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twinadoes3
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07 Dec 2010, 10:50 am

First of all, I'm new to the boards and I apologize for jumping in like this without properly introducing myself! I'm a mom to 3 boys and the oldest (9) has Asperger's.
I'm in the middle of an email conversation with my sons teacher and need your suggestions! I'm trying to explain and give his teacher suggestions to help my son cope better in school. His impulsive nature causes him to say/blur/yell things/answers in class instead of raising his hand sometimes, for example.
I was going to suggest to the teacher to make a index card or something with the class rules written down and taped to his desk, for the visual reminder. If he then brakes a rule, the teacher could point out something like: "Nick, rule #3, you didn't raise your hand and I need to mark your folder". I think it would be very helpful to him when he actually sees the rules all the time in front of him.
Another thing I was going to suggest is, to speak to the class when Nick is not around and explain to them a little about Nick's "differences". Kids that age just do not understand and we recently had a couple of classmates make fun of Nick's different behaviour. I have been dreading this point of the journey, when others start noticing that he's different. 9 and 10 yr olds (specially boys) are in a crazy age and the last thing that most have in their vocabulary is sympathy.

My question(s) is; how do I go about suggesting those things? (one problem for me is putting it all in words, I'm from Germany living in the US and I have trouble putting it all in words and sound decent). What else should I suggest to the teacher to help Nick deal and cope better? I want him to have as many tools to deal/cope with "teasing" and "rules" as possible.
My concern is not the students who make an occasional joke but Nick not having the coping skills and I am not sure what to do. He's going to meet ignorant people everywhere, I can't shelter him all his life, neither can he go through life excusing his behaviour with Asperger. I want him to learn do deal with those things.
I'm sorry I'm winded up, I really need help writing the teacher and I'm not having much luck right now! Sorry again for just popping in here like that! Thanks so much in advance!



ediself
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07 Dec 2010, 11:41 am

oh no. before i answer anything else in your post i will strongly advise you not to talk to his classmates behind his back to explain to them that his brain works differently. they are 9 years old. they WILL use it against him, and it is a huge betrayal. sorry to be blunt. the children that "make an occasional joke"as you put it are probably bullies that make his life hell. i could be wrong about this, but i have a good chance of being right . don't provide them material to hurt him on a deeper level.
the index card thing is a good idea, it might be very hard for him to resist screaming when the teacher sees his raised hand and asks someone else the answer though ( speaking from personal experience here lol) if he has the answer, he wants it out. what you could do is explain to him that the other kids feel the same way too, they sometimes want to be right, and it would be a really nice thing to let them have that feeling, like a gift. Tell him in passing that he is smart and the teacher already knows it. he now needs to know if the other kids know the answers, and that's what the questions are for. if he knows you know, chances are he will ask someone else, so feel flattered. ( that worked with me, but i was 13 when my mother told me that. the earlier the better!)
you could tell the teacher about your son's diagnosis, in private, and your son needs to agree to it. explain it mainly for protection , because the bullying is just getting started. My son is 9 too, and it's getting worse. the teacher needs to know to keep an eye out , because once they figure out how to trigger him, they will go all out. If you're going to talk to a child, i think the best you can say is: do this again and i'm going to have a serious talk with your mother. but don't give them weapons against your son, they are too old for compassion, too young for empathy. dangerous age.



Last edited by ediself on 07 Dec 2010, 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wavefreak58
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07 Dec 2010, 11:54 am

My first reaction to your thoughts is YIKES! Don't do it this way. Having the teacher point out rule violations in real time would place him in a very uncomfortable position and the other students would use that as ammunition to tease him. And there is very likely a bully that would love to use it against him.

Same goes for informing the entire class. That's a recipe for disaster, IMHO.


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ediself
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07 Dec 2010, 11:59 am

huh yes after reading wavefreak58's answer, i revise my position on the card thing. i had not realised the whole class would be there watching, so, i take it back : bad idea. everything that might single him out is a bad idea.
oh and your last paragraph? i think you need to take a little bit more time to think about this. you need to help him because right now, he doesn't have the skills you are talking about. It's your job to be his shield while he learns , and there will always be bullies, and he will always struggle with it, but he needs to know that he will also always have his mother on his side. Kids can go far. the worst part of his life will be his school life, because yes, there will always be ignorant people who will try to push his buttons, but those people at age 30 will respect the law. and also know some boundaries. nobody in your office would get up and try to strangle you while your supervisor is not watching, and if they do you can always call the police. for your son, you are the police. and yes, a 9 y old child is capable of horrible things that no grown up will dream of doing to another human being.
so you need to protect him until his peers reach HIS level, he is not behind, he is advanced in the notions of what is tolerable and what isn't.



twinadoes3
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07 Dec 2010, 1:50 pm

Thank you!
The teacher knows he has aspergers and we have a pretty good communication. She said she had talked to the couple of boys who made inappropriate remarks so I'm hoping they are put in their place for now. Most of the other kids know and are used to Nick and accepted him the way he is. He's in 4th grade and has been in that school since Kindergarten.
I didn't mean to sound as if I wasn't going to be his shield. I'm his only and most important advocate and will do everything to protect my precious child. But I also know that it is up to me to teach him and give him the tools to my best ability.
He needs a visual reminder for the class rules, he is doing very well most of the time, but I really think it would help him some to remember. If not the index card maybe I could ask the teacher if she has class rules posted in the room for all the kids.
I need suggestions to give to the teacher that would be helpful to Nicholas in case of teasing or having a hard time following rules. Thanks so much for your responses, reading it does put it in a different perspective. The last thing I would want to happen is give bullies ammunition.

Did I mention I've been dreading this age and time? :roll:



ediself
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07 Dec 2010, 2:10 pm

oh, now you made me feel bad :D i'm sorry for jumping on you, i forgot to take the sentences "I can't shelter him all his life, neither can he go through life excusing his behaviour with Asperger. I want him to learn do deal with those things" with a grain of salt, and that you are more or less forced to use them in society if you don't want to trigger other people saying them to you ( "he will need to learn to deal with it") i apologise for thinking you didn't care or refused to see reality.
indeed class rules would be good, he can't possibly be the only kid forgetting to raise his hand! a board the teacher could point at. in case of teasing, his best bet would be to go tell the teacher, but she has to be aware of the fact that he won't be able to explain "why"it was annoying him. he can say "he is calling me Nick" for instance, and not be able to explain that they had all agreed previously that "nick"now had a new meaning, "insert insulting word here", and that they indeed are teasing him using only his own name in order to avoid punishment. just lay it out for her as you would to someone who has never heard of asperger. make a list, of all his difficulties, and make sure she understands he is doing none of these on purpose. My son's teacher used to say he was really whiney, but when she started noticing blood a bit too frequently she finally understood.
she just has to be the local police. i have no better suggestion than that one. he can do nothing against it, except be as friendly and non threatening as possible, but you are probably giving him tips on how to achieve that i suppose, so now the adult's job is really to make sure there is no physical violence happening, and as little psychological damage as possible.



wavefreak58
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07 Dec 2010, 2:19 pm

I can't fault your effort. Since my initial response was to partial information, it may not be accurate. Whatever strategy you employ, I would think that anything that focuses the entire class's attention on him might lead to a great deal of stress and perhaps a meltdown. Or worse, he might see it as a great way to get attention. I doubt the latter, since when I was his age I HATED being the focus of attention.


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The road to my hell is paved with your good intentions.