Last week I took time off work for the meeting with the after school staff to discuss behavior supports. Connor has been attending a social skills playgroup weekly, and his group behaviorist agreed to attend the meeting to pass on her wealth of knowledge on behavior supports.
The meeting went fairly well, and we discussed a number of ways to help Connor succeed in the after school setting:
- Using first/then language; first you must wash your hands, then you can have snack.
- Giving him a picture schedule to remind him of each different activity (snack, restroom, gym time, outdoor time). He can earn a “ticket” for each session where he has good behavior. He can turn in his tickets for a prize from the treasure box (provided by me) at the end of his day.
- Giving him a job, such as line leader. Being in charge gives him a boost.
- Making sure his staff person spends a few minutes pairing (bonding) with him. He needs to know he has a connection with you.
- Using language to help Connor understand how his behavior affects others; “When you don’t listen and you walk away from me, it hurts my feelings and makes me feel really bad.”
- His special ed teacher will help each day with the transition from class to after school time.
- I will be changing my hours at work to 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. By the time I pick up, he will only have been there an hour, and less time equals less behavior. Daddy will have to take him to school each morning.
The autism coordinator for the Pflugerville school district is also involved, and has been helpful. So far, it has been an encouraging school year, and I hope that things continue on this track. They seem to be hearing me when I say that failure is not an option. And it’s not. If my son fails, that means that we all, collectively, failed him. With parent/school/teacher/behaviorist support, there is no acceptable reason for Connor to not succeed. Excuses will not be tolerated.
Last week went a bit better. This will be the first week with me on the new schedule, which I absolutely despise, but will do it because it’s for my son. Now we need to start thinking about what to do during the two-week winter break, and other various school “off” days. I’ve had to take so much time for his various appointments, and suspension days from summer camp, that I don’t have many days left to take off. I’m hoping the autism coordinator can help us come up with some solutions.
And despite my reluctance, I attended the first PTO (formerly PTA) meeting, and volunteered for three activities. I figure I better start networking my butt off, and making nice with other parents. This is where resources come from, and we sure do need some resources.
It’s going to be a busy, busy year.