Um… where did First Grade go?

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and there are only four days of school left this year.  WHAT?!? I did an awful job of blogging Bryce’s first year in a mainstream class!  I blame Facebook.  Most of my “important” updates come in the form of a status.  And I blame Charlie.  I DID give birth to our third boy just days before the school year began, and he’s a handful! (I’m not sure what I’ll be able to blame next year)  Hopefully I’ll get some posting done this summer and get in the habit of recording events in Bryce’s life.

There has been so much improvement in Bryce’s social and emotional abilities this year.  I really believe he has “found his voice.”  There are fewer awkward silences as he tries to think of what to say or how to answer a question.  He’s finally realized that language is for communication.  As I look back over the last few years, I realize that he has stopped most of his obsessive behaviors.  There are still a few (see: socks) but his behavior in general is more typical.

One side effect of having more control of his speech is that he is now less “compliant” about things he doesn’t really want to do.  Normally, I would see this as a discipline issue, but with Bryce, it’s just about him realizing he has a say in his life.  He just needs to learn the proper way to express his displeasure with something.  Autistic kids are often bullied because they don’t know how to stand up for themselves and say what they want or don’t want to do.  I would actually use the word manipulated, more than bullied.  But now, Bryce has figured out he can disagree with others and express his own opinions and desires.

Case in point: At the time, I’m sure this was very troubling for him, and I did feel sorry that he had to go through this, but now, it just cracks me up!!! Every day, the kids in his class write in their journals.  They usually have options of what to write about, but on this day they were learning about writing letters, so the teacher wanted them to write a letter to someone in their journal.  Then came the perfect storm.  1. Mrs. Linda, Bryce’s therapist and full-time aide, told Bryce to work in his phonics workbook first, and then work on the journal. (this was out of the normal order of things)  2.  He was told to write a letter, not to choose a subject to write about. (another deviation from routine)  3.  The date, which is normally written in the top right corner of the journal, had to be written down near the body of the letter, in proper form (three changes=too much!)

Bryce spoke in an angry manner to Mrs. Linda and tried to grab his journal from her.  She then proceeded to tell him that you may NOT act that way or speak that way in class.  Of course, he then began to fall apart.   Since he was having a hard time, she took him out of class so he wouldn’t be embarrassed or become a distraction.  When they got to a private room, he was able to tell her what was bothering him, and she worked with him about speaking his displeasure properly.  When he explained that he needed to do the journal first, she let him do that, but still insisted that he write the date where his teacher told him to.  He settled down and completed his assignment.  Here is what he wrote, without any prompting whatsoever:

                                                                                                                                       March 22, 2012

Dear Henry,
     I am upset about writing a letter.  Mrs. Linda is making me write the date in the wrong spot and it make me cry.

                   Your brother,

I just got the journal yesterday in his school stuff, and when I came across the entry, I laughed out loud! I could just hear the irritation in his voice and the under the breath grumbling!  I know, I know, that isn’t something to normally be proud of, but Bryce isn’t normal! We’ll work on attitude next :)