Autism TransitionsTransitions.

I don’t even need to say more, do I?  You know exactly what I mean.  They are TOUGH.  Some more than others.

We had a particularly rough one this summer. Switching programs.  Aged out of her last amazing group.  And that was part of the problem.  TOO amazing.

This wasn’t something you just blurt out.  You need to do it right.  Which included a car ride… stopped to meet a friend… to do something fun.  Lots of positive distractions there.  It also means that she is locked into her seatbelt with nothing to throw.  Windows up.  With age comes wisdom!

Me: “Kirsten, so you know how you’re graduating?”  K: “Yeah.”  Me (in my best -isn’t this great!- tone): “So in September you will be with a new school! Where you do fun things and have nice teachers just like in TRACE!”  Kirsten’s reaction was immediate and strong: “NO NEW SCHOOL!  TRACE!!!”  Me: “But honey, it will be…”  K: “No new school!  No new school!  Trace!!!”  Times-ten. 

Me (backpedaling faster than light) : “Of COURSE you are going to TRACE in September!  What was I thinking?!!  That’s crazy-talk!”   Yeah… backed down.  I’m a wimp like that!  And that’s where we left it.

No sense in bringing it up again.  She reminded ME that she would NOT be going to any new program.  Kirsten: “TRACE in 2014, TRACE in 2022. TRACE in 2060.”  Me: “Of course, Kirsten!”  The girl meant business.  What to do… what to do…

Her teachers had a brilliant plan.  Just have her work exclusively with Bob every day.  THEN she would be happy to move on!  Not that Bob is a bad guy.  He’s a favorite of the other students.  But not Kirsten.  Man aversion.  Yep.  That’s one aversion I am perfectly fine with.

That plan kind of fell through the cracks when they decided not to traumatize Bob in that way.  Whateeever…

Came up with a new plan.  DENIAL.

What?!  That is TOO a plan!  Okay, there was a little more to it.  You see, her new program started in August, and her old program not until September. 

So what if… what IF… I just told Kirsten that she was going to her new program in August and back to her old program in September?  See what I did there?  A half-truth!  Oh, I am goooood  

Then *fingers crossed* she would fall in love with her new program and stop fighting the transition.   Stop looking at me like that.  It is NOT manipulating.  Just playing the game… 

So today was it.  First day in her new program.  Things started pretty well.  Kirsten only hit me once in the morning and herself once during the day.  All those changes and all that stress… that’s a success in my book! 

I didn’t realize how much of a success until…  

K: “Leanne in August and back to TRACE in September.”  Me treading lightly… keep it cool… no pressure here… even tone… brace for the impact… : “you can go with Leanne in September too if you want.” K: “Leanne in August. And September. And October. And January. And in the summer.”  Me: “Yes!!!”

Who said denial never gets you anywhere?!!


Your turn! How are transitions in your neck of the woods??!

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10 Responses

  1. Tara Black says:

    Got a question for you Tammy. We seem to be having an issue with Megan not wanting to go to school…She would totally rather be at home doing her own thing than being at school with the scheduled work. I have tried bribery (shopping on Amazon), go all week and get McDonald’s on Friday, and even no TV or computer until Dad gets home from work. She is totally fine without any extras just to get to stay home. ARrgggg….Any other suggestions???

    • Autism Makes Me Laugh | Tammy says:

      That’s a tough one Tara! I would have started with the same things you’ve used. Trying to get her on board. If it were Kirsten, next I think I’d…

      1) Use a strong voice and tell K she WOULD be going to school. That it is important and it is her JOB. A strong, unemotional voice is key. K would probably be angry and get upset, then come around to accept the situation. Maybe even be happy about it.

      2) Very important – I would try to work with the school to make sure she has a schedule and a reward system that works for her. Does she need breaks in between work to decompress? Add favorite activities? Bring comfort item from home? I’d talk to K about school and let her know we are going to find a way to improve things for her.

  2. Diane says:

    OMG…this cracked me up! I’m pretty sure we read the same parenting manual. ;P

    YEA for Leanne!!!!!

  3. Tara says:

    We have a bit of one coming as well…Megan’s classroom for the last few (5) years has been a combination of 3 classrooms…one “class” room..a double kitchen…and the “physical therapy/timeout” room…This year due to over-population at the public school she goes to (785 of a 700 capacity)…her class with 10 kids has gotten pushed into the ‘physical therapy/timeout’ room and half the double kitchen…I am really not sure how she is going to take that…the half of the kitchen they lost has the closet that she would sometimes go to if the class (or certain classmates) got too loud…I have a feeling I might be making a few return trips or early pickups…(crossing fingers though) They are keeping the TV setup so maybe it will be ok…Pray for my sanity guys!

    • Autism Makes Me Laugh | Tammy says:

      Uh-oh. Girl needs her closet!! Sanity prayers headed your way. Let us know how it goes!

      • Tara says:

        Well…the first day could have been better…but it could have been a LOT worst.

        This year is the first year I can remember that the girls outnumber the boys (6-3). One other gal was NOT happy to be there and was already upset, which set Megan off, which set one of the girls off. I ended up staying until 12 with her because she didn’t want Mom to ‘go to work” (LOL)[She is my work]. All of them calmed down pretty soon…but not before the first girl grabbed Megan and a teacher…(no damage done)…

        When we left, we did the McDonald’s stop because she slept so well last night (last year she stayed up all night..yikes)…

        And the afternoon has been great…she has been talking to me every time I walk by and keeping herself busy on the computer watching Winnie the Pooh cartoons….Life is good….lol

        Hope everyone else’s day went well!!

        • Autism Makes Me Laugh | Tammy says:

          An eventful yet somehow successful first day!!! What ever happened to our standards… ;)