Community Magazine

Making A List, Checking It Twice!

By Thibben @aspieadventures
Making A List, Checking It Twice!   We make a lot of lists in our house. There is a list for getting ready for school, a list for taking a bath, a list for getting in the car.  It really helps Jayden to be able to come back to a point of reference to remember what comes next. Now, I'm not saying he stays on it, you still have to give that constant 'Jayden, how is that going man?' or 'Are you done, what step are you on?' but it's better than doing it for him and its better than sitting next to him giving him the step by step run down as he goes. If there is anything I have learned from having a kid with autism it's that you start to look for ways to improve the problem your having, not fix it. I would love for him to head out the door, open the car door, buckle up, & maybe help his brother buckle. I could stroll out the door all relaxed and sit down in the driver seat without making a stop at the back seat first! The reality is that's isn't going to happen any time soon BUT if I can get him to check his list or read a little note we have left in a spot that reminds him what to do and if it is a difference between doing it for him or standing with him giving him the play by play and letting him read notes or lists & just adding a 'Stay on your list bud' or 'What should you do next?' Then I will take the later every time. I'm not looking to free up hours from the day just 5 minutes here and there because that's easier on me, him, & the time adds up. 
   Now that we do the lists on a regular basis it bleeds over into other aspects of life. My wife, Samantha, makes a list every morning for herself and sometimes for me of things she wants to get done that day. It's probably a combination of not forgetting all the things that need to be done and the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with marking tasks off the list. (try it, it feels like you are really getting things knocked out when you mark them out!)
   Jayden came to me with the list you see, 'Daddy, you know how Rosie's not supposed to get on the couch? Well, I laid out a couple of other rules for the dog.'
  • NO Barking in house
  • NO Poop & Pee in house (He says that picture is the dogs but with an arrow to the poop!)
  • NO Biting all the time
  • NO Chewing on stuff
  • NO Getting on couch
  • NO Getting on desk
  • NO Shred Drawings (The dog looks scared for some reason in this one)
  • NO Eating LEGOS (This one kinda looks like a cat to me)
   I'm at work at the ambulance station for today & tomorrow but when I get home he has let me know that he will have a rule sheet for the rest of the family ready to go over with me. Should be interesting! Thanks for reading!
Making A List, Checking It Twice!   On a side note, I'm curious if anyone else has this problem. Jayden constantly wants to play games, acting out games, card games, video games, whatever. When you play with him he gets really upset if he doesn't feel you are playing right. Example: We got Tetris Party for the Wii (It's become a sick addiction for Samantha & I after the kids go to bed! I can't stop playing it!) He isn't to bad at it & even taught us how to play with the bonus items because we had no idea what they did or how to use them but he just somehow figured it out. (Way to make dad feel like a goon son!) If my wife & I are playing each other or one of the other kids, Jayden likes to watch and wait his turn. If one of us get a bonus item to use against our opponent but we don't use it or in his opinion take to long to use it he gets upset!
   Not a big deal mind you, he is totally cool waiting his turn or when it's time to turn it off he doesn't get bent out of shape. Also when I say he gets mad, he doesn't have meltdowns or really throw many fits. He internalizes most everything which is just as bad in my eyes because while I can usually tell if something is up with him every once in a while we will be talking just the two of us and he will say something like 'remember last week when you did _________, it really embarrassed me' or something like that.
   We found out from his teacher at the IEP meeting at the end of the school year that he had an accident in his pants at school. She said he was very embarrassed but after we brought him some new cloths and he changed it wasn't a big deal, the other kids in his class were very cool about it. The only problem is, WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT! No one ever called us, we didn't bring him new cloths! I talked to him & he told me he was embarrassed & a teacher gave him some new pants that day, the other pants were in a sack in his locker. He was okay & we talked about it, how he can tell us stuff like that and we will just keep it between us and even whisper it if he wants so there is no embarrassment but that's the kind of thing Jayden does, 90% is internalized. Anyone have issues like these or are we freaks & geeks here?

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