Note: This author of this letter has asked to remain anonymous, so we are posting this for them.
Yesterday C and I discussed mandatory non-electronic down time after school (and what qualifies), then the importance of doing homework and chores before electronics.
He rolled around on the floor and moaned for a short time when it came time to do chores, and then he suddenly sat up and with pursed eyebrows said, "I'm feeling overwhelmed." I asked him if he would like me to help him with his first chore (which really was not much help, but it appeared like less work when I organized it for him). He said he did want help, quit fussing, did the chore, and then proceeded to complete the next chore. He had no homework, so he was able to play on his tablet until dinner time. After dinner, he was so tired he went to bed on his own.
TODAY: He came home and set the timer for down time (at the time I was reading his papers from school, which he remembered to give me on his own), and then he went outside to do his chores. WITHOUT REMINDERS. I didn't even realize he had set the timer until I looked down from the papers I was reading.
PLUS: He played with actual kids again today, AND! He got the other kids in his after school program to play a game with the teacher. !!!! AND! He verbalized to me that lunch was stressful because someone took his lunch box and teased him about it, but he handled it and didn't fall apart. Plus, he TALKED about it after school when I came to pick him up.
AND: I did not get a single phone call from the school today, and he didn't visit the school nurse, even though he has a cold.
This is the same child who had multiple severely aggressive meltdowns every day just a couple of months ago, and who was homeschooled most of last year because his anxiety was so bad that he couldn't attend school.
And he didn't even have gum to chew at school. Plus, he has been brushing his teeth twice a day, and he asked me for deodorant!
I'm not saying every day is like this. Just yesterday I got calls from both the teacher and the nurse multiple times, and I had to leave work to pick him up early from school because he was in the nurse's office too many times and he couldn't handle staying after school for his program.
Still, I'd say there were so many wins today that it's hard to even believe. In my mind I can still see that timer ticking away, a timer set without prompts or fits.
Danny Raede, I think you may have just given us the right tool box, and also the exact instructions we needed to use them.