Today is the beginning of the Knox County School’s Fall Break and other daycares, preschools, etc that aren’t associated with the County also follow the County’s School Schedule. So, there was a slight confusion this morning we Our Reliable and Resourceful Au Pair asked me, “Does The Younger have school (his Mother’s Day Out at a local Church) today?” It was clear (on the calendar and well announced to the kids) that there was no school for The Elder’s Kindergarten, but there wasn’t any indication (other than knowing that everything follows the school calendar) that others would share the same fall break.
Au Pair: Does The Younger have school today?
The Elder: (Very Eagerly and loudly) OOH OOH, I know Daddy! I Know the answer!
I bend down to his level and ask, “What is it?”
The Elder: (Matter of factly and softly) No.
It was very funny to see him so animated and excited to share the information and then he proceed to “robot mode” to tell it to me. Not, “No! And we are going to play all day” or “No! The Younger doesn’t have school, just like me.” Just, “No.”
So that got me thinking about routines and schedules and changes. As everyone who has been in an U.S. school system knows, there are TONS of breaks and days off that are built into the school calendar, but the never seem like enough.
Seeing that ALL kids need structure, they need routine. It is so much easier to parent when there is routine, because everyone knows what to expect. Kids, like to know where the boundaries are, so they know what their limits are and they know when they are testing them (because THEY know!). And it’s much easier to parent when there is a routine established. OKay, so I established that routine is a good thing.
So what do Aspergians Kids do when there is a break in routine? They panic a little more, they worry a little more and it might be a trigger of some other (probably unwanted) behavior later on that is unrelated to what is actually happening at the time.
It’s not that Aspergian Kids are that much different when it comes to a break in routine. They do like to try new things or experience new places (sometimes) but they would prefer to be in their routine with their special interest. The AS kid is more like a big ship… they just needs more time to change course.
So, this past week The Elder had a substitute teacher last week prior to this week’s Fall Break. So that may have helped with breaking the whole “going to school everyday” routine since his “school” was already in a state of flux. We found it hilarious the comments that the Substitute left on his daily evaluation sheet… “needs to listen on first command” (in big red ink)
and we are like “Helllllllloooooo, do you know he is autistic? Have you read his IEP and he suppose to learn that by the end of the year?” It’s not a crack on the Sub, since they don’t know that he isn’t NT, but it’s just funny (now) to understand how The Elder’s mind works (and his motive for his actions) in relation to his peers.
My kids are also thrive on routine – I find we all do in fact – without a marathon plan I’m falling apart at the moment! Time to set myself some goals and make some plans..
I like the big ship analogy. Sounds spot on!