I’m (hopefully) going to write a shorter post today because Eli has been asking me now for a couple of weeks to get a schedule together for him to start some formal learning again. He says he’s bored and enjoys the formal learning rhythm. Eli enjoys predictability; he loves feeding his mind. He enjoys schedules, probably due to his high functioning autism. On the other hand, being that he is 15, I would like to encourage him over the next year to take more responsibility for his own schedules and goal-setting. He didn’t stop his formal learning until mid-June because he wanted to complete some of the books he was working from. That was the longest he ever went before. On the other hand, he is a bit of a home-body and isn’t big on the out-of-doors. He continued with his computer programming and piano on his own over the past couple of months. He also attended three (or four?) youth camps without supports (parents in tow) 🙂 and grew in confidence.
He recently shared with me, “I feel like I’m younger than I’m supposed to be.” (This is typical conversation starters with him, so I know how to tease out what he is feeling or trying to convey.) It seems he has finally noticed that “others seem to know things that I’m supposed to know, but I don’t”. I knew he wasn’t talking about book smarts, because he recognizes in himself, and others notice as well, that this is an asset. He was talking about “street smarts”. This is another on-going request from him over the past few months . . . he wants to learn more social skills, executive skills, and perspective taking. About three months ago, I had some time at a dentist visit or something, waiting for a child, and I jotted down about fifteen “skills” that Eli doesn’t have, but are inhibiting his quality of relationships or ability to be independent. So, I have a starting point . . .
This is a big year for Eli as he has become cognizant of this arena and is eager to understand it and incorporate its tenets into his life, which means it is a big year for me to commit to facilitating his needs for growth in this area. No small task, let me tell you! So any advice for resources would be greatly appreciated, particularly from those with experience with high functioning autism.
Well, I’m off to do the easy part . . . get a schedule for him of his formal learning goals!
Eli with his best friend, Seth:
Eli at the computer, where you will find him every day: