One of my boys with #Autism had a horrible time at the after school program and I could use some advice

I mentioned earlier that we signed the boys up for the after program. Emmett really wanted to do it but didn’t, at all.

It didn’t logistically make sense to pick Elliott up after school, only to have to turn around and go back for Emmett a short while later. We weren’t going to make six trips between school and home just so Elliott didn’t have to participate.

Lizze and I decided that it would be good for Elliott to be a part of this free, after school program, even though he wanted nothing going to do with it.

For starters, it’s only once a week for less than two hours after school. Several of his friends are there and it doesn’t have to be about tutoring.
The idea behind this is to give the kids a chance to socialize, get extra help with their or school work, play educational games on the computers and partake in other educational/fun activities with their friends.

Emmett is all about learning and would go everyday if he could.

Elliott went today and didn’t put up a fuss, which was a total but pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, that ended the moment the after school program began.

Apparently, he freaked out so much that the school had to call us.

Gavin and I had gotten to the school a bit early cause we were already out and figured I would write while plays his tablet.

With about 45 minutes left in the program, I get a phone call from just as one of the teachers is walking out to talk to me in the lacking lot.

The school explained that Elliott was really upset and wanted to come home.

Lizze, myself and the school decided that rescuing Elliott was not the right thing to do. We instead made him finish the day, which only amounted to about 20 minutes because Emmett finished up a bit early.

We didn’t want to have to pull Emmett out simply because Elliott didn’t want to be there. We also really believe that this is a good experience for Elliott and yes, we talked it over with Dr. Pattie prior to everything.

When it was time for them to come home, Elliott begged me not to send him anymore but I stood my ground and said that he would continue to go because there’s no reason why he shouldn’t. This essentially amounts to him being upset because we’re making him do something he doesn’t want to do.

All the reasons he lists for not wanting to go are just excuses and obvious ones at that.

The ride home was really unpleasant but we turned the day around shortly after and all was right with the world once again.

They only have one more day of the program for November, mostly because of the holidays and I’m not sure what we’re going to do for December. We sign up for one month at a time.

Maybe we send Emmett and not Elliott but I just don’t know.  I do know that we’re making him finish out the month. That just means he goes next Thursday and that’s it.

I really think this is a positive thing to have them participate in. I also think the social side of this is extremely important for my kids as well.

Lizze and I need to talk about next month but I’m wondering what you would do if you were in our shoes? Would you make him go or not? Why or why not?

Also, there’s no or safety reasons for Elliott not wanting to go. He just doesn’t want to go.

Please leave your feedback below. . . ☺



, , , ,

Post navigation

  • I’m new to your blog so forgive me for being green. I think you are correct in having him go however, if the class teachers and support are not going to reinforce, or provide the proper reinforcement inline with you and your wife want then you are only confusing him more. He’ll act out as he wants to get the response he is intending to control the situation. Obviously comes in to play and issues, sounds, smells or other aspects are bothering him hence, him wanting to not be there. I get the aspect of wanting to change his behaviors but maybe you or the wife need to be there for the entire session as a fly on the wall and him know your presence. See if that perception of safety for him makes him cling and act out, or reinforce that it’s ok for him to explore more and be, step outside the shell a bit. (Dad is here and I’m safe) Your observation for that 2 horus will give you a ton more information than the teacher / room guardian will that is specific to your son and his needs.

    • For starters, it’s awesome to meet you. �

      So we’re on the same page, this is a charter for kids with . We’ve been heavily involved with this school for over a decade. I think the issue is rooted in the simple fact that he just doesn’t want to be there.

      As a result of rather extreme , it sorta spirals.

      The school it totally on board and worked really well with him during this whole thing.

      I’m not sure if that cleared anything up for you. Does this give you anymore insight?

      Thanks KS again for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts. �

  • For starters, it’s awesome to meet you. �

    So we’re on the same page, this is a charter for kids with . We’ve been heavily involved with this school for over a decade. I think the issue is rooted in the simple fact that he just doesn’t want to be there.

    As a result of rather extreme , it sorta spirals.

    The school it totally on board and worked really well with him during this whole thing.

    I’m not sure if that cleared anything up for you. Does this give you anymore insight?

    Thanks KS again for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts. �

  • Awesome job sticking to your guns for the first day! You probably need more data before you can decide on December. See how the next visit goes. It may be that he already knows he can’t push the buttons to escape early and abandons the idea OR well… you know what the OR looks like 🙂 Regardless, its probably too soon to decide what to do for December. (just my two cents 🙂 )

  • I think I would encourage him to go. Outside of the immediate and extended families, your kids have very little social interaction and is really the only time they get to interact with their peers. It is important to develop those social skills. They don’t have play dates so this is really the only time they get to form non-familial relationships. That said, I find myself wondering if you and realize how often is made to do something because it’s what Emmett wants? There are links on the blog to old posts which I occasionally read, and it seems like Emmett’s wishes and demands come first. Emmett wants to play Uno so Elliott is made to play even though he didn’t want to. Emmett’s socks are bothering him so Trick or Treating has to end. Emmett is hungry so you can’t walk the track. Emmett gets to fall asleep in Mom and Dad’s bed. Emmett gets to leave school early to go to what looks like playground therapy. I get that the socks are a issue and that OT is helping with that, but to a 10 year old middle child? It seems like he is always being forced to do what his younger brother wants to do. Elliott is not only suffering from being the most typical of your children (which means he does not warrant a lot of specialized attention), but he has the misfortune of being the middle ‘Jan Brady’ child as well. He really does get the short end of the stick on a regular basis.

    • Kim,

      Elliott doesn’t have to do or not do things because of Emmett. Sometimes it happens, as it does in any . Frankly, is the one that gets his way most often. In all the years that Emmett wanted to do this after program, this is the first year we did it, despite Elliott’s protests.

      Yes, Elliott’s the middle child and that’s not always easy.

      The bottom line is that 3.5 hours of after school program isn’t going to kill him. We probably won’t make him go in the future but he is going to finish the last day next week.

      I realize that you only get to see or hear what I share and I appreciate your concern as always. You’re just going to have to trust that we were working good with Dr. Pattie and the school to do what’s best for him.

  • I would tell my children, “You have a week almost to script and remind him that he is a big boy and that he has at least the one day left to go. You need him to finish that one day and try to find at least one good thing about being there.” It’s hard to make our kiddos do something that they are really afraid to do and I know that they can be stubborn and their perception of events can vary from reality. I also tell my kids that we all have to do things in life that we don’t want to and this is one of those things.

    • You’re exactly right. Change isn’t easy and when is involved, it’s worse. That being said, we do prepare ahead of time when appropriate.

      I want my kids to be themselves but they also need to be able to function within society, at least to some extent.

      This is a positive and healthy thing for to be doing. He doesn’t like it and certainly doesn’t accurately perceive the situation. He told us that he was there alone because he wasn’t with Emmet. However, his teachers explained that at least 5 of his friends were there with him and they were all hanging out together.

      There are some things going on with Elliott that likely transcend and anxiety alone. What those things are is something we’re working on..

  • Kim,

    Elliott doesn’t have to do or not do things because of Emmett. Sometimes it happens, as it does in any . Frankly, is the one that gets his way most often. In all the years that Emmett wanted to do this after program, this is the first year we did it, despite Elliott’s protests.

    Yes, Elliott’s the middle child and that’s not always easy.

    The bottom line is that 3.5 hours of after school program isn’t going to kill him. We probably won’t make him go in the future but he is going to finish the last day next week.

    I realize that you only get to see or hear what I share and I appreciate your concern as always. You’re just going to have to trust that we were working good with Dr. Pattie and the school to do what’s best for him.

  • You’re exactly right. Change isn’t easy and when is involved, it’s worse. That being said, we do prepare ahead of time when appropriate.

    I want my kids to be themselves but they also need to be able to function within society, at least to some extent.

    This is a positive and healthy thing for to be doing. He doesn’t like it and certainly doesn’t accurately perceive the situation. He told us that he was there alone because he wasn’t with Emmet. However, his teachers explained that at least 5 of his friends were there with him and they were all hanging out together.

    There are some things going on with Elliott that likely transcend and anxiety alone. What those things are is something we’re working on..

  • Rob been there. I made him go. If it is a safe environment and once a week it is something that will just take time for him to adjust to it and it’s not hurting him. This is a great chance to learn about living in the world in a safe spot! ����

  • Thank you