Persuasive Writing

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A new strategy that the school has been using since we met for a crisis intervention plan, has been to allow The Boy to send me an email when he is overwhelmed. He can go to several designated spots, hop on the computer and email me about what’s going on or what’s bothering him.

Usually, it entails a couple of emails back and forth about someone being absent. I encourage him to stick out the day, and he does.

Monday, the conversation was a bit more lengthy:

The Boy: I need you to come pick me up from school because I got sick on the bus on Saturday and then (the band director) told me to take Monday off and also, (one of his friends) and (his TA) took today off as well. I don’t want to get the other students and teachers sick. Especially (his social studies teacher) because he missed way too much school within the past 3 months. I even thought (another friend) was out too along with (the first friend) and (his TA). That is until I saw her at her locker at the end of class. I might tell her later that I may not be able to be in Social studies. I also feel really exhausted from Saturday and out of shape and I feel like I need rest. and If you can’t come, maybe Grammy and Poppy can pick me up in the black saturn vue.

Me: I know there are a couple of people absent, but your friends would miss you if you left. I need you to try to stick it out, ok?

The Boy: I can’t just stay here. If I do, I am a little worried that I might get more people sick and then they might miss school tomorrow and besides, (the band director) told me to take today off on Saturday. It’s nothing personal. He just can’t have me getting his other band students sick. I only air high-fived and pretend hugged the girls on Saturday because I didn’t want them to miss school today, although one of them already did and that is (the first friend). So now  I feel like I need to take the rest of this day off and then come back tomorrow, also let Grammy know (the band director) told me to take this day off. and Hopefully (his TA) (and the first friend) will be back tomorrow too.

Me: I’m not sure where (his TA) is but I would guess she’ll be back tomorrow. (The first friend’s) family extended her trip in DC, so if she is not back tomorrow, she will probably be on Wednesday, but she isn’t sick.  You don’t have too much longer, Bubba. See if you can stick it out. I know it’s tough, but don’t forget that if you can last the day, Grammy is taking you to Brrberry!

There were a few more emails back and forth, and then he went back to class. As I’m writing this post, I just got another email about how only one person came back today. But the strategy seems to be working, and I was tickled to see the quality of the language, the writing, and the persuasion he used. And writing is supposed to be one of his deficits! I wonder how far he could get with a little inspired teaching!

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BuJo and ASD

I mentioned recently that I have begun bullet journaling, and it has helped me put one foot in front of the other to get past some pretty dark, helpless feelings this fall. I also belong to a fantastic facebook group with over 14,000 members who also bullet journal, and it has connected me to people across the globe. One of those fabulous ladies is an autism mom in the UK who shared that her son was helping to set the table, and began by making a list of “supplies” he would need – five plates, five forks, etc. – on his iPad. Then, he gathered his materials and put them in the appropriate spots on the table (while shouting loudly what each was). She remarked to him about his list. “Why did you make a list?” He said, “You remember everything, Mom, and you make lists in your journal all day long.”

This story got me to thinking. The reason many of us bullet journal is because it can get overwhelming relying on our brains to remember everything. I, personally, am the type to need to get things on paper, because if I don’t, I will remind myself to do that one thing at least six times in one day – how exhausting, and how almost perseverative (is that a word? it is now…)… Overwhelmed… Perseverating… Indeed, one of the most relied upon strategies for coping with autism is the social story (a list of sorts to describe what will happen), and another is “first, then” (First we will do some homework, then we will have some m&m’s).  Maybe, just maybe some kiddos, young adults, and adults on the spectrum would benefit from bullet journaling.

I may try this with The Boy. But my primary purpose with this post is to share an idea, a connection, a possibility. This may be a strategy that could help you or someone you know. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

BuJo