This post originally appeared in February 2010.
An update on the organization wars:
I think we have reached an apex of tumult in our offices that not even the boys can figure out where all their books, notes and study guides are. Highschoolboy reluctantly agreed to organize his room with hubby’s help. As I have mentioned before, HSB uses a lot of his “no” issues to get dad to help him with studying. I am definitely convinced that he likes the one on one time with his father. He in fact will say to me that he will wait to do “such and such with dad.” So tell me again how persons with autism are unattached and unemotional and unfeeling.
Well anyway they worked together last night to straighten up that whirlwind of chaos that was his desk. His books, those having nothing to do with school were put on shelves. The garbage was thrown away and the floor cleaned, swept and spills wiped up. There is no longer that odd smell of something rotting. Which is good. I was teasing HSB that the reason he got sick right before vacation was the fact that his room was an experiment in growing your own bacteria. He did not find it funny, but I did. Sometimes teenagers just have no sense of humor.
But today is going to be the fun “organize with dad” event. Collegeman has accepted the fact that he needs to create some order in his mind’s eye. I am not totally convinced that he doesn’t know where everything is in his world, but it cannot remain the way it is. He takes notes as he reads. A good thing. But the papers are left in piles on the floor. Everything is still strewn about and I do believe he is starting to misplace some important information and papers.
He has to write a legal brief for his criminal law class and the information is dispersed under these papers. Then he needs to start researching a term paper on that Iranian nut job Ahmedinejad for his leadership class. How did he get stuck with the Iranian Mishugennah (crazy person for all those that don’t speak Yiddish)? He asked for him. (Collegeman is very worried about a “nuclear Iran,” and the threat it implies towards another holocaust. We try to help him understand that there are those working on the issue, both in the USA and in Israel. That they know what they are doing (well we hope) and that there are those fighting and dying to stop the terrorists, such as the offensive in Afghanistan that our wonderful brave men and women are presently fighting.)The coach told me that all the other students asked for the more conventional type of leader, meaning western recognized and with a lot of information available. The professor seemed to be impressed and even brought collegeman a book to help him with his paper. (Just as an aside, the professor did tell the coach that collegeman, whom he had not had in a class for two years, was doing quite well. YEAH)
Anyway, back to organization…we have given him manila folders to organize by book, chapter, topic, and class. He will write with a sharpie on the folder the categorical title he wants to give and then put the papers away. Remember he needs to create the organization/titles, so he knows where everything is. We may help him but it’s his mind that has to identify and understand the system. He will start to put his books back in his draws. Luckily that room does not have that faint odor of decay yet, but I think it’s just because since hubby does venture in there on some odd expedition he periodically removes anything left behind that could attract uninvited miniature guests to the home.
The next big item to tackle though is going to be that backpack. OMG. I have never seen anything like that in my life. I honestly think that collegeman is getting a little worse when it comes to what he brings with him back and forth from school. I do understand that it is because he is unsure what he may need at any given moment, but he carries all his books for a particular class and then the class books that he wants to study while he is in the car going back and forth to school. I know the catalyst for this obsession was that one day last year, he actually didn’t have the book he needed with him and felt totally lost in class. I know he felt stupid that day and it is not a feeling he neither likes nor wants to repeat. No matter how many times we tell him that it’s ok to make mistakes. Granted none of us like that feeling, but its different when you have an anxiety and OCD driven child who tries to avoid that feeling at all costs to himself.
One day recently, he did have a hard time in a class when he forgot one of the books he thought he might need and he asked the coach to talk to him in the hall. The coach talked him through the anxiety and went back in. Good for collegeman that he knew that that was what he needed to do. The sad thing and yes I say sad thing, is that that book wasn’t even needed that day. But collegeman’s OCD had kicked in and there was no way he was going to get through that incident on his own. I know, at least he knew to ask for help and the help was there. I just want him to get to the place where he doesn’t have to worry about these things, or that when the worries come up he can help himself and move on. I know that that will come as he has gotten better continually over the years, but as his parent, I just wish things were easier for him. I know “So say we all.” (My reference to Battle Star Galactica, which by the way, what a stupid ending, instead of creating Atlantis they go off to die of preventable diseases. So how smart were they really?)
So we shall see how it goes. I know the rooms will be straight and the work will get done. It is that massive bottomless pit of a backpack for collegeman that will be the new battleground today. But I think if we get him into a “straighten, organize and clean-up mode” then it may get done. Next on the agenda: how to work with him to not have to carry everything that doesn’t fit into the backpack in his hands. There is always something to work on isn’t there? Time for more coffee.
Until next time,
P.S. Today is St. Valentine’s Day. It is a holiday dedicated to love and joy. It is a holiday in remembrance of a Christian martyr tortured and killed by the ancient Romans because he preached peace and love, albeit from a different perspective than one they were used to. I have never been able to understand why people get so upset by the concept of peace, love, joy, or happiness especially when it’s about compassion, understanding and respect for others. Personally I do like this holiday. A little more LOVE, COMPASSION and UNDERSTANDING in society can be a good thing for our children.
P.S.S. I did get two very nice hug/squeezes