Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Update From the Wolf Den: Making a Connection

Students at CHYC are allowed to call home a few nights a week, depending upon their status on the ladder of progress. They can always receive calls from family, but the privilege of picking up the phone and ringing home is reserved for those who have at least made the barest of effort to progress.

Wolf, like many kids (especially boys) with AS, does not see this as a particularly strong reason to achieve the weekly, and sometimes daily goals that have been set for him. Conversation-starting, and maintaining, is difficult at best and sheer torture for him at its worst.

One would think that calling home would be a positive reward, and for some kids it remains so, but Wolf has perameters placed upon his call structure so that he, and we, do not spend our fifteen minutes of precious contact with ur son learning who got in trouble for what, or why, or how. Kids with AS tend to obsess about things only interesting to them, and the rule-breaking antics of some of his peers is Wolf's achilles heel. Talking about something else is, shall we say, not his favorite way to spend time with us.

So in a strategically brilliant move, if I do say so myself, therapist B and I came up with a plan to teach Wolf to engage and impart some of the skills he is supposed to be learning. And he cannot do a thing about it. Hehehe.

I laugh because I do not know many teenage boys who really wish to talk to their parents at all, never mind the interference of a social disability. But our son is now required to call home three nights a week regardless of progress status, and must ask about us. How we are, what we are doing, the state of affairs in Anchorage. Just about anything.

Mundane? Yes. Pointless? Not at all. The life of a person with Asperger Syndrome is such that every skill we learn on instinct must be taught with a rote learning method similar to learning times tables or spelling words. Memorization, practice, and more practice.

I'll gladly take fifteen minutes of talk about the weather if it will help Wolf's future ability to talk about something other than his world. It's just nice to hear his voice.

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