Need Advice ASAP! Aspie Kid and Huge Unexpected Change

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What should I suggest the parents do to ease the transition?
Go "cold turkey" - finish the week of nannying, then no more contact. 21%  21%  [ 3 ]
Have me take the boy to speech therapy once a week 7%  7%  [ 1 ]
Have me wean the kids off, co-caregivering alongside the mom for a few days 14%  14%  [ 2 ]
Both co-caregivering and speech therapy 57%  57%  [ 8 ]
Total votes : 14

BigSister
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30 Oct 2013, 7:50 pm

So I nanny a five year old Aspie. I've been with him five days a week, 4+ hours a day now for three months. His mother recently had some unexpected health problems, so she will now very likely be staying home with the children, rendering my job non-existent. If that's the case (as it is almost certainly), Friday will be my last day with them.

No one saw this coming, so I haven't been preparing him for this at all and he'll get this news for the first time tomorrow. I'm currently a pretty big person in his life, just by virtue of sheer time spent together (and I'm a hands on nanny, so I pretty much play and interact with him for four hours). He loves me and the time we spend together. (The feeling, btw, is mutual - my heart basically broke tonight when I got this news.)

I have two questions:

1. How can I help him transition these next two days?
I'm sure he's going to have a giant melt down when he gets the news (he also has an NT sister and I know she'll be upset, too - should I tell them at different times?), so I'll ride that out, but what can I do to make this less difficult for him? I have no idea what to do, so I couldn't put up poll options for this...please leave a reply with your thoughts.

2. What should I suggest for helping smooth the transition after Friday?
I was asking my mom who's a former kindergarten teacher, and she said that going cold turkey after Friday would be best, because he's young and will get over it in a few days. But I asked my sister, who's an Aspie and also knows the kids, and she said that he needs WAY more transition than that. (I would tend to agree with my sister, but please tell me if I'm wrong). She also said that the thing that helped her with transitions from her teachers when she was his age was knowing that she had the option of going back to see them whenever she liked. I'm kind of not sure how to incorporate that into helping this boy, though...

I was thinking that having me do a little bit of co-caregivering with the mother next week might help the transition. Day one, I pick him up and do three hours, but the mom is with us, too. Day two, the mom picks him up, and I do three hours. Day three, the mom picks him up and I meet him at home and I only do two hours. Day four, the mom picks him up and I meet him at home, and I only do one hour. And of course, day five would be straight the mom. I know, it's still not enough time, but I figure it's at least better than two days and would provide more warning (we would be warning of all of this the entire time).

I was also thinking it might help if I took the boy to his speech therapy once a week for however long I could manage it (I've lost my only job now, and with gas I'd be losing money on taking him). That way it's less like I dropped out of his life altogether. I'd do it for free, and I think the parents would consent to this (they don't like not paying me for things) because I'm a Communications Sciences and Disorders major and so this would be good for me to get exposure to the field, kind of like payment in of itself.

Or potentially a combination of the first and second ideas - the week of transitioning (I would be happy to do that for free if they'd allow me, or maybe I could convince them to do it only paying half price), and then telling the boy from then on when he asked that he could see me on X day when I took him to therapy. So it wouldn't be like I dropped out of his life completely. The little girl, I honestly don't know what to do to help her (maybe pen pals?), because I'm sure this arrangement would cause jealousy, which is problematic.

Anyways, now that you know the situation, please put an answer on the poll and/or reply. I could really use some help, because my heart goes out to this entire family, especially the little boy dealing with such a rapid change, and I want to make this as easy on him (and all of them) as possible. The faster the advice, the better, because the only days I have guaranteed for transitioning are tomorrow and the day after - anything else is only what I will be strongly suggesting they do.

Thanks!! !!


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Willard
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30 Oct 2013, 9:53 pm

BigSister wrote:
Or potentially a combination of the first and second ideas


I think your sister is right. ^As much of this as you can make work. ^

For a 5 year old, a month is an eternity, so tapering off over a period of weeks would probably make it less traumatic.

Of course, if Mom is staying home due to health issues, she may find that she still needs you to help out part-time. At least that would give you an excuse to come around from time to time.



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31 Oct 2013, 2:48 am

Definitely don't go cold turkey; you may make him feel like he did something wrong and you left because of him and/or don't like him anymore, not to mention that kind of wrenching change in routine can cause severe mental and emotional disruption. To give you an example, I felt uncomfortable and anxious when my typical day for visiting the library was changed from Mondays to Wednesdays... and I'm an adult. Imagine how he'll feel when he wakes up the next day you're supposed to see him and you're not there. If you can afford it, I'd try to continue taking him to speech therapy, and keep in contact with him if you can until it feels like he's ready to let go; give him a phone call a few times a week, or ask his mom if you can pick him up from school some days (if she's sick she may be grateful for the help). It's never easy saying goodbye, but you'll both manage it eventually, even if it takes some time.


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Schneekugel
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31 Oct 2013, 6:47 am

If he likes as well being with his mum, maybe he will not be in general disturbed by not seeing you by a certain time, but about "never seeing you again". I´d simply see for his reaction, when he gets explained, that he will now spent that time with his mom, instead of you, and then seek an solution according to his reaction.

If its more about the change of general dayplan activities, then doing a small change, can suit him. If he is more concerned about you "leaving him forever", things like telling him to visit him on his birthday might already be sufficient. (If his mum agrees, but in general I dont know much mom, that are not happy for a help a kids birthday. XD)



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31 Oct 2013, 7:19 am

Willard wrote:
BigSister wrote:
Or potentially a combination of the first and second ideas


I think your sister is right. ^As much of this as you can make work. ^

For a 5 year old, a month is an eternity, so tapering off over a period of weeks would probably make it less traumatic.

Of course, if Mom is staying home due to health issues, she may find that she still needs you to help out part-time. At least that would give you an excuse to come around from time to time.


Yes, do it like this.

Many, many years ago I was a nanny for a little boy of 3 and then 4 (was his nanny for over a year). His mother lost her job and there was this exact same situation. The tapering off strategy was a great success. We did it over a period of somewhat over a month.

As Willard says, the mother's health issues will mean that she is likely to need at least a little continuing help. One thing she will surely need is a babysitter for those times she has a medical appointment: doctor, physical therapist or whatnot.



spinningpixie
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31 Oct 2013, 8:37 am

some physical reminder may be helpful. like a transitional object. doesn't have to be anything expensive just something that he can hold and think of you. i worked with a child once that collected buisness cards and loved Egyptian mythology. i made a card for the child written in Egyptian heiroglyphs. it became part of her collection and helped with the transition.



BigSister
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31 Oct 2013, 9:58 am

spinningpixie:

Do you think a photo would work as the object? I have a photo of all three of us together. He doesn't really collect anything that I've noticed. Or maybe I could get stuffed animals? Okay, so maybe I can do both a stuffed animal and a photo. (See, that's what I love about forum posts - I figure things out as I type.)


Another question for everyone:

So previously I'd been wanting to make him a days of the week calendar. He'd been expressing a lot of difficulty with that (he doesn't know the days of the week at all nor terms like "yesterday" or "tomorrow" well), so I figured a chart expressing that for him might help. I was going to make pictures of his important people and activities on the days he does them, eg, picture of dad on the weekends, when he gets daddy time (dad gets home late at night on week days), doctor on Tuesdays, teacher Monday-Friday, etc. He has a lot of anxiety already about when he will or won't get to see people (his mommy/daddy, teacher, school friends, and me), so I figured that'd clear it up.

Do you think that will be helpful for him transitioning with me? Like I could put a picture of myself up on Tuesdays (his speech therapy day) that way he knew that there would be a day coming up when he could see me.


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31 Oct 2013, 11:57 am

Do not go cold turkey. Do not let him feel like you abandoned him. Abandonment turns into issues.

I like the speech therapy idea, plus being their on-call person for when she has doctors appointments and such because its going to happen and potentially a lot.



spinningpixie
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31 Oct 2013, 1:55 pm

[spinningpixie:

Do you think a photo would work as the object? I have a photo of all three of us together. He doesn't really collect anything that I've noticed. Or maybe I could get stuffed animals? Okay, so maybe I can do both a stuffed animal and a photo. (See, that's what I love about forum posts - I figure things out as I type.) ]


both sound great. it is very difficult for one of my kids (who's on the spectrum) to transition. we quickly learned that photos really help him. we make sure that he has photos of pets, favorite toys, projects, etc. it makes it easier for him when pets die, toys fall apart, etc.



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31 Oct 2013, 2:17 pm

It depends on the kid, whether or not to go cold turkey.

I had something similar as this when I was four, and in my case, it was best to go cold turkey, since I was usually unaffected by big changes, but my problems with change were with tiny deviations from something that I had to have a certain way.


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31 Oct 2013, 2:39 pm

BigSister wrote:
Of course, if Mom is staying home due to health issues, she may find that she still needs you to help out part-time. At least that would give you an excuse to come around from time to time.
This. If she can continue to employ you occasionally as someone to take care of the kids and give her some time off, then you could taper off slowly. This is called "respite care" and it is very, very useful for people who have kids with disabilities when the kids have needs that require more time and energy than a typical child's. It lets the parent get some time off, when usually they would have a lot of trouble finding a babysitter who could fulfill their child's special needs.

You might have to offer her a bit of a discount on this if you can afford to do so; if she'll be at home, her income may be going down. But it's probably better for everyone concerned if she still has a child-care person to depend on regularly--even if she's just calling you in so she can have a nice long nap.


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BigSister
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31 Oct 2013, 6:39 pm

Update!! !
Good news! So the mom is *maybe* going to be able to go back to work now. At the very least, this means a longer transition time (even if she does decide not to go back, that decision is unlikely to be made tomorrow). At the most, that means a way longer transition time - the grandma may or may not be taking over nannying next year, but that is at least 2 months away so I have way more time to work with now. Which is good, because I was really concerned about how I was going to pull this off smoothly so rapidly. Even if the grandma doesn't take over, I will have to leave eventually (the when depends on where I get into grad school and if they still want me), so all of this advice is fantastic for that and I will be super prepped when that time comes.

I super agree with you guys on the no cold turkey thing. It felt wrong to me, but I figured other people might know something I didn't and decided to check. (Those two of you that said cold turkey possibly, I completely agree with your points, it's just that this particular child has slightly different issues than you brought up.) It's nice to see my instincts were telling me the right thing.

btbnnyr:
He seems to have issues with people leaving him. Before I even leave him for the day, he's already telling me how much he's going to miss me. When I pick him up from school, he's telling me how much he's going to miss his teacher and his friends. His mom once told me he said his biggest wish was to have his mom, his teacher, and myself all together with him at the same time. Which almost certainly broke his mom's heart (and definitely broke mine) because it's not going to happen. So it's way more than routine for him - it's missing his precious people.

Callista:
I am more than happy to give a super deep discount - the family friend price. That's never been an issue. (If I didn't need money I would totally do this for free...but as a college student with tuition, I at least need to break even.) Whether or not the parents are willing to accept only paying me the discounted price (as opposed to full price), though, is up for debate.


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