compliant; responding to my directions. It always takes us close to a month to get into the swing of things. And as per usual, he has gotten comfortable with his class and teacher which means behaviors start to rear their ugly head. Fortunately, Jake’s awesome staff took care of things swiftly. I talk about Jake’s school often but I cannot help it; it truly is the best school for Jake.
About a week ago Jake decided it would be funny to act up in the lunch room. Jake goes to lunch with his class without his aide. Jake loves lunchtime because he is able to sit with his peers, talk and be silly. Jake likes to make people laugh! If he gets a good laugh he will continue doing whatever it is he is doing for the laughter to continue. On this particular day, Jake decided to take his shirt off and I’m pretty sure, had the lunch room attendants not seen him, he would have been buck naked had he not been stopped. UGH!! Jake’s teacher called to tell me about this incident and I was somewhat mortified. I mean, he has never taken his clothes off in public before so I couldn’t imagine why he would do it now at 7 years old. This is one of the tricky things about autism, expect the unexpected! Later that evening John and I asked Jake why he did this and his response was “it made people laugh”. He wasn’t smiling, he knew he was in trouble and he knew this was not appropriate. I asked him where is the only place you should take your clothes off and he immediately said “at home and nowhere else!” The same day Jake was defiant and rude to his teacher and aide. He was out of sorts to begin with and when encouraged to go to the sensory gym, he refused. This was a stellar day; NOT!
Jake’s teacher called me and had already spoken to his resource teacher. His resource teacher, Mrs. O., created some social stories and also set up a scheduled sensory break for him. Jake didn’t want to leave his class, he loves it so much and the thought of being pulled out for something that the other kids aren’t doing upsets him. We all reassured him that he wouldn’t miss out on anything and he would feel much better after going to the sensory gym. Like everything else, it took a couple of days but he loves it! He told me the other day, “I feel good after I jump on the trampoline with Mrs. L.!” I am sure Mrs. L. (his aide) and his teacher love working with him even more after he has some time to take this much needed break.
Accommodations are necessary for Jake. He does have autism. He does have developmental delay; although he is 7 1/2, he acts like a 5-year-old a lot of the time. He does have sensory processing disorder. With that being said, I don’t like unnecessary accommodations. I want Jake to be treated like all the other children and given the same rules and the same consequences. Just because he is autistic doesn’t give him a free “get out of jail” card. The thing I appreciate most about Jake’s school is that they hear me, understand and work with me and Jake the best they can to meet his needs while pushing him to excel. If I asked for special accommodations for everything Jake wouldn’t learn as quickly, he would learn that because of his autism he can get away with things that others can’t. And at the end of the day we all would be setting him up to fail. Some may say it isn’t fair that Jake receives accommodations. But what is fair? It is giving each and every child what they need so they all succeed. What Jake needs isn’t at all what Allie or the boys needed at this age and vice versa.
My hope for Jake is that he will continue to learn and grow. He will make mistakes and have consequences so that those mistakes won’t be repeated. Let’s hope Jake has learned that clothes only come off at home and not at school!! 🙂
Tomorrow we have our annual IEP meeting for Jake; it should go smoothly. Praying it does!