Sunday, June 29, 2008

May and June Highlights

Third grade ended with nothing exciting to report. Our final Parent/Teacher conference was more of the same. He ended his marker year with anonymity intact and no learning issues. His talking out-of-turn seems to be under control, as it hadn't come up on the report card or the conference. Even in math, a topic that prompted this to happen last year. Leo had a different teacher for math, and while she said he is a "talker", it didn't appear to be an issue. Without arising suspicion, I casually asked about how Leo seemed to do with the standardized testing. She said he did great, whatever that means.

But, paranoia aside, I think Leo's 3rd grade year was a success both academically and socially. Most importantly, he's a happy person that is confident and secure in his environment. What else, really, is a mother to want? He's now viewed as one of the "older" elementary school kids. You'll find him spending most of his time surfing for 70's classic rock music on ITunes, his new favorite genre thanks to Guitar Hero. At school, they made CD trades of music and bartered sharpened pencils for cough drops, squishies, and yellow highlighters. He's saving his allowance for a pair of D.C. shoes, and prefers to only wear sports shorts with those slick exercise shirts that look like sun shirts. I can barely keep up. He gets a few calls a week, mostly from his 3rd grade BFF. They trade Bakugons and scheme about how to get more from classmates at school.

Pool Politics: I've seen a snapshot into the future so far as I've watched the "gang" of 8 to 10 year olds at the local pool. They move in a pack, back and forth from the water to the sanded volleyball court. They spend about 10 minutes "debating" during the transition about what to play next, how to divide into teams if needed. The group leader is a boy that Leo went to preschool with. Back in the day he wasn't a very nice boy. We had a bus incident early on in 1st grade with this same kid. Today, he's not one of Leo's preferred boys to play with, but will play with him if there's no one else.

I see Leo right in the middle of it all, participating, waiting. I can't hear what they are saying, but I see him and I am in awe because he looks content and natural in the group. I'll never forget what he used to look like and how he'd struggle joining a group. He used to be always one or two steps behind as his playmates had already moved on. He'd still be playing dinosaurs while the boys had moved on to transformers.

Leo doesn't seem to miss any cues, goes with the flow, often playing something he doesn't really want to because he prefers to play with the group. Funny though, he'll often break off with one or two boys and do something else if the discussion takes longer. I wonder if this is typical, a preference of how much politics you want to put up with. I asked him if he understood what was happening, thinking maybe he was missing stuff. But it appears no, he was able to fully explain the situation and said it was "boring" to wait for it all to work out. When asked if he'd share what HE wanted to do, he said yes. I can believe that because in small groups of 2, 3 or 4 boys, he'll often iniitate ideas and naturally take the lead if they let him.

At the end of last year, he'd come back by himself sometimes if things got heated - say, the 5th grade boys taking over the court, if the arguing went on and on. It seems to bother him less, and it seems like he's comfortable enough to find something to do, with our without participating in a large group. Leo will always avoid conflict if he can. He said "we were here first" for the first time. But if the 5th graders don't budge, he'll walk away and complain it's not fair. As his mom, I know it would be suicide for me to say anything. If this continues, I'll have the pool manager observe and remind the older boys not to act like bullies and share the court.

Conversations: Leo and me (and dad) have had amazing conversations recently. So interesting how time goes by and we can go another layer deep about the war in Iraq, the election, and other current events. I'd find him looking at the election coverage on CNN up until Hilary lost. He loved voting this year as always. Like many kids feel, Leo thinks war is stupid.


Still A Kid: I've appreciated watching Leo still play Webkins with his younger sister. They've made up their own very sophisticated world where they 'babysit" each other's animals, and take on these elaborate personalities for each animal. He loves to play with the dog in the kiddie pool, play in the mud with Sydney, and still plays superheroes with some of his kindergarten friends.

Theory Of Mind Tidbit: We somehow started talking about Leo's classmates, and he began talking about how his teacher calls on certain people in certain situations. He noticed that a boy that never raises his hand will get called on the rare time he does do it. He seems to know the pecking order, and who favorites are, etc. None of it seems to bother him a bit, and finds it interesting. He is certainly a real behaviorist now.

Brain Fog and Face Tics: We had our usual couple day visit from "brain fog" where Leo acts like his old self and has an off-spectrumy day. It's still very distressing when he's that out-of-it. Our homeopath is close to recommending a remedy that will address it. Leo's tics came back the last month - they are not as strong as last time, and I've found a couple of homeopathic remedies that really help. My hope is that we can nail the tics permanently - I am positive we can do it! For Sydney also - hers are worse.

Little League: This was a great experience for Leo - he played AA and really learned how to play better and consistently hit the ball. He looked forward to every game and every practice, even riding me about getting ready and being there on time. It was really fun watching him this year while chatting with the other parents. I still am amazed by him, a kid that was so fearful of the ball and had a gazillion hours of OT and PT to get over numerous SI issues.

Yale: We had a very positive but draining experience at the Yale Child Study Center. Leo participated in a Longitudinal study and a couple other studies for ASD kids. Leo officially lost his diagnosis, which I'll be posting about later.

2 comments:

~Miss Nelson said...

YALE!! I am in CT.
I am looking forward to reading about Leo losing his diagnosis. Sounds like you have had a very busy ending of the year.

Taking the lead and initiating activities is great, and I think it is very typical of him to be bored if they are taking a long time to figure out their plans. Leo sounds amazing!

Jenn said...

Ashley,
Amazing stuff. YAY Leo! Thanks for sharing...I look forward to your updates. They keep me going and give me hope! We WILL get there! Looking forward to your next post.