The battle for communication from the time DC was in the Birth to 3 Program has been a never-ending battle fought, for the most part, uphill.
When he was younger I asked – begged, someone – anyone; his teacher, his IA, anyone, to write at least one thing that he did that day that was specific to that day. I explained that I wanted him to understand the question “What did you do today” and to be able to have some sort of conversation whether it be in sign language (when he was young) or in just a few words (when he moved past sign and started using a small words). I just wanted him to understand the question and give me some sort of response.
If I couldn’t get a response, at least I could list a few things I KNEW that he did, hoping that this would get the point of “today” in his mind. If I listed things that I thought he may have done and he answered “yes” and then turned out he didn’t do those things, we were missing the point of learning to respond to “what did you do today”. He will give random answers, or answers that he gave before, even if they are not correct. So I needed to KNOW.
“Fine Day overall” – my all-time favorite, was not what I had in mind.
Now he’s in a day/work program. It took a long time to find this program (which was the blog I was going to write today). He works in their on-site Greenhouse which is open to the public. Communication is a little better about what he did that day, but other notes can be a little odd at times.
Judging from some of the notes I’ve received I really don’t think they understand him or the way his mind works.
“DC refused to do a job that was assigned to him today”.
Now…… I am not one of those “Not MY Child” or “My child would never do that”, I know what he would or wouldn’t do and my child would not do that! Upon further investigation I discovered that they were phrasing their assignment, for example; “DC do you want to empty the garbage?” Of course he is going to say “No”! Who wants to empty the garbage if given a choice? Phrasing it as a question is giving him a choice in his mind. He’s not refusing, he’s answering a question.
I’m not going to get into all of the notes, but it’s clear to me that they don’t understand Autism, which I find odd in a program for special needs adults.
Note from yesterday:
“DC, when given some directions – a job I guess he did not want to do, banged his hand on the water barrel.”
It’s difficult enough to talk to him about something after the fact, never mind without specifics.
What was the Job? Were there too many directions?
He can follow directions but it has to be a step or two at a time, otherwise he overloads, shuts down and won’t hear any of it. Something they should know at this point.
“DC has been using up paper towels at work. I told him it’s a rule – One Towel only when you wash your hands. I made a sign that says “Rule – One Towel” for him. If you have a suggestion, let me know”
(This about a kid who more times than not dries his hands on his pants)
I went to have lunch with DC hoping to speak with her, but she was not there.
After lunch DC had to use the rest room and I waited (1/4 of my life is spent waiting outside the Men’s Room :). He came out, went to the sink, washed his hands, took one paper towel and threw it away.
And then there was this:
As I was leaving, the assistant said “DC do you want to work in the garden with the boys?” – and DC said “no”……….. – (heavy sigh)
And how was your day?
The sign with his name on it and the question (again) instead of a directive were both addressed …. but we won’t get into that.