Wednesday, December 08, 2010

helping your child with autism fit in.

watching an episode of Elmo from the kitchen
This morning as I dropped Max off at Junior Kindergarten (late as usual), I overhead his teacher explaining to the class that if they wanted, they could send candy cane-grams to their friends. My ears perked up so that I too could get the details of how this exchange would work. I looked at Max, sitting with his EA, taking his coat and boots off and I knew he totally wouldn't fully understand the concept of sending out candy canes to his classmates. What he would understand was everyone else receiving them. I want so badly for him to fit in and have friends (in whatever way he is capable). I asked his EA if I could give her money to fill out candy cane-grams for his classmates and teachers. She agreed, so I ran out to the car and returned with enough cash to bankroll this endeavor.

Driving to work I wondered to myself if other parents of kids with Autism do the same type of things?  It is really important to me that Max be given a fair shot and for kids to like him.  I hate the idea of him being left out of anything merely because he didn't understand or nobody told me how to have him included.  I'm sure I would have missed out on this had we not been late and it makes me wonder how many other things Max doesn't get to take part in just because people figure he won't understand. 

I believe that in his own way, he totally gets it and I never want him to feel left out.  I hope someone sends him a candy cane-gram.


  1. Caroline12:22 p.m.

    K, I totally get your anxiety over this, and am glad you happened upon the situation (don't care if you were late, although Max likely will come to, over time -- kids don't like feeling centred out a bout these minor little failures) Should tell you that, even if Max didn't have autism, he might well miss out on this -- it's a complicated concept(and to some extent, outside'a kids world, where they don't usually pay for stuff) and requires an input from parents who are only going to hear about it second-hand, if at all, and probably with lots of details left out. I know this because my kids OFTEN failed either to understand or to communicate to me about the plan (or both of those.) Thus, they missed out on said activities/events. I spent many years working hard to improve the way their school communicated with families, and I believe I actually did improve it to some extent. But Max would not be alone, I'm guessing, on missing out on this. Not that that fact would make him feel any better about missing out, I grant you. Doesn't Max's teacher do the newsletter thing in his communication book or ziplock bag or whatever they use at his school?

  2. Anonymous3:42 p.m.

    Our school (Catholic Elementary in Peel) go out of their way to include our ASD son. But I see this only at our school when I talk to other parents I know with ASD kids in other schools, seems to be driven by the Principle's vision and our participation in the school (its near daily and I sit on the Parent Council). We have a daily book, now an agenda that he is in Grade 1, and we were always informed. HUGE credit also goes to our son's teachers. The class knows our son and that he is "different" but it never seemed to be an issue for exclusion, he gets birthday party invites and valentines like the rest. As the kids get older they will (sadly, naturally) exclude him but when that occurs we will form a "circle of friends" in his class where students volunteer to buddy up. In past years for other kids this has worked great and the school supports it. Other parents before us have paved the way for these types of things with the board and though we would like to see more from the education system given the reality of Ontario our son has lucked out to find a generally accepting and supportive environment where we direct the effort and what happens in the class.

  3. The school is pretty good at making sure Max gets included...and yay! he did get a couple of candy canes sent to him! I am just hyper sensitive. Kristina Braverman on Parenthood in overdrive. Max hasn't been invited to any parties as of yet. I'm not going to let myself worry about that one quite yet.