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Friday, June 15, 2007

Employment Opportunity for Boy with Aspergers

Boy has been offered money in return for making clay figures that represent emotions. He is a dab hand at the clay work - one of his strengths. Step-father and I were proudly showing off Boy's clay figurines to a colleague of mine and she immediately offered Boy money in return for making her a bag full of symbols that somehow express a range of emotions.

A sandplay therapist, my colleague stated she struggled to find symbols with faces on - not the normal happy, angry or sad faces readily available on cheap children's toys, but faces that capture the range of human emotion - curiosity, grief, anxiety, etc. One of her students had made some faces out of clay but they were now broken, stolen or worn. It was time to replace her feeling symbols and in Boy's clay work she recognised an opportunity.

The cottage industry started during this mornings home school. Boy has been requesting arts and crafts so I pulled out the Sculpey clay and informed Boy of my colleague's offer. Boy heard "money" and jumped at the chance.

During his eagerness Boy made things that he wanted to make. While I sat beside him and calmly moulded clay, I attempted to inform Boy that this was a contract that meant he had to make what the client wanted: symbols that expressed a range of emotions.

Bad move! What an argument we had and I bought into his Aspergers melt down and insults toward me. I'm an idiot, I know nothing, how would I know what kids like, etc, etc. It went on for 45 minutes. I was so angry that I yelled at Boy: "Stop acting like an Aspergers person." Oh good one Megan! He is a kid with Aspergers.

Despite the toxicity and heightened emotion of our today's home school, we did manage to produce a few emotion symbols (pictured). I think he modelled the angry and scary ones on my face!!!! We have now made up and resolved to start afresh tomorrow. He stated that when I was naming all the emotions his head got jumbled up and he started to melt down. Good learning for me here. Tomorrow I will simply allow Boy to check his emotions against the "feeling faces" poster we have on the wall.

This is Boy's employment opportunity - his cottage industry. I will keep my emotion and professional knowledge out of this and allow Boy to experience the exchange of cash for goods and services for himself.

And...I've given up smoking today. This is not the best day to do anything stress provoking!


L said...

Very impressive, Boy! Those are terrific!

Hang in there without the cigarettes, Megan.

A sympathetic, mostly ex-smoker

Megan Bayliss said...

Thanks L. I need support to make sure I don't dare smoke a cigarette.

I read Boy your comments and he said, "Thank you."

Kaber said...

Those are great!

sorry about the meltdown, but it's really not a whole lot different than a teen boy meltdown.... when parents are idiots and know nothing. well, except with our aspi's it's a whole heck of a lot harder to get them' back'

Hope he and you have a better week!

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