Leelo starts his new school in three days. The school is 18.2 miles away from our home. I hate hate hate the idea of him being so far away from me during the day, but as it is the best possible available option for him at the moment, I will need to get used to it.
I have not yet met the long-term sub who will start out as his teacher, but have been given permission to go down to the school tomorrow morning to ambush chat with her. I will bring a CD of ambient music and lotion for limb massages as per Supervisor M's request. I will bring photos of our sweet boy, and the boy himself. I will cross my fingers that this is a woman with an intuitive understanding of autism, as well as the patience and resilience to look beyond our boy's occasional outbursts and into his brain so she can help him learn. I will bring this cheat sheet to help her help him:
LEELO ROSENBERG CHEAT SHEET
PERSONALITY AND PREFERENCES
- Leelo is a sweet six-year-old boy who laughs easily, especially when tickled.
- He loves music, "scatting" and having people imitate him, stories with repetitive rhymes, "dancing," paging through books, simple puzzles, swimming, straws, and grabbing peoples' elbows.
- We call him "The Cobra" as he can very quickly steal other peoples' food or straws.
- He only likes to eat: PB&J sandwiches, croissants, pancakes, fruit smoothies, cheerios, Burger King french fries, and bananas. He enjoys Pirate Booty and Goldfish crackers but they give him indigestion except in limited quantities. We try to limit his sugar intake as it is overstimulating.
- Leelo has a short attention span, but can attend to preferred tasks for a few minutes. We have tried ADHD meds in the past but the negatives (mainly aggression) far outweighed the positives.
- Leelo has good receptive language for simple instructions, especially those regarding objects (e.g., "Pick up your clothes and put them in the bin"). He has limited comprehension of non-concrete topics.
- Leelo's expressive language is mostly limited to requests and simple concrete descriptions/responses (e.g., "The circle is blue.").
- Leelo knows letters, numbers, shapes, colors, etc. He can read his first and last name. He can write "Leelo." He is good at sorting and categorization. He enjoys doing simple puzzles. Specific information will come from his home program supervisor, M.
- Leelo is (mostly) schedule potty-trained, on 45 - 60 minute intervals. He needs to be told to go, and accompanied to, the toilet, and may need some prompting for individual tasks (e.g., "Leelo, pull up pants"). However he can use the toilet, manage his clothes, and wash his hands independently. He is unlikely to produce anything other than urine at school.
- Leelo does not yet have the fine-motor skills to manage zippers, buttons, etc. However he can hold a crayon/pencil and write his name.
- Leelo has very good gross motor skills. He is good at climbing, running, swimming, and jumping, and has excellent balance. He can ride a tricycle and a scooter. His upper body strength is not as developed as his lower, and so he needs to be encouraged to hang from bars/trapezes, etc.
- Transitions can be difficult. Both verbal and visual cues/reminders are helpful.
- Leelo can lash out, hitting, pinching, or scratching peoples' arms, when he is upset. He also enjoys getting a big reaction from these actions. Usually the reason is clear in hindsight. He can usually be reminded to tap shoulders (say "Leelo, tap tap") and then prompted to ask for what he wants afterwards ("I want..."). Trying to ignore his outbursts and then redirecting him can also be helpful.
- Leelo is not currently taking any medications except Claritin for seasonal allergies.