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Truth Be Told

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The other day Simon came home from school, walked into the house, and told me "My star was in yellow today."


His school uses a star program. Essentially green means no problems, yellow means something came up/not following the rules, and red is when you get in big trouble. Simon is no stranger to yellow stars, not the majority by any means, but they definitely popped up from time to time throughout kindergarten. 


"Uh oh. What happened buddy?" I asked.


"I was sneaky." he said and proceeded to tell me about how he was caught sneaking out to recess before the kids were dismissed as a group from lunch.


I've never heard him use the word "sneaky" before and it was hard not to giggle a bit as the word crossed his lips.


It wasn't that long ago that asking him what had happened each day at school resulted in zero response. In his case it was more of a lack of back + forth communication ability then avoiding the question.


These days when he comes home one of the first things we do together (after the shoes come off and the coat gets hung up) is to open his communication notebook and see what the aides have written about his day. They include activities he participated in, things he struggled with, and what he is working on in the classroom (behaviorally and academically). This is a vital part of helping us understand what's happening at school and has become a way for Simon and I to share together how things went over the course of the day.


On this particular day one of the things I was most thankful for was him simply telling me what had happened even before I read it in the notebook. He was truthful and forthright and he wanted to share even when he had gotten into trouble.


I am sure there will be challenging days ahead (obviously, as there always are), but on this day there was a good solid line of communication happening. I love progress. I celebrate those little (and big) moments.


After he revealed that his star was in yellow we chatted a bit about being sneaky and following the rules. He agreed that he wanted to follow the rules and keep his star in green.


So far, so good.

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76 thoughts

  1. Machelle says…
    09/24/2008

    What a cute story and adorable little boy! I wish you the best of luck keeping the lines of communication open! I have 3 teenage boys and every day I ask about school, and have for the last 12 years (oldest one is a senior) and all I ever get is "it was ok." UGH

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  2. Kim A in DE says…
    09/24/2008

    Love this story! Love progress! My son is 4 and also has autism. I'm looking forward to the day when he can tell me something like this--I only get yes/no answers to my questions about preschool right now. wonderful photo!

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  3. Terri says…
    09/24/2008

    his more outgoing nature is coming out in his photos too. Great pic reflecting true joy!

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  4. Mary Beth says…
    09/24/2008

    YOU KNOW WHAT??????
    MY STAR WAS IN YELLOW TODAY TOO.... SOMETIMES WE ALL HAVE TO BE A LITTLE YELLOW --
    IT MAKES THE GREEN DAYS BETTER!
    KUDOS FOR SIMON... WE SHOULD ALL KNOW THE DIFFERENCE OF HOW GREEN AND YELLOW "FEEL".......
    AND REMEMBER, IN THE IMMORTAL WORDS OF KERMIT THE FROG,
    "IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN".......

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. MARILYN NIMMO says…
    09/24/2008

    Sometimes it is good to get on yellow! Simon looks great and I am so glad that you have time to spend each day talking about what happened at school each day.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Houston says…
    09/24/2008

    There is truly nothing more precious than the quiet times shared between Mother and Son!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Kristi says…
    09/24/2008

    Oh my goosh! It just hit me! I am an Aide in an Autism DT Teeach program. The children that we have are on the lower spectrum. We do write daily reports and as an aide I find them a pain in the toosh! It really never occured to me that they are extremely helpful to the parents. I feel so bad for my feeling about he daily reports and will now fill them as if it was my child and I was only wanting to know how his day went and he has no way of communicating with me the events of his day. I enjoy your blog with both your crafty ideas and your stories of a parent of an Autistic child.
    Kristi

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  8. mary says…
    09/24/2008

    my youngest had to call me last week from the principals office to tell me she called a boy a "sonofabitch" one word ok? on the playground. I did the mom thing about how dissapointed I was and I expected better then got off the phone, I LOL'd and emailed my sister! sonofa! wonder what that kid DID!!!
    Sure its not really funny but she is #5, we have to laugh. And btw, she is 6.

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  9. Erin B says…
    09/24/2008

    being "sneaky" is a good developmental milestone. I love that Simon shared it with you!

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  10. Cindy Welch says…
    09/24/2008

    I have no experience with autism. But I religiously read your blog everyday and usually do not comment as there are so many and it seems you would feel obligated to read each one. But today it really hit me how ordinary you make everyday life seem for Simon. Both my children are grown, one left in college and I wish I would have captured their everyday life as you are doing. Your blog inspired me to start my own. In the 14 hours crazy days I put in at work, I now have come to believe that its OKAY, and we can make everyday life better. While I believe you have challanges with Simon that I will never know, I admire that you have turned it into something positive. What you do everyday is very special and inspiring.

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  11. tommie says…
    09/24/2008

    those yellow days are surely days to slow down and pause........what would have made it a green day?// is it really worth a green day?? most likely not, have a yellow day and go back to green tomorrow......move on grasshopper!

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  12. ria nirwana says…
    09/24/2008

    It's not easy being green, Ali.....
    Like we all do sometimes....wink....
    Love the story, love the picture, love the moment shared.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Jen says…
    09/24/2008

    I find it so interesting that I come here so often to read things that happen to you that are happening to me and I realize that the world is not such a big place after all and that we are all in this thing called parenting together...no matter what our background or what we do for a living or where we live...it's all similar when it comes to what is going on with our kids. And it's nice to know...and it's nice to share! My daughter has a similar system of colors at school. Only they don't have to tell us what they got on that day unless it is really bad and they get on black. Then the teacher calls home. My daughter and I had been having conversations about lying and she was asking me what would happen if she lied and different things like that. We talked about lying by omission. The NEXT day she got "flipped down" at school and the minute she got in the car when I picked her up she told me all about it. She didn't have to...as I said...the teacher only let's us know if it is a really bad situation...but she did. Her comment to me after I thanked her for telling me even though she didn't have to was, "I just KNEW I had to tell you! I just KNEW it!"
    Thanks so much for sharing your story about Simon!
    Jen

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  14. Lusi says…
    09/24/2008

    yay simon! yay you guys too!
    i find our communication book for our son (hf autsim) invaluable too Ali as it helps me understand what is happening when i'm not around and how we can work on things and follow through at home with what is being worked on in therapy and at preschool.
    you always encourage me :)
    and simon rocks :)
    lusi x

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  15. dianna says…
    09/24/2008

    Little victories are just as important as the big ones I've come to learn.
    I love when things like that happen ~ gold star for Mom and Dad for raising such an honest little boy*!*

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Carol says…
    09/25/2008

    Ali,
    Your stories are such an inspiration as are your creative lessons each day. I love the balance of what you share. You help me to go outside of my box creatively and you inspire me to be a good mom too. Simon is so sweet and while I am reading...I can easily substitute my son's name (Ryan) as if this was a story from our family. Thanks for the smile.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Yvette McKenzie says…
    09/25/2008

    Love that sneaky story! Communication has been such a key for us with our hfa son, especially as he has gotten older. And the things that these kids will say just keeps my heart smiling!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Kim says…
    09/25/2008

    sweet sweet simon......I am just smiling picturing him telling you about his sneaky! So sweet.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Paola Norman says…
    09/25/2008

    I know how much these little things mean to you. It's wonderful that you share them and most importantly share them. It's so nice to see Simon being truthful. And you know what Ali he's a little boy, sometimes they just like to do silly things..It's all part of growing up. I also love that pic of him that you posted he's seems to have grown so much. Good for him! He's going to make an excellent big brother!

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  20. Paola Norman says…
    09/25/2008

    OOps I said share twice I meant celebrate the second time!

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  21. TeresaP says…
    09/25/2008

    oh that is great! we tell our girls all the time that we are just as proud of them when they make mistakes or bad choices as we are on the days that they make great choices! they are our daugthers and we love them no matter what and want to be in on all of their world... glad Simon shared so openly with you and felt safe doing it! :) yeah for you all as his parents and for that sweet Simon!!!

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  22. Andrea says…
    09/25/2008

    Openness, Truthfulness, and Bravery to share the good and the bad should all be celebrated with ICE CREAM!!!!

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  23. Lawrenbc says…
    09/25/2008

    I love how honest Simon was with you, and how well you two communicate together about these sorts of things. Very inspiring for me... The word "sneaky" is kind of a controversial one in our little mom group -- I think it's a funny word and Rip (my 4 1/2 year old) and I use it a lot, but in a joking fashion. The other mothers, however, think sneaky is only to be used as a very bad descriptor, so I've really had to rethink that one. Keep us posted on the "sneaking", ok?

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  24. Araceli Ross says…
    09/25/2008

    My children love "Simon Stories." Emily 4, and Adam 2, come running to me when they see me using my laptop. "What did Simon do today?" Today, he was "sneaky." Emily asks, "What's sneaky, mom?"

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  25. Heather says…
    09/26/2008

    I love hearing about your mommy methods, Ali. They just seem to make so much sense to me! I need to write these things down for when I have kids. ;)

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