Sep 24, 2009

Odd or Normal (Autism behaviors or child going nuts)?

Jacob (11) is one of the coolest kids on the planet.  He is sweet, kind, smart, funny, loving.  He is a (relatively) good communicator and an avid reader.  He can spout facts like a trivia book.  He has basically a photographic memory.  If he's read something - even a year later - he can cite the book.  If you challenge him on it, he can find the book, the page and the paragraph in 2 seconds flat.  And then you'll notice not only did he get it right, he did it in his own paraphrased words (showing comprehension not just rote memorization). 

Jacob has always been the kind of kid you can count on and TRUST.  For example, when he was 5 and at a preschool event, all the other kids crossed the small street to go to the playground.  He did not.  He was highly praised.  I was not surprised ... he is just like that. He is very, very rule oriented. You tell him to do something, he WILL do it.

Most of you know, he recently started going to public school .. after doing grades K-4 at home.  Long story why we did this ... let's just say it was time.  As a result, I'm noticing a few things.

He's no longer rule oriented.  He does what he wants.  He makes stuff up as he goes.  For example, I would ask where his math homework was and he would say, "I did it at school."  Well, I know the first few weeks are often review and I thought not much of it.  But eventually, I started getting suspicious.  Then last week, I got an email from the math teacher on the benefits of homework and how I should be doing a better job of helping him so he can master the concepts.  I was horrified and livid.  I kept my cool though and read it to him. 

"What's going on?"  Eventually, he is able to tell me that he felt the homework was too hard and too long so he just didn't want to do it.  So he didn't. He thought I wouldn't notice.  He thought his teacher wouldn't notice.  I showed him how a teacher's grading book works - she knows what homework she gave out and which ones came in.  She puts the scores in her book.  "Oh." 

I made him write a letter of apology to his teacher and what he was going to do to remedy the situation.  We've been working diligently on catching up.  (And he realized it really wasn't that hard or long.)

This is something that would have NEVER occured to me that he would do.  In homeschool, I give him the work and he does it right then and there.  Sometimes with my help.  Sometimes alone.  But when he is done he turns it in to me.  But now ... we have to rely on him to bring home his homework and take it back. So now his 2 teachers and I are on the same page, working together to help make sure I know what he is supposed to be doing. We still have to rely on him as the "transporter".  Like yesterday he said he only had one page of math, nothing in him math notebook so he didn't bring it home.  I do not know if this is true or not, so I wrote a note in his book asking. 

This isn't the only thing going on, just an example of it. 

So I guess I'm asking ... is this just "typical" boy of age 11?  Is this just a phase?  Is this just "him" testing the new boundaries? (never done that before)  Is it possible I'm seeing a ceiling to his capabilities?  Is this "typical" in autism spectrum?

And furthermore, suggestions for how to make sure we're on top of it? 


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