Posts Tagged ‘preparation’

Ok, who is this kid? Music makes a difference.

As I posted previously, my son plays in the bell choir at our church.  It’s a good way for him to be part of a group, learn to take direction, and make music– one of his passions.  (I give great kudos to his hand bell choir director, who has learned how to work with my boy and been very patient. I bet he was a great band teacher and school administrator prior to retiring!)

The bell choir plays about 4 times per school year.  Usually, I am my busy self and it dawns on me the Saturday afternoon before the Sunday morning performance that my son needs to have his clothes, shoes, etc. ready.  More than once we’ve had to run out at the last minute to get him dress pants or shoes that fit.

This time, however, was different.

I reminded my son, “Hey, remember what tomorrow is?”

“What?” he replied.


“Oh yes!  Mr. F. wants us to wear green.”

“Yes, we are supposed to dress like it’s spring.”

“Oh.  Well, I don’t think you have anything green.”

“Yes, I do.  I am going to wear my Hawaiian shirt because it has green in it, my light brown pants, my brown dress socks, and my dress shoes.”

Waaaat???  Planning ahead?  My son?

After I recovered from the shock, I asked him, “Do you have those things ready?”

“I’ll go up right now and get it ready, Mom. OK?”  He ran upstairs to his room.

“Ok,” I replied. I had to sit down.  This was amazing.  I had this feeling of relief that I didn’t have to do it, but at the same time I felt a sadness that I wasn’t as needed. But mostly I was relieved.

A few minutes later, my son called from upstairs,

“Mom, I need to go out to get a new belt.”

“Why?” I called.

“Well, does my blue belt match my Hawaiian shirt?”

Okay, by this time I was about to faint because never has my boy cared about matching.  But I recovered quickly, and said, “Yes, the belt matches.  There is blue in your Hawaiian shirt, too.”

“But Mr. F says green.”

“I don’t think Mr. F. cares about your blue belt.  He said ‘spring,’ right?  Not just green.”

“Yes!  Okay, thanks, Mom.”


My boy proceeded to lay out all of his clothes, including his socks, shoes, and belt.  The next morning we were actually early for the dress rehearsal because he was ready in record time.  He even complimented someone at church on their shirt.

Double huh.

Music makes him want to prepare and get up in the morning. Music is helping him be independent.  I have hope that my husband and I may indeed be empty-nesters.  And that’s a good thing!


Movin’ on: Transitions out the wazoo

End- of- the- school- year time means lots of transitions in our family, as it does in many others.  It’s not only the end of school and beginning of summer, but the end and beginning of other things, too.  We’re movin’ on.

My daughter “bridged” in Girl Scouts– movin’ on to the next stage.  (She has a “love-hate” relationship with GS.  It seems that she hates to go to the meetings but also hates to leave them.  So I’m guessing she loves it in between there somewhere.)

My son’s 5th grade party and graduation are  happening this week.  Movin’ on to middle school.

My other son’s job is going well.  He’s learning to be responsible as far as work goes.  He’s also learning about the benefits of sunblock… the hard way.  Ah, part of growing up.  Movin’ on to adulthood.

I have a job interview before the school year is out.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  I’m applying for a part time faculty position at a local college.  I’m excited but scared at the same time– as I am with any new venture!  I think I’d really enjoy teaching the night classes that they offer.  However, before I can get the job I have to figure out my 15-minute “mock class” to teach to my peers.  Sigh.

Movin’ on….

Schedules, social stories, visuals make our life with autism easy, er, easier

Morning, afternoon, and evening routines for all three kids

When it come to successful family life, we find that preparation is key.

Preparation means discussing the who, what, when, where, why, how of the event ahead of time.

I find for us preparation has three components: inspiration, perspiration, and the the actual preparation. One time we had a family gathering at a local restaurant. I wondered how I was going to prepare my sons.

Inspiration: write a social story! (This is how it starts– I have to think of the idea or be inspired to do something.)

Perspiration: actually writing the story.  I wrote a social story using Boardmaker, detailing why we were getting together, who was going to be there, and defined our expectations.

Preparation: having everyone read the story. Over and over and over.

Of course, with our family life sometimes I forget or don’t have time to prepare.  Now that I think of it, on this occasion we prepared  on the fly, and the kids read it on the way to Red Robin. It worked, though!

Here is a run down of some other ways we prepare:

  • Schedules—doing evening calendar checks so we know what we need for the next day, or simply following a routine so that we get out of the house on time.

    Morning schedule written by daughter

  • Social stories— how to behave at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, how to ask for a break, and why chores are necessary.
  • Visuals–when we go on vacation, my husband and I do our best to print out a picture of the place where we will stay, places wewill go, and describe things we will do.
  • More visuals–We’ve printed out maps when we are on driving trips, with the routes highlighted. The kids like checking off the towns that we are going through.
  • Chores–The kids also pack their own things, whether it is a back pack, suit case, or swimming pool bag, so they are mentally preparing before we leave.  (I double check, of course… their “necessities” can be quite humorous!)
  • Meetings–Sometimes we even have family meetings to discuss possible activities over a school break, changes in chores, meal planning.
  • Previewing–At school, teachers preview or pre-teach material so my younger son is prepared to go into regular ed.  Works very well! We’ve done this at home too.  The first time we hosted Thanksgiving, we did a trial run with a roasted chicken, instant mashed potatoes, and green beans, complete with the Thanksgiving table decorations.  That Thanksgiving was the calmest ever.

Although we don’t do this consistently as we would prefer, our past efforts have made the present ones easier.  Hotels are not a big struggle now for my boys, as they know what to expect.  My oldest will ask us when we are going to discuss family fun activities for the next break. My youngest will keep us on track—“We said we’d stop for slushies, remember???”

Preparation is key for us.  What do you do to prepare?