On arriving at the bus stop, the rather large and ungainly group of children began to gather for the bus as it pulled to a stop. Bean had been adequately fed (very important in coping ability) and had pulled out of the tailspin brought on by his birthday cake falling on the floor last night (it was a very bad night- anyone with an ASD kid knows how much fun it is when things don’t *go right*), and we had successfully completed the writing homework (always a head-banging nightmare) that had been torn up after school yesterday. Things were looking up.
Then the typical children did what typical children will do… they didn’t obey the order of the universe, and instead of lining up right, logically and orderly, they “clumped”. Standing close, I could see his color rise and his arms tense up, as he attempted, very briefly, to explain to the kids near him that they needed to line up and not get in a “clump”. Clumping is bad, clearly. Of course, no one listened to him. His face got redder and I could see him gritting his teeth, as another child jostled him in the “clump” and he started to vocalize. This, of course, makes the other kids turn around and look at him like he’s crazy. Awesome. In the space of 0.2 seconds, we now have a situation.
He runs into a clump of trees, and throws his backpack and water bottle. He’s purple faced with indignation that NO ONE IS DOING IT RIGHT!!! and he’s yelling. It’s fantastic. If the children would only behave logically, the world would continue to spin. Only, since this is not a 22 minutes sitcom, and all will not be resolved with laughter and an eyeroll, I lose my cool, grab him, and haul him back to our townhouse. (Abby got on the bus with the “clump” children just fine, thankyouverymuch)
He needs to reset. He glares at me, indignant frustration oozing from his red face and he keeps trying to tell me if “…everyone would just do what they’re supposed to do!!” I shhhhh him and go upstairs so we can both cool down. I get dressed and try to figure out what he needs. Here’s where Sheldon and the BBT help me… He needs logic. He needs to understand the math and science and logic behind behavior that makes no sense to him.
I go back downstairs and get a piece of paper and a crayon, and invite him to the table with me. Explaining what an “arial view” is, I draw our neighborhood and the bus stop, and the bus pulling up to the curb. I put in the trees and the sidewalk and our house. Using small hollow circles to represent children, and a solid colored-in circle to represent him, I draw him a diagram of how he wishes the children would line up at the bus, and then change the diagram to show the “clump”- then I illustrate, by moving the circles, how even though the “clump” looks illogical and disorderly, the children all still get on the bus through a series of small movement. I place his solid circle in the drawing and show him how if he follows Abby’s circle, he will still be able to board the bus, despite what looks like chaos to him.
Glory be and hallelujah, it worked. Thank you, Sheldon. Bean and I both thank you. Dear lord this parenting thing is hard. On a wing and a prayer. Thank you.