Amanda had a bad gym class yesterday. That's two weeks in a row. Last week, she didn't follow directions and didn't get a sucker at the end of class. That caused a meltdown of Biblical proportions, since her brother and sister both got suckers and she didn't.
Today, she had trouble listening again. Miss Vanessa really singled her out and she lost her turn and then Miss Vanessa talked to me after class. I could tell by the way Miss Vanessa was talking to Amanda, that she was trying to get Amanda to look at her. I think she thought maybe Amanda couldn't look at her. I know what she was doing. I've read all the books. I know that children on the autism spectrum can't stare directly back when you speak to them. But then Amanda did look her straight in the face and answered her while staring at her. It's not that Amanda can't look at you, it's just that she won't if you are telling her what to do.
Then I asked Miss Vanessa point blank if she thought Amanda's behavior is normal. I have the luxury of understanding Amanda's behavior in a structured learning environment as a teacher, and not just a mother. Do you know I've been homeschooling the kids for almost a year now? How many people get to homeschool in a structured way with a group of same age peers? I understand exactly what Miss Vanessa is dealing with. I don't think most parents really truly understand how their children learn or follow directions in a classroom environment if they've never taught them or been present during class. I could have easily dismissed what Miss Vanessa was saying to me if I had never seen it firsthand.
Amanda has trouble paying attention. She is easily distracted by others. She cannot focus if anything else is going on. She freezes. She doesn't seem to process information visually. She has trouble following complex directions. She watches everything going on around her, and can't seem to direct her attention to the task she should be doing.
Miss Vanessa didn't think her behavior was out of the realm of normal for a three year old. She did, however, suggest I put her in a class by herself without her siblings. She feels her siblings are a distraction to her and she feels Amanda can't compete with them, so she doesn't. I couldn't agree more with her on that.
I left the groceries on the counter in bags while I enrolled her in a class by herself. We will be spending Tuesday evenings by ourselves in a Rhythm and Movement class, which is unstructured dance. Perfect for Amanda. Greg has agreed to start taking her out by herself on Tuesday mornings too.
You know, I just fell into homeschooling them. It's not something I ever even thought about. I just happened to start doing it. I don't even remember why. But you can find us on most evenings gathered around the kitchen table "doing school". Here we were last night painting lights on Christmas trees.
Not only do I enjoy it, I've learned so much more about my children. Hopefully, I'll be able to use that information to help them. The other bonus is I get to drive Greg absolutely crazy hanging stuff on his walls.
These aren't THAT big, Daddy! Notice how Amanda's Santa doesn't have any eyes? She didn't pay attention long enough to put the eyes on.
So Tuesdays are going to be for Amanda.