Remote Learning and Autism

Oh what a year…

March 2020 shut down was fucked up. Tucker was in a good place in school, achieving things academically, we were so proud of him. I couldn’t believe what he was capable of doing. Suddenly, we were all at home on computers, hand sanitizing, wearing face masks, and social distancing. Wow, is this really happening?

You know who loved a shutdown? Tucker. He was free from everyone. He didn’t have to answer to his Teachers, School Therapists, and Aide. He was living his best life. The ABA therapist still came over to my house…thank God. It was crazy, nobody understood what was going on with the world. As an individual living with Autism, Tucker loved to be left alone…#stayyourfuckingdistance.

Remote Learning Spring 2020…P.J’s, toys, and a TV remote.

So, with all of us being at home, I let him be free. Fuck, I even felt great not being a slave to my family’s routine. Baseball/school canceled and Chris’s work schedule limited…who wants a drink? ME! Sweet let’s start happy hour early. 

2020 Remote Learning was not bad in the Spring. The boys all adapted and the Teachers pivoted like Saints to this new norm. Chris was home and we had some good family moments, we slowed down.

Going into Summer it was still fucking strange, right? No parties, concerts, sports, etc…only a social distance BBQ with a small group of people. Holy fuck, the scramble to get shit in the Summer!! You were lucky to get your hands on weight equipment or outdoor shit (pools, trampolines, basketball hoops, heaters, fire pits, and/or patio shit). Golf was off the charts with trying to get a tee time. How about getting a reservation at an outside table? Everything is so insane!   

What is Tucker doing during all this? Still living his best fucking life. He was on fire running around my house, with toys in one hand and the TV remote in the other. He couldn’t have been happier. I was a pretty lazy parent, we all formed some shitty habits. It felt good didn’t it?

One Day, I’m sitting at the Dining Room table and Tucker is flying behind me. He has been like this all day.

Me: “Tucker.” Wouldn’t even flitch or look my way.

Me: “Tucker.” Still nothing. 

Me: “TUCKER!” He abruptly stops. 

Tucker: “What?”

Me: “Where is your brain at? You’re going too fast.” 

Tucker: “Nothing.” Starts running again. 

Me: “TUCKER!” 

Tucker: “What?”

Me: “Look at me, do you want something to eat or drink?” Fuck, did he eat today? 

Tucker: “Yes, Apple Juice.” His brain is beyond busy and starts running again. Damn.

To be in his brain…

It was suddenly so hard to get a connection with him. He was so far gone into whatever show he was watching on TV. He would replay whatever movie and/or TV show he last saw in his head. Tucker is talking and mumbling different sentences over and over, as he’s running. Also, this is where he gets at least 50% of his language skills from. He says many three-four word sentences that we have rehearsed daily. These sentences help him get what he needs throughout the day. Anything spontaneous is rare. The TV and movie dialogue is his jam. He can repeat seven word sentences from shit he sees on TV. He is definitely in the middle of watching something in his brain right now. Fuck he is running fast, please slow down.  

I even let him have control of our main TV. He carries the remote around like it’s life or death. He can select his own shows from OnDemand, Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, and whatever the fuck else we are streaming. I watched in awe how he can handle a remote. Wow. Tucker could navigate a TV remote with his eyes closed. Not to mention, he racked up an impressive Amazon Prime bill on the TV….$150 dollars one month. Shit, Fuck, Piss. We have passwords on everything else, but the amazon prime. I still haven’t figure it out. It fucking pisses me off. I hate how many streaming devices we have. It just never ends with new shows, movies, iPads, apps, and subscriptions. Damit. If I’m not paying attention, he keeps buying shit and watching it. We have banned Amazon Prime for the moment. Or so we think.

The Remote is Tucker’s World.

As we wrapped up Summer, I knew getting back to a routine on the computer for Remote Learning was not going to be easy. All my boys needed more structure. The snacking, youtube, video games, and talking back needed to end. Their innocence was being taken away, right before my very own eyes. Fucking Covid. I imagined them like this when they got older, just not now. Shit, when is this fucking pandemic going to come to an end?

The new school year was here and the boys were on the computer all day. Tucker did not do well. He started to withdraw from us and even became more frustrated and upset as the days went on. He was more annoyed with virtual learning and I was putting more demands on him. He would walk out the back door and get lost in the backyard. Where is he? While I’m inside the house looking for him upstairs. It was not a fun day for us. He stopped thriving and actually withdrew emotionally. That was another thing…the EMOTIONS. He was really starting to display sadness, being scared, upset, frustration, annoyance, crying, more stemming, running back and forth, and even making louder random noises than usual. I felt like I could not help him. At the end of the day, he wanted nothing to do with me or be around me for that matter. That definitely hurt my feelings. So, I had to look at the positive, he is developing feelings!! This is huge.

We now have entered the first week of November…it’s 10:30 am on Tuesday and Tucker has zoom music therapy. It was a random break in between his learning with the regular class AND HE FUCKING HATES IT. Okay, so let’s click the zoom link for music. 

Teacher: “Hi Tucker!!” She’s very excited with her guitar. 

Me: I whisper, “Say Hi Tucker….”

Tucker: “Hi.”

Teacher: “Tucker, what do you eat for Thanksgiving?”

Tucker: “Nothing.”

Me: “Say Turkey.”

Tucker: “Turkey.” He is a grumpy little fucker.

Teacher: “Yes Turkey!” She is happy with any response. “Luis or Crosby what else do we eat on Thanksgiving?” There’s two other boys who are beyond adorable on the screen. They are nonverbal, so the teacher calls on Tucker A LOT. He gets fucking pissed A LOT. 

Tucker: “Can I be done now? This makes my head boring.”

Me: I put us on mute. “We have 15 more minutes.” Fuck me. Come on Tucker let’s make the effort. 

Teacher: “Tucker, what do you like to eat for thanksgiving?” Shit, didn’t she already ask this? The Thanksgiving theme is even killing me on zoom this week.

Tucker: “Nothing.”

Teacher: “Nothing?”

Me: “Say McDonald’s.” We had to make this somewhat interesting.

Tucker: “McDonald’s.”

Teacher: “Oh wow, okay.” Teacher was thrown a curveball and doesn’t have a picture of Mcdonald’s on her visual board. She did her best to adapt to the new Thanksgiving food. We sang and danced about McDonald’s on Thanksgiving. Tucker is annoyed and could give a shit about Thanksgiving. I could easily have a drink right now.  

Continuing into November, the boys all got to go to school for 2.5 hours in the morning!! Yea Me! I loooooved those 2.5 hours. At first it wasn’t enough time, but it’s amazing how much YOU can get done in 2.5 hours. I was a maniac driving through town. I flew by a Cop one day, praying I was not going to get pulled over. Don’t mess with my fucking time…don’t you dare mess, I need my time. The Universe listened.  

After the holidays, shit was shifting at my house and I learned that I needed to allow Tucker more independence. This was hard for me. I’m constantly worried about him. His emotions are coming alive. I put on a good face, as I micromanaged the fuck out of him in my head. He wants to be like one of the “kids”. This is very exciting, but also as a parent, I was nervous. There always is that fear that someone would make fun of him, treat him like shit, or truly he doesn’t understand all the emotions in a given moment. I can’t help it, it’s frustrating. 

So, I have to fucking “let go”. We all encounter assholes everyday and want to protect our kids. There’s even asshole kids. So, I really need to let go. Seriously so many assholes out there, watch yourselves. 

We are now upon Spring 2021, Suddenly Tucker likes to talk back. Another emotion that I am shocked he has picked up and how I need to learn to navigate. WTF.  

We recently hired a Maid Service to come to the house. Super fucking pumped about this. On a normal day, the maids were at my house cleaning. I picked the boys up from school and they were cleaning the main floor. I needed the boys to go upstairs to continue remote learning in the afternoon. You thought I was giving them instructions to go to do something that was fucked up. We pulled into the house….

Me: “Boys take your backpacks straight upstairs, we are Remote Learning from your bedrooms today.” 

Denny: “Why?” 

Me: “The Maids are cleaning and we need to stay out of their way.” 

Denny: “Oh.” 

Patrick: “Wait, what?”

Me: “I need you to go upstairs with your back packs, because we have Maids cleaning the main floor.” 

Patrick: “Why?” Seriously, were you not fucking listening seconds ago?!

Me: “Because you are filthy little children and these amazing people are cleaning the house right now.” Patrick still looks at me. Wtf just go upstairs. 

Kids start walking inside and Tucker walks into the main living room. 

Me: “No Tucker, we need to go upstairs.”

Tucker: “For what?”

Me: “The Cleaning Ladies are cleaning here.” 

Tucker: “For what?”

Me: “To…help me out with cleaning the main floor.” I’m trying my hardest here.  

Tucker: “For what?”

Me: “Tucker get upstairs.” It’s that’s simple.

Tucker: “For what?”

Me: “BECAUSE the Ladies need to clean here!!”

Tucker: “FOR WHAT?”

Me: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN FOR WHAT? GO UPSTAIRS!” HOLY FUCK CHILD.  

Tucker: “I’m going to miss my whole show!!” Holding THE remote in his hand. WOW.

Me: “We have a TV in my bedroom!!” Am I losing my mind right now over people cleaning my house?

Tucker: “Ugh fine.” Big eye roll. Please pray for me.  

So, I guess I should be happy I have boy emotions to deal with and not girls, right? Idk. I wish I had a Girl. Life is so fucked up. When it comes to Tucker, I just want to “get it right”. We all want to “get it right”. Let’s wave good bye to the bullshit we all went through…and grow to be fucking stronger in 2021. Thank you for always reading. It means a lot to me to continue typing.

Cheers

Light It Up Blue!!!

Click on link or go to Dermure.com and get your gift set that gives $10 back to Autism Speak the Month of April in honor of Tucker. We are nowhere without all of you that give mad support to swearinglady. Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you.

https://dermure.com/collections/gift-sets/products/light-it-up-blue-gift-set

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