Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

"Who's On First in Riley World"
Episode 2: Back to School

This is the second installment of "Who's On First in Riley World". On Monday Riley went back to school after two weeks at home. Thankfully we were able to postpone the start of an early summer vacation as R has now been assigned a different SEA (Special Education Assistant) for the remainder of this school year. I met with R’s Case Manager and “BW” last week to discuss Riley’s needs, strengths and challenges. In preparation for Monday, I took R in to meet BW this past Friday. 

Now on Monday afternoons R goes to work experience at a local elementary school library.  They bus to work from school and then R busses home on his own (his SEA waits with him until he gets on the bus and we meet him at the bus stop at our end). Yes that is what we mean by riding the bus "by himself" at this point. R calls us when he gets on the bus or that is what is “supposed” to happen.  Here is what happened on Monday:

I get a phone call from R at 2:15pm (usual time being 2:45):
R:         I’m on the bus.
Me:       You’re ON the bus or AT the bus stop???
R:         I’m at the bus stop.
Me:       Are you AT the bus stop or are you still at the library?
R:         I’m at the library.
Me:       Is BW with you?
R:         Yes she is.
Me:       Can I talk to BW please?
R:         Yes.  (I hear shuffling then R hangs up. Oish!*)

I call R back on his cell phone.
R:         Hello.
Me:       Hi Riley.  It’s mom.
R:         Hi mom.
Me:       Is BW with you?
R:         Yes she’s with me.
Me:       (This time I pose the question clearly with a direction. Gawd…will I EVER learn?!?)
Can you please give the phone to BW?  (I hear him handing her the phone..phew)

I then talked with BW. Apparently they had arrived early and had finished the work so were going to head back to school. No problem. About 20 minutes later G looks outside and sees R walking back and forth on our sidewalk outside the front window. Hmmm…this is different. Not like R to not come in the house. We go open the door and R walks in happy as a clam. G & I are most confused. R...not so much. I decide, with all my wisdom, to try and ask Riley what happened:

R:         I took the bus home. (Most pleased with himself)
Me:       Did you take the bus home by yourself or with BW?
R:         By myself.  It was a different bus.
Me:       A different bus?? (WTF???)
R:         The 246 bus. “Insert Realtor’s name here” was on the back.
Me:       (Ohhh…I get it now, the advertisement on the back of the bus was different.) Where was BW?
R:         At the bottom of the driveway.
Me:       (Hmmm…thinking to myself. OK so he rode the bus home “by himself” but BW was at the bottom of 
             our driveway. Pretty sure BW must’ve been at the bottom of the driveway as that’s not something R 
             would normally say.  I go out to look, of course she’s not there as who knows how long R was
             standing out front. Oish.)

Within minutes BW calls and fills in the blanks. Apparently they went to catch the bus and of course BW is not familiar with the bus schedule/routes and R is very good at following his regular routine. They get on the bus and R tells BW when it’s time to get off. Unfortunately for BW they were not at the school…fortunately for R…they were at home. When they got to the bottom of our driveway Riley told BW that “our house was closed” which basically meant “thanks, I’m good from here.”  BW read his cues perfectly and responded appropriately even though she then had to find her way back to school on her own. *sigh*

The long and short of it is I still find it so interesting how aware "we" need to be as to the level of Riley’s communication skills when he is placed in a situation that is not the norm. Speaking from experience, nothing can be taken for granted in Riley World. Can anybody else out there relate?  Anybody?  Anybody at all???

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