Thursday, November 6, 2008

Update From the Wolf Den: Master Blaster

Of the six levels of transition kids at CHYC can achieve, Master and Galaxy are the toughest. Up until now kids have been learning how to manage themselves and their social interactions; things that most of us adopted as part of our personal framework as we matured. Daily, and sometimes hourly, these basic structures of human nature; feelings, expressions, and nuances for every minute of time spent with other people are driven home with Wolf and his peers. Often there is resistance. After all, people with Asperger Syndrome would rather the rest of the world conform to their way of interacting and thinking, not the other way around. It is no wonder that the frustration and anger inherent to many kids with AS is the largest barrier to success. But it can be mastered.

Wolf's week has been quiet. Halloween was a variation in the daily routine for CHYC residents. Allowed to make their own costumes and attend the school's party, many of the kids had a tough time with this fun, yet different day, leading most of Wolf's unit to be in early. I am happy to say, however, that Wolf was at last not the instigator. While "having a hard time" as he said later on the phone, he was not the primary reason for the group's shut down. Whew.

It may be prudent to note here that any change in daily structure can be stressful to a child with AS. As enjoyable as things like vacation days, field trips, even a party might seem to you or I, it means a whole new situation for someone with Asperger Syndrome, something that needs to be navigated in a different way than the usual. And that, parents know, can be fatal to a situation's success, and a most exhausting experience all the way around.

Wolf's movement up the Level ladder (hopefully Friday) to Master finally indicates to all of us his investment in the program and himself, believing that he indeed is able to function regardless of the situation. Now the real work can begin; to keep it that way.

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