It's been a good Monday. I have some scratches and marks to show for it, but it went well.
My student's class went to a musical today. Sousical the musical. It was a production done by a local highschool. The showing was for just the school my student goes to. The school specialises in children with developmental disabilities.
What I saw of the musical was good. My student did have some trouble sitting still, and it was hard getting him to show me picture icons to ask for things when the lights were dimmed all the way down. We eventually went outside and walked about. we only walked for about fifteen minutes, and then the play was over. From then on my student was rather tired. He did well with all of his tasks, but got more easily frustrated after the change in routine.
He did a bit more grabbing aggressions, and dropped to the ground more frequently. He was clearly just tired. The aggressions weren't much of a problem, Though that is where I got the aforementioned scratches and marks. He's getting better at asking for things, and tomorrow should be better as it is on his usual schedule and he gets to swim.
He loves swiming. the class swims on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday. On monday's and Fridays he continually goes back to his towel and swimming suit in anticipation.
A lot of people remarked on his improvement. I though perhaps some of it was making the rookie feel good, giving the new guy confidence, but it happened more, and after five or so times I took them seriously. (I knew my student was doing better, I just didn't figure it could be readily seen by outside observers)
I think it should be a good week for my student. Of course we'll see, but he's been getting better at asking for things, and he has been understanding that all he needs to do to get help for something is ask in some form we can know. This lessens the aggressions. I don't mind him grabbing onto my arm hard (well I mind, and more often than not it breaks skin, but I don't mind nearly as much as most people) but it will be nice when he only asks. He only has aggresions when he can't get his point across. It's relatively straightforward. I just have to continue through it, and keep the conversation going. I have colourful arms and some nicely stretched shirt collars now, but it's all for the better.(when he grabs at you sometimes he'll pull on your collar with both hands downwards trying to pull your face towards him. Sometimes he'll bite the centre of the shirt collar as well. The best way to deal with it is just support his weight by putting your arms against his, and giving no more reaction.) It can be somewhat hard to keep the reaction low when he give a really good pinch that breaks the skin, but it's an aquiered skill. If you jump too much when he grabs you or pinches you it reinforces the action. Since you jump at it, it's clear that he's gotten your full attention, and will likely get what he wants. We don't want him associating his aggressions with getting what he wants.
It's been going well so far.
The kid's bright, he just needs a vocabulary (in whatever form it may take, pictures words gestures anything really) to share it with others.
Sadly I don't think he'll ever be at normal functioning. I could be wrong of course, but he's thirteen and still non-vocal. Early intervention is the best way to deal with autism, and they botched it with him. I really wish the outfit I worked for could have gotten him when he was young (we specialise in really young children, and nipping it in the bud)
What I want for him when he's twenty can only happen if after I'm done working with him he's kept on the same general path, needing to practice his abilities and to learn new ones. I want him to be able to have some sort of a social life. I think it's doable. There's no doubt that we'll be able to get him to a level where he could live by himself if need be, I just want to make sure he has the skills to deal with people in non formal situations.
I'll keep you updated.