Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lunch at School

I have been taking K.C. to the elementary school in our neighborhood every day. I am trying to get him used to eating in the cafeteria with all the noise and commotion. We leave our house around 11:00 a.m. and try to beat the Summer schoolers before their classes let out at 11:30 a.m. K.C. is doing a good job of waiting in line to get his lunch, he needs help the entire time. His ABA therapist made him a "lunchtime" schedule going through each of the steps so that he'll know what to expect when we are there. Since going to the cafeteria with K.C. and getting lunch, I didn't realize how many steps there are in the whole process. Some take going to lunch for granted and never think twice about it but with an Autistic kiddo each and every step has to be made into a plan, we definitely think twice about it and sometimes more. Picking up his "drink" (choosing) then carrying drink to get "tray" and seeing the choices for lunch and making a choice, all the while remembering he has to hang on to, "drink and tray." K.C. couldn't do both so I let him hold "drink" and I carried "tray." He became preoccupied with the kids shirt in front of us and kept trying to "sniff" the kids shirt again an again, all the while I am trying to keep him focused on lunch. When I did redirect him he let out two sharp screams that scared the little girl behind us. Today corn dogs, applesauce, french fries and frozen fruit slushy type thing was what K.C. thought he'd want. We sat down and "Sit up" then I put his lunch in front of him. He has seen me open his apple juice a lot but his little hands can't get the darn thing opened. They are tough to open. Little by little the children started filtering in to the cafeteria and K.C. watched closely. 4 little girls sat near us and K.C. kept trying to touch her clothes and poke her back. I redirected him and apologized to the little girl (she didn't seem to mind at all but still..). He did eat half of his corn dog and when it appeared he was finished I helped him carry his tray and empty it into certain bins because this is a recycling school. No meltdowns and a pretty happy kiddo today, we'll keep going as much as possible each and every day.
K.C. will be in 1 st grade in August. I am wondering if I should pack his lunch? He has allergies to dairy and I am wondering if his new teacher will make sure he has nothing dairy if he does eat at school. I am worried he'll be made fun of at lunch time too. My sister says even if he does get made fun of he won't understand it. I know I should stop panicking over this but I am really worried.


redheadmomma said...

That's wonderful that you're getting him used to the lunchroom - seriously - the effort you put into making sure he's successful should win an award!

I wanted to say that I think everyone has the same fear as you do - that our kids will be made fun of - especially when our kids are on the spectrum and do strange things. And I think that although that is inevitable, you can be a guiding force on helping the staff help him, and help others understand him better. The more they understand him, the less they'll make fun of him. At least that's my theory.

And I'd also like to throw out there that when our children are being made fun of, it brings back when WE were teased as kids, and so it might be a good thing to really work on conquering any remaining demons regarding your past - it may help you in the here and now. Hope this helps you even a little bit! Take care! R

kristina said...

Charlie has never bought lunch---all those steps are a lot to work through! How independent would the teacher want him to be? The boys in his class all bring lunch and it works out fine...... Charlie would notice being made fun of, even though his face may not register it.

A lunchroom is so much to deal with---smells and food and noise and all!

JUST A MOM said...

hey you,,, I will say this then go down and read the last one

gretchen said...

It's great that you are doing this! Really good thinking!

I almost always pack Henry's lunch. I started doing that mostly because he is really particular and is also allergic to milk. In kindergarten we tried having him buy lunch once and he didn't like it- he liked the comfort and routine of bringing lunch from home. Last year, in first grade, we started having him buy lunch once in awhile, and he tried some new things that surprised me!

I think Henry's class would often eat in their classroom instead of the cafeteria. I had mixed feelings about that. I understand why, because the cafeteria at his school is totally out of control. But I also would like Henry to interact more with the rest of the school.

It sounds like K.C. is doing great with this new routine!

Anonymous said...

Hi KC's Mommy,
My name is Maria Counts and I work for a publishing company that focuses on books about autism/asperger syndrome. We are currently working on a children's book entitled "Autistic Planet."
If you would be interested in contacting me via e-mail I will send you a press release and if you would like a gratis copy for review as well.
Thank you,

Maria Counts
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.

Lora said...

You are such an awesome mommy Tina! You always go the extra mile it takes to make things more comfortable for the boys. I truly admire your hard work and dedication, you are so darn cool woman!!!!!!! We love you guys and send big hugs to all of you!