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Lunchtimes - should I challenge his routine?

(5 Posts)
WilsonFrickett Sat 19-Jan-13 12:39:20

From what I can gather, at school DS eats lunch very slowly, plays for about 10 minutes then helps the (much loved) TA clear up all the equipment. He gets a sticker for this. A new lunchtime activity is starting and DS would enjoy it, and I'd like him to do it. He won't entertain the idea however, because he then won't be there to do the tidy up.

It's become clear this is a very fixed routine/ritual for him. On the one hand thats fine - its helping him cope with playtime, he enjoys it, he does it with one other boy, etc. On the other hand, I'm always a bit worried about obsessive routine with him and this term we're starting to focus much more on his social skills at school, including activities 'for him'.

I'm thinking of saying to school 'at least once a week I don't want him to do the tidy up' - what do people think? Am I getting my knickers in a knot over nothing? I don't want playground time to be stressful for DS but equally think his adherence to this means he's missing opportunities.

Thoughts anyone?

PolterGoose Sat 19-Jan-13 13:26:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WilsonFrickett Sat 19-Jan-13 23:47:09

Good point. Oh these splinters are really hurting my bum!

starfishmummy Sun 20-Jan-13 15:20:31

I think gentle encouragement from you and his ta might be a good idea - but without pushing it too hard.
Also ask how the activity will be organised - is it limited numbers or can anyone go; and can he dip in and out - which might work for him (does for my ds)

AgnesDiPesto Sun 20-Jan-13 20:57:47

I'd vote for changing the routine because its become a barrier to doing other things.

When I went on a PECS course the trainer told a story about a boy who went for lunch at college - he sat down while his 1:1 lined up, put his food on his tray and then sat down with him and he ate. On the day the PECS trainer was there he sat looking at his food but didn't eat any. She asked why - so the 1:1 told him to eat - and he started eating - he was dependent on her prompt which had inadvertently become part of the routine - he thought he couldn't eat until he was told! Because the 1:1 was chatting to the trainer she hadn't said anything - she had changed the routine without realising. Obviously he could not go through life waiting for someone to tell him when he could eat - so the PECS trainer advised changing the whole routine - as that can be easier than just changing one part. They got him to line up, him to get his own food and put it on the tray himself, and then go and sit down and start eating. They were able to fade the prompt out because the whole routine was different.

So if your DS is saying no to an activity he would enjoy more than tidying up then I would want to change things - but it may be easier to come up with a completely new routine than keep it the same except for one time a week. It may actually be easier to vary it alot from day to day than just be different that one day.

I think there is a difference between comfort from a routine e.g. a list / timetable of what going to do each day and a rigidity - a complete inability to vary the routine.

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