JONATHAN’S CHALLENGES – PROCESSING
Traveling Jonathan’s way I’ve learned that many of his challenges have to do with his ability to process situations and also how he deals with changes. When he finished Kindergarten and went into the first grade, his reading had gotten really good. His teachers were so impressed with him, until he was asked to explain what he read about and couldn’t. Comprehension has always been difficult for him; mainly because to come up with an acceptable answer to the question “what did you just read about,” takes a longer time for him. His words won’t come as spontaneously as unaffected peers. In the first grade, to deal with his comprehension he would retreat into his world of “SPONGE BOB!” He loved the cartoon Sponge Bob. Jonathan possesses what his resource teacher termed “rope memory.” He can remember most anything. He’d begin reciting an entire episode of Sponge Bob to himself. He could do all of the characters, too. I thought that was amazing and was full of pride until I realized it was his way of dealing with not being able to comprehend. My Jonathan could recite every word of every character in the “Charlie Brown Christmas“ cartoon! His teachers and para-professionals worked hard with him and with me, too. Oh yes, Elmo and Thomas the Train were his idols. I was forced to make changes in his routine, which brought on a bit of conflict. He couldn’t play with his trains and cars except a couple of days a week. He couldn’t watch Sponge Bob often either. Charlie Brown Christmas was totally off the table. He didn’t like that at all. But with a lot of help and support and determination we both jumped that hurdle and by the third grade he was more rounded and ready to experience new things.
Sounds bother him, too:
- A door buzzer sends him into a frenzy. A door bell is fine.
- The THX logo in the beginning of movies sends him over the edge, too.
- Certain songs cause him to put his hands in his ears and close his eyes either until they are over or I turn them off. The problem here is I never know which songs might cause this reaction
Change is very difficult for him. He rejects even food if it looks different. Case and point:
The regular Lunchable® is what he is accustomed to. I bought the bigger Lunchable® and he totally rejected it. Why? His answer: It’s bigger. The regular Cocoa Puffs® he loves. The box that says 50% more real cocoa he shuns. Why? It’s too much chocolate. The Chef Boyardee® ravioli he loves. The store brand he won’t touch. Why? It’s different. I haven’t been able to breach this particular situation.
I am encouraged though. Why? He can open the can and safely microwave it by himself now and he always cleans up behind himself. More tomorrow.