Friday, September 24, 2010

Disruption In The School Routine

After staying home two days because he was sick, our son returned to school this morning.

Disruption with the usual routine is frequently difficult for kids on the spectrum. That is no different with Kai. He had been doing pretty well at school the past two weeks, but today seemed to have more anxiety about going back. It will only be a half day of school today, so we are hoping that he will have a good, stress-free day to get back into the school routine.

Unfortunately, toward this, we hit a little speed bump this morning.

Kai takes a taxi to school. To those of you who are unfamiliar, it may sound odd for a young child to take a cab to school. I know it sounded strange to me at first. But, when you think of it, it is not that much different than taking a school bus; it is just smaller, makes fewer stops, and picks up less kids. Kai has been sharing his cab with three or four other kids.

For as long as he has been taking a cab to school, he always sits in the same seat: second row, passenger side. Today, the driver asked that he sit in the back row.

He was not happy.

Apparently, the school or cab company or someone has issued a new rule that says boys and girls cannot sit next to each other in the cab. So, in this cab, boys will have to be in the back row and girls in the second row. I’m not sure of the need for the switch, or the importance, but that was the reason given.

Typical kids can find out about such change and easily roll with the punches. For kids like Kai, it is more like a real punch, at least in terms of his anxiety. He really resisted. And, as the driver was stressing out about being late, she relented and let Kai have his usual seat. And that will probably just make it even harder to get him to change the next time.

It sounds strange to those who are not familiar with the characteristics of kids with autism, but even a seemingly minor change like this requires a lot of proactive planning. Ideally, the school would have notified Kai, and us, ahead of time that he would need to switch seats. We, at home, would also have spoken with him and prepared him. Perhaps a social story could have been created so that he could more easily understand and visualize how things would be different.

But, those things were not done.

So, the boy who was anxious about returning to school just became a bit more anxious. And, that makes Grouchy Dad stay grouchy for a while longer.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...