Wednesday, September 14, 2011

social graces

Moose has been having a difficult time this year with following directions. His teacher says she can tell he's testing the waters, seeing how far he can go. I've noticed it here, too, at home. I know this is an important developmental milestone that all kids reach (usually much sooner than 4-years-old, too).

It's also a frustrating milestone. I dislike hearing that Moose tells his teachers, "no, I don't want to follow directions." He does well sometimes and he knows the answer to the question, "are you going to follow directions today?" That doesn't mean he will, unfortunately. That being said, on good following directions days, I am elated! I'm elated that he loves his teachers so much (which he does regardless of how he acts - same with how he loves me regardless of how he acts).

I've written a social story for him about following directions. He loves social stories. He does even understand the ones I've written. Apparently it's just hard to follow them. I know every kid doesn't follow directions at one point or another. I know he'll (probably) grow out of this. That doesn't make it less frustrating.

And more frustratingly, is when I hear of him squeezing classmates. Hitting friends at the park. Growling at friends. Yelling at friends. We try to explain to him that he can't do those things or he won't have friends (which I don't think he cares about just yet...but he will). He knows he's supposed to love them (love on them, like hug them). That doesn't mean he does. Especially when they frustrate him (or annoy him). I've also been trying to teach him to tell me or his teachers "I'm frustrated" when he is, that way we can help him NOT squeeze other kids.

*heavy sigh* Sometimes on this journey it's hard because I don't know how his mind works. When you ask him a question and he doesn't answer, I don't know if he doesn't understand or is ignoring you or didn't hear you. I wish I knew what he was thinking; I wish he could answer my questions (although he is improving in that area - yahoo!).

It's hard to see the future normally...but even more when autism gets in the way. What's he going to be like? Will he have friends, a girlfriend? Will he play sports, music? Unfortunately, I have those same questions about Squirt. But those answers are honestly more readily available. If Squirt is a "normal" kid, those answers will most likely be "normal" ones. This is one of those days where I wish I could see what the other side of the tunnel looks like.

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