Today Charlie’s assignment for Language Arts class was to write a memoir, focusing on an event in his life. He chose to talk about his previous experience with school and transition to homeschooling. I loved this assignment, because I learned something new about Charlie, and I always love the new insights.
Charlie was highly entertained while writing this piece, giggling uncontrollably at times when he spoke about his antics at school. I imagine he was remembering exactly what it was like. I too was quite tickled thinking about it. Immediately, I thought back to a number of times I went in to observe him. One time in particular stands out in my mind. He was sitting at the table with an instructor. In a never ending quest for functional skills to be added to his IEP, I had asked for the school to teach him to sort silverware. Of course I had specified I wanted it done with real silverware in the actual silverware drawer. (The kitchen was about 20 feet away from Charlie’s work area. You could literally see the silverware drawer from his desk.) But, alas, in the antiquated, nonsensical ways of overly rigid ABA, there he was sitting at his desk with 3 black napkins and plastic forks and knives. His instructor would take the plastic utensil and hold it up in Charlie’s face, then say “sort” or something similar. (Oh, how I love the non-natural language used by some ABA therapists. Note, sarcasm.) I watched Charlie take the utensil from her and hold it high up in the air just as she had done. He would hold it there for the longest time, with the biggest grin on his face, looking right at her. I have to admit, it made me laugh. I then went on to question why they were doing this at the table and not at the drawer as we had discussed, but that’s another discussion for another day. Still, the look on his face. He sat there with this huge grin, just watching the instructor all the while barely holding back a giggle. Now I know, he was being a prankster.
And another time I remember watching him do nothing but sit down and sign for candy or snack, then as soon as he got his edible, he got up and ran around the room, giggling and jumping. He’d sit back down, sign for another edible, get it and repeat the same cycle. On and on. News flash: he doesn’t do that at home. In fact, he never did that anywhere except at school. I think maybe now we know why. My husband always said, “he’s playing them. He’s got that system down.” Looks like the hubs was spot on.
Not that it’s all funny. As Charlie says here, he was often highly anxious. And that was very obvious much of the time. But I’m happy to know even in his anxiety and frustration, he found ways to cope. I admit further, I kinda love that he’s a bit of a con artist.
You have no idea what is going on in their minds. Never question their intelligence, or you might find they are doing the same of you.
Home for school
School was horrible for me. I didn’t want to go. Going to school was like time down the drain. School was closed to the idea that I might be smart. At school, ABA gave nothing but anxiety so I stopped trying. I began to dream up ways to secretly entertain myself. The teachers would give me a command, and I would do something different just to see how they would react. The looks on their faces were priceless. They had no idea I was playing them during the rotten drills. Now I am homeschooled and I am learning for real. No games required. The end.