Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Torn/Missing “Dots” Communication Sheet

Each day my daughter Ricki (who is integrated into a normal classroom) takes to school a “dots” sheet. This is a communication sheet between me and the aide. It includes her schedule of classes, with color coding to differentiate between in-class and out-class (private tutoring ) periods. In addition, there is space for me to write information for the aide (pictures for geography are in the green folder, tomorrow Ricki will come an hour late, etc.) and for the aide to write me (tomorrow send money for an activity, tomorrow will be science instead of math, etc.).
There is also an area for the aide to draw “smiles” if Ricki behaves, and frowns if she doesn’t. Usually she does behave, as her “right” to watch computer for half an hour in the afternoon is dependent on her marks. (To see a picture of a sheet, see here.)
Now, irregardless of the fact that she has Down syndrome, Ricki is one smart kid. And since gazing at the computer screen is one of her biggest pleasures in life, she takes care to behave. However, as with all of us, the yetzer hara (evil inclination) taps her on the shoulder on occasion, and, as for most of us, she does not always succeed in ignoring his wiles. When that happens, Ricki has a problem. And she has several ways of rectifying it:
1. Cross out the frown and draw a smile (or otherwise effect the change to a smile)
2. Tear out a bit of the sheet, where the aide wrote WHAT her heinous deeds were (the aide does this to thwart Ricki’s first tactic)
3. If all else fails, “lose” the sheet. (This option creates extra problems in that ANY information left by the aide gets lost.)

Well, Ricki may be a smart kid, but Mommy is no dummy, and all lost/torn sheets result in a phone call to the aid. The most that she can accomplish is a short interval of avoiding blame, but the truth eventually catches up with her.
So that doesn’t sound so smart, does it?

So why do I think it will work? Why do I think that the snuck piece of cheesecake won’t show up on the scale? Do I think that the repercussions of overweight will just fly “Peter Pan” over me to someone else?!??? Why do I act as if I can do whatever I want, without repercussions?

Elul is here, and Tishrey is fast approaching. By Jewish tradition, this is the time of year that it is easier to repent. Now is the time.


G6 said...

Why do smart people do dumb things?
There's a week's worth of wondering right there......

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

Inspiring message.

But perhaps you can have a new method of communicating with the aide. It doesn't sound right for it to be done in a way where Ricki can see what's written. If she knows how to read, which it seems like she does, then I think there has to be a new method.

Perhaps the aide can put it in an envelope first and seal it. Or put it directly into Ricki's knapsack without her being aware of where it is.

Or perhaps she can scan it and e-mail it to you, or fax it over?

Or keep things the way they are and Ricki will learn not to tamper with them.

rickismom said...

No, Ricki has to know that there is "din v'cheshbon" (consequences)if she misbehaves. It's the only thing that keeps her acting halfway acceptably.
If we need to have an analytical discussion about her behavior, we do by phone.