Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Diiner and a Show

This year, I am leading a social skills group for autistic children as I did the year prior. Basically, my job is to break down the components of social skills, teach them to children, and let them try the social skills out on each other. This is a great opportunity for them, because since the other children are also autistic, the likelihood that they will be teased is far lower than if they were in a regular classroom. We really reinforce positive behaviors, and try to minimize the negative ones.
Last year, I had a group with three very high functioning children, with one who had some problem behaviors, like farting in my face. However, the other two children sort of balanced this kid out. It was kind of nice to feel like I was having a real effect on children. And then I realized today that it has absolutely nothing to do with me.
I had this kid today who got the concept of time out explained to him....clearly. In our groups, we don't have regular time out, because for autistic kids, that means that they're home free. Not interacting with other children is what they want to do. However, in our classes, the children are given prizes at really high rates if they comply with simple tasks such as hand raising, good listening, and good sitting. So, time out in our class is two minutes of time when the children don't receive prizes, but still have to participate. It's a tough lesson.
Today was session number two, and Cara, my co-leader, and I chose to place a particularly difficult child in between the two of us. After about 15 minutes of reasonable behavior, he began to lose it. He started throwing his chair, hitting my co-leader and myself, throwing his shoes, and then threw a play telephone at the both of us. He was given time out, to which his response went something like this:

Me: That's enough. No hitting, you know the rules.
Child (in toneless voice and without eye contact: What the fuck? What the fuck? What the FUCK?!!?!?!?!
Me: Get control. You are in time out, and you are not getting out by yelling.
Child (still in toneless voice and at the top of his lungs): FUCK!!!!!!!!!

After being spit on, a nose blown in my direction, and my breast grabbed, I was pretty worn out. My job was to then take the parents of said children into another room to discuss the social skills we were learning in that class. Here my fantasy conversation:

Me: Well, the class was interesting. One of your children, I won't say who, was a complete royal asshole today. It makes me wonder if he ever has consequences at home. As for you other two, your kids are great. I wonder if they will survive the other child's wrath, but other than that, they did just fine. Oh, and your kid, yeah yours, showed us all his penis. Brilliant.


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