Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Conferences

It's conference time for me, which means I'm way tired after several 12 hour days and I'm also apprehensive awaiting my sons' conferences. This year the apprehension was compounded because my husband is away on business and the conferences were attended my moi alone.

Good news: my older boy is succeeding academically and behaving less disruptively than in the past (except for trying to parent the class: "Stop talking everyone!").

Not so good news: Dominic is succeeding academically but struggling with his behavior. Socially, he's having trouble, especially at the playground, which is unstructured, doubly hard due to his autism. This was so hard to listen to; my throat clenched up the whole conference, which ultimately lasted 45 minutes. I still cry thinking about it. I knew he was having trouble, but God knows I have nothing to offer the teachers. He doesn't know how to act. He's been more oppositional. I don't know what will help. Parents of autistic children would pay me millions if I had answers. I don't.

I did share some strategies we try at home to deal with unstructured time, which mostly involves minor role play--what will you do, why, what will you not do, etc. It helps at home, and the teachers and staff said it was helpful. I hope it is.

I can't tell you how gut wrenching it is to hear about the social difficulties of my son with autism. It is so hard. It was helpful to hear about other neurotypical students having trouble at school, and it helped to hear that other neurotypical students didn't know how to play either, but hearing about his social struggles still hurts.

We're hoping a meds change for his ADHD will help with the oppositional behavior, which became more pronounced when we switched to these meds last spring.

Since he may not hear these words as often at school, I celebrate my son's gifts at home. He's very creative and enthusiastic in his play. Here's a layout I did to celebrate using the color scheme from the Color Room:

10 comments:

Lee Currie said...

Your little guy is so fortunate to have you as not just his mum but his advocate. Good for you to celebrate the good while recognizing the stuff you have to work on :) Hope the meds change goes smoothly.

scrapdoc said...

Sorry to hear about continued struggles. Very glad to see you celebrating his amazing qualities. There may be med options other than for ADHD if you continue to have behavior issues. Let me know if you have questions. ((HUGS))

Tessa Buys said...

I have so much admiration for parents like you. I love that you are celebrating your son in this layout, which is a beautiful page. Thank you for sharing.

Monika Wright said...

I firmly believe in praising our children. I know that some think that all good doesn't prepare them for the bad, but sometimes a person just needs to hear they're doing a good job. That said, we do have expectations and they know that. I think you're doing a marvelous job of remaining calm as you try to find the best path and best meds to make everyone's days better!

Keshet said...

That must be so hard, Jennifer:( You are a great mama doing a great job! Thinking of you!

alisonm said...

{hugs}, I offer you no advice that will make your son's life easier in school; remember that he has no better cheerleader than you and he will need you to be his advocate. Your tears are for the struggle he faces and as his mother the tears will be many. But, the joys will be plentiful and the the happiness he brings will make all the fears easier to handle. He needs your strength, thank goodness you are an incredibly strong woman!

Diana said...

Oh Jennifer my heart goes out to you. I don't know what else to say friend. I'm sad for you.
It's wonderful that you can scrap some of this out of your system though, it really is. {big hug}

BabyBokChoy said...

Saw this at work and of course can't comment there, I recgonized that color palette from a mile away, that's how good you are with interpreting those palettes.

About your DS, I don't know what to say except that you have my admiration and warm thoughts, it's not tough dealing with kids of any kind, let alone with Autism. Hang in there!! XXOO.

Jen_Jake'smom said...

I totally understand about the unstructured playtime. My son told me in Kindergarten: "mom, I don't know what to do during free time. Mostly I just walk around." And yet he's at least 3 years ahead of his peers in math skills!

I have made sure Jake's teachers can recognize his triggers (i.e. when he is distressed) and encouraged them to redirect him before issues arise . . . but I know it's so hard.

Donna Jannuzzi said...

Jennifer, I can offer no advice, but I will pray for you and for your son. Specifically praying that the medication switch will bring about the changes you are hoping for. Like many have said above, you're a great mom. And maybe this sounds too sentimental, but your love and support are more important than always having the right answers.