So Tommy sometimes won't turn in his assignments at school.
There are two reasons for this 1) he has social anxiety that comes with his Aspergers so if he's confused about something, he stays quiet and just doesn't do the work and 2) he's lazy.
I get that it's tough for him to speak but he cannot and I will not let him use Aspergers as an excuse. Yes, the teachers are aware that he has Aspergers and yes, he does have an IEP. But the teachers are not there to babysit. They can't keep asking one student to turn in their work or ask if he understands what's happening because guess what, they have 20 other students for like 7 periods a day.
And so, when I saw on his report card that he got A's and B's and oh, what's this a 74 in an elective class called Bookmania, I got annoyed. I contacted the teacher and asked what was up and she was said that Tommy didn't do the 3 journal entries that she assigned, therefore he received 3 0s. Had he done his journal work, he'd have gotten an A in the class and been on the Honor Roll.
I was annoyed and I knew I had to talk to Tommy. This was unacceptable. He knows better! How can he NOT turn something in? Doesn't he break out in hives? Or maybe that's just me. I thought people with Autism wanted to follow the rules. But then again, if you have social anxiety, maybe the rules are no longer important if you are able to stay silent and not risk embarrassing yourself.
I knocked on Tommy's door and said we needed to talk. He was busy playing Animal Crossing on his 3DS.
"Hold on. I'm catching bugs," he said.
"Um no. We need to talk about the 74 you got," I answered, taking his game.
Tom bit his lip. He knew what we were about to discuss.
"Why didn't you do your journal assignments?" I asked.
Tommy shrugged. Tears immediately welled up in his eyes. "I didn't understand.." he muttered.
"You can't just not do something. You need to ask questions," I reminded him. "If you're confused, ask questions. If you don't want to do it in front of people, wait until after class."
"But then I might be late for my NEXT class," Tommy said, twisting his fingers nervously.
"If you're confused, tell me, and I can ask the teacher. But don't just refuse to turn something in. You would have gotten an A in the class," I explained.
A tear slipped down Tommy's cheek. He doesn't like disappointing people. "I just--"
Natalie ran in at that moment and pointed at Tommy. "There are fifteen people in this house and you're the only one who has to make trouble."
I rolled my eyes. "No, there's not, Natalie and that's a quote from Home Alone. Go play."
"Yeah, go," Tommy huffed. He's not a fan of his sister. Maybe when they're older they'll get along, but for now she's much too loud and bossy for him. He would have nothing to do with her if he could, but she sort of pushes her way into his life.
"The cold never bothered me anyway!" Natalie snapped, walking out of the room. She slammed the door on her way out.
"She's so dumb," Tommy grumbled.
"Don't call people dumb," I lectured. "She's quoting Frozen now. It probably means I let you guys watch too much television, but well, Mommy needs some peace too. Anyway," I said, because Tommy started reaching for his iPod Touch, "no more zeros. If you do, I'm taking all your electronics away. You know better. You can DO better. You can DO this." I placed my hands on Tommy's shoulders and looked him in the eyes. "You can do this." I felt like Denzel Washington talking to the football team in Remember The Titans.
"Um, okay?" Tommy answered, because he wasn't sure what else to say. He's not a fan when people look him in his eyes.
"So no more zeros?" I questioned.
"No more zeros? Say it with me 'no more zeros! No more zeros!'"
Tommy's eyes darted from left to right. He finds me bizarre. "No more zeros?"
"And if you're confused, you'll...." I trailed off.
Tommy sighed. "Ask questions."
"If you're too nervous to ask a question tell me and I'll...."
"E-mail the teacher."
"No more zeros!" I said one last time.
"Geez. Okay. No more zeros. Can I play my game?"
"You're so lucky I'm not a Tiger Mom," I said, handing him his 3DS.
So fingers crossed that there aren't anymore zeros and that my motivational speech helped him out.