Things are a bit better at school, and I am cautiously optimistic. A couple of longish discussions with his aide about triggers and possible tools to use to encourage better behaviours and choices at school seem to have helped.
It is very true that if you try to shush James (whether with pictures, hand signs, or verbal cues) in a classroom, it's rather akin to throwing gasoline on a fire -- it triggers both anxiety and defiance, rather loudly too. It is true that afternoons are some of his toughest times to hold things together. James also does not function well in unstructured time.
So his aide has created some visual tools to help him understand what activity is coming next, and how much time it will take. James is starting now to want or need things neatly boxed and defined more so than in the past, and this seemed a good thing to try to keep him focused and involved, rather than defiant. I am so glad he has his aide to help him through this tough transition to third grade.
I have noticed over this summer that James has started resisting things more, especially activities outside the house. I used to be able to get him to go swimming in the pool with his sister and I with a minimum of difficuty. Not any more. He used to love going to the grocery store with me. He's become less enthusiastic about coming along and often asks now if he can stay home. How about a trip to the Farmers' Market? No thank you, now.
I'm not giving up on getting him to go out. Today we were treated to an outing all day at Coppola Winery's pool. "I don't wanna go," was his cry. I bribed him with his iPad and he came. He goofed off and talked incessantly, once we were established under some umbrellas. This made it a little harder for me to relax, but I did enjoy the experience.
James' sister swam like a fish. I got James into his suit and took him into the pool with me, because this year he did not want to go at all. The water was refreshing and helped cool him down. He started to cry, however: he didn't want to get dunked under water, he did not want to be splashed. He clung to me and told me that he had nightmares about his (up until now) favourite Baby Einstein puppet characters.
Ah, so that's why you've been getting me up every house on the hour at night, lately.
So I spoke soothingly to him, and gently rocked him from side to side. He did grow calmer. After we got out, I wrapped him in a couple of towels, to help him dry off. He refused to go in again, though.
James' Dad thinks the resistance and defiance are normal developmental milestones. He's right, but I am always wondering if there isn't also something more going on that is related to autism that I am still trying to decode.