Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"I am not in Kindergarten"

Extended School Year (ESY) started, which is a necessary in this household.  There is regression over the holiday breaks so as soon as the school year starts, ESY is requested. 

We don't call it school in the summer.  Instead we refer to ESY as camp...yay, camp!!  So, imagine the excitement when it was time for 'camp'.   He picked out his favorite Angry Bird shirt, gathered his backpack together and stood at the front door.

The bus was 35 minutes late to start.  After waiting for 15 minutes I called the school to make sure he was still on the route and was told, "first day, scheduling problems."  OK.  Waiting isn't my child's favorite thing to do.  When the bus came, he was so excited he ran to it, found a seat and waved to me with a big smile on his face.  What a relief.  It could've been different.  Way different.

When he came home he was mad.  Really mad.  He stormed into the house, threw his back pack and stomped into the other room.  Not good.  I followed to see what information I could get out of him.  I asked if he had fun.  He took his little hands, made two fists, and crinkled his nose.  I know that look.  He wasn't sharing any information anytime soon.  So I made him lunch.  Hot dog with ketchup, mustard and relish per request. 

Still no words when it was time to eat.  His BSC came for a while and when she asked him about camp, he threw pieces to a game and stomped his feet right out of the room.  She tried several times but there still was no answer.  Not that we expected a full explanation.  That's the difference with my child with autism compared to my NT child.  She will talk about everything in detail.  You have to piece together what he is saying or get information from his actions.  

He took a break by playing Sonic on Wii.  This seemed to calm him down but I still had to figure out how to help him.  You would think a note would've came home with him if he got in trouble but there wasn't anything.  I just wanted him to answer me.....what happened?

Around 3:30 I got what I was fishing for.  Why was he so upset?  I asked again.  What happened at camp?  Why are you mad?  He told me, "I am not in kindergarten."  There was my answer.  His buddies probably aren't there.  After all, he is going into the third grade and my guess is all of the kindergartners who are going into first grade are in ESY. 

The real test was to be the next day.  Would be voluntarily go on the bus or did he really dislike it so much that he would refuse?

Turns out he did get on this morning but let it be known....he is not in kindergarten.  He wants to be shown respect.  Nursery rhymes don't cut it with him anymore.  Just because he looks at things differently doesn't mean it is OK to belittle him.  He may not be able to read like we do but he has the ability to figure out very difficult computer games that blow people away.  He is smart.  Smarter than people think.  When you are with a child with autism, please keep that in mind.  Talk to them like you would any other child.  They may not look at you but they are still listening to every word you say.  Show them respect.  My son may be in an autistic support classroom but I talk to him like he is a third grader.  A typical third grader. 


  1. Looks and sounds like we have very similar kids living in our homes. James is all about straight talk. If he feels that he has been tricked in any way, he let us know the same way your little man let you know but he punctuates it with firing us as his parents or more likely, sister. James is also going into the third grade. He is in a typical class with pull outs for speech and psychological support. He is stating to realize that he is different from the other kids which is challenging.

    I hope your little man has fun at "camp". I am having James work on math, language arts, writing and reading everyday so he won't lose his 2nd grade skills and will get a jump start on 3rd grade ones. Ah, summer.......... it used to be so relaxing!!!

    1. Used to be...exactly! We will be pushing for my son to be in full inclusion this new school year. It's tough when they realize they are a bit different. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. our ESY starts Monday and we call it camp as well. I wonder how it will go for us? Our guy is in the inclusion room so almost 1/2 the kids are special needs and he does know he has autism.
    i hope your little guy settles into routine and loves it in the end

    1. Hi Annemarie. Please let us know how your ESY goes. I'd love to hear about it. Does your son ask about his autism? My son isn't to that point yet.

  3. ABSOLUTELY!!! It's all about respect.

  4. So true!! And when you think they're not listening, they really are. :) Sometimes TY will repeat whole conversations later on and I'm left shrugging my shoulders.