Friday, September 6, 2013

Homeschooling Chet

Chet has turned 28 and his formal homeschooling classes ended years and years ago.  He did well, as he is academically bright.  However, he has fairly profound social deficits and despite keeping a wide circle of social opportunities open to him, as he has gotten older he has become less and less facile in these settings.

This is obviously troubling to me.  Part of this stems from almost a delayed adolscence.  You know how teens push boundaries and test with their language etc?  Chet didn't really do that in the classic way as a teen.  If he misspoke it was because he copied a word and didn't understand it.  But I guess no developmental stage can ever be truly skipped so here we are with it.

The other component is that Chet has developed a passion for really inane  animation.  (Think Family Guy and others of that ilk) Also, I say "passion" as only a person who has Aspergers can have it.  A very single minded focus.

The animation thing kind of got by me for a while.  Since he is an adult I monitor his TV very lightly.  I make sure he is not watching super scary things as I know he triggers depression for himself with those, but other than that, I really did not involve myself much in his TV choices.  Also, much of his viewing would happen when I am at work, leaving me somewhat clueless as to the amount that he was actually watching.  Because he needs to have his own space more than anyone else in the house, he is the only person who has a TV in his bedroom.  This too, while necessary contributed to the problem.

I can't totally stop what he has glommed onto for his viewing. Too much push against that and he is going to be agitated and feel that I am taking the best thing in the world away from him.  So instead I told him that we formally started the new homeschool year and that he was having a class in social conversation this year.  Each night he is charged with watching something on TV that you need some brain cells to understand. LOL  He has a list of possible shows and the channels they are found on .  He is to watch it and then come tell me about it while I clean up from supper.

In true Chet fashion, he loves this because it is "research" and "data".  And he showed up eager to share, with a clip board where he had made copious notes.  He proceeded to read from the clipboard without coming up for air for many minutes.  Also in true Chet fashion, I could not get a word in edgewise or slow him down. It was a train that was running full tilt down the data track at 100 mph.  So I let it run.  Otherwise, he would decide that I wasn't really interested and be angry instead of engaged.

So a bunch of nights went with him reading to me from his clipboard.  Last night before he got to pick up the clipboard I explained that he had done so well that now we were moving onto the next challenge of his course.  The conversation part.  He needed to launch the topic and provide some data but also to work at going back and forth with me about it.

I actually felt badly for him as he truly looked terrified when he put the clipboard down.  I made him turn it over as he kept craning his neck and trying to see it.  I said he could refresh his memory first if he wanted to, but it wasn't that. It was just that a clipboard or a notebook is security for him. But it also is an obstacle to engaging with a person. People are always unnerving at some level for him.  Inanimate objects and facts are much safer.

However he did pretty well with it and we talked about the growing problem of the new drug Molly in our area. What he could still not get was when to end a converation. That is definately a work in progress.  But at least he is watching less trash tv and engaging more healthfully.  Hopefully this will help him when we are at functions, outings and at church.  He loves all those things and I would so love for him to be more successful at them.

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