Jonah’s Parent-Teacher Conference

So we had parent-teacher conferences yesterday for Jonah.

Here’s how it went.

When we got there, Jonah assumed we were going to school as we normally do. He was smiling with anticipation. I give the school a lot of credit for making my son’s learning experience a pleasurable one.

When we got to his class room, Jonah could tell something was not right.

Why were both Mommy and Daddy there? Why is Brother here? Where are the other kids? Where’s my favorite Paraeducator?”

You could see him trying to comprehend the juxtaposition of school life and home life as he manifested the confusion very visually. He very rarely “stims” but this time, he jumped up and down excitedly “ooh-ing” and waving his hands for a good 10 seconds.

Finally he simply looked from his teacher, to Mommy and Daddy, back to his teacher, and covered his ears.

That was how he broke down the sensory overload. It’s just like when people subconsciously put their hands on their head or run their hands through their hair while taking a deep breath when they are stressed. It’s just self-regulation.

And then he started to do what he does when he gets anxious. He ran.

He made himself a running route and started doing laps around the desks.

This was fine, as Mommy and Daddy had “much” to discuss with his teacher. Afterall, we don’t hear ANYTHING about how his day goes.

Here is an update:

Jonah is doing well, or as well as he can right now. He is progressing as much as can be expected. He does have a bit of a hitting problem but only with his teachers, and then only with the ones who make him follow the rules or are making him do things that push his boundaries.

There is a girl in his class that he likes to tease. She doesn’t like people in her personal space. Guess where Jonah like to stand? Right in front of her. With a big grin. He does the same type of thing to his brother …and other people that he likes (he finds ways to bug them).

He doesn’t stay seated very well. He has a problem with patience (as most preschoolers do) and will often flop on the ground if forced to wait for something he wants, (like leaving). If he’s got his coat and hat on, its “go time.” Nevermind the little girl who has to go “potty.” She can hold it. It’s time to GO.

He likes the sensory items at school, particularly the sensory bin and a “peg board puzzle.” That toy was new to us.

Most the meeting was us giving the teachers more ideas to motivate him and the routines we have at home so that she can continue them at school.

Use the “1-2-3 ALL DONE” countdown to transition.
We are using Gemiini program so try some of the motivation shown in those videos.
He doesn’t like fishy crackers anymore.
Make him understand that hitting you hurts you and that is why we don’t hit.
…things like that.

By the time we were done, Jonah had moved on from running around to getting every craft drawer out of the drawer bin (probably about 20 drawers) and had spread them out across all the desks. I was certain he was about to dump all the contents of every drawer and we would take up all the time of the next conference just “cleaning up.”

Jojo’s teacher thought it would be a good idea to put the “clean up” song on to signal that it was time to clean up and go.

Poor Jonah was so confused. He was out of his routine and started to lose it a bit. So we helped him put the drawers back. Even big brother came and helped.

He didn’t want anything put away so I had to just pick him up on my shoulder while I was gathering things to put away.

Finally, it was time to go and when he realized that it was “coat and hat, GO TIME,” so he was happy.

When we got home, he promptly went and dumped every toy bin we own in the play room. He wasn’t mad. He just wanted to destroy the play room. It took less than 5 minutes. Legos. Toys. Disney Infinity pieces.

Everything. Everywhere.

He pulled out his own “dinner.” from the kitchen snack drawer (chocolate muffins), after dumping all the playdoh on the kitchen floor. Chocolate muffin crumbs from Costco were spread all over the floor.

Then he would follow us around, dumping out anything we cleaned up. I swear, he is like a big destructive boat that leaves a searing path of chaos and destruction in his wake. EVERYWHERE he goes.

Jonny thinks it’s absolutely HILARIOUS. Until Jonah does it to HIS room.

Bedtime was easier tonight than it was last night. Jonah didn’t nap today, which makes a HUGE difference. I find that when Jonah NEEDS to nap, you really can’t keep him awake. I’ve tried. But he only got out of his bed once, and after I sent him back to lay down, he fell asleep within about half an hour. No hitting. No fussing. I don’t know why, but I’ll take it.

We have Jonny’s conference tomorrow at HIS school and of course, Jonah is coming too. We won’t be able to keep a close watch on him while we are discussing Jonny’s school stuff.

I hope Jonny’s classroom is still standing when Jonah is done with it.

Jason Reynolds
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Jason Reynolds

Jason is a freelance photographer and graphic designer. He is also a parent of Jonny (9) and Jonah (4) who was diagnosed with Autism in December 2016.
Jason Reynolds
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