At the moment I am considering whether to actually implement the visual timetable at home for the morning routine.
My wife and I have discussed it a few times over the last few months but never felt it was definitely necessary, but at the moment I think that perhaps it is time.
For the uninitiated, a visual timetable is just a row of pictures or words which tells L what to do and in what order. So for example, the first picture may be of him waking up, next its him going to the loo, then choosing his breakfast, then waking mom or dad up, then eating breakfast etc. etc.
L has a habit of becoming deeply obsessed by things, whether they be TV programmes, computer games, moshi monsters, anything. Once he is in an obsession then he rarely talks about anything else, sharing every last detail with us. Now, I don't have a problem with him sharing this with us - sometimes I encourage it. It is a rare gift to have such a detailed understanding of something and this is where I think his future lies, in having that depth of knowledge on a certain subject. Let's hope its banking systems, or maybe music, but whatever it is, it doesn't concern me that he won't be able to hold down a job in the future.
Now, at the moment, as we gear up towards christmas, L has been asking for a Skylanders set for the Wii. He has been asking for this for about 18 months now, so we are going to let him have one. In order to prove to us though that he can handle it (bearing in mind previous comments about time on the computer and his very poor level of competitiveness) we have said he can have half an hour on his DS every day. Between us, my wife and I have also agreed that if he is naughty, this isn't something we will take from him - we feel he needs to play regularly in order to learn to control himself. It may be folly, but thats what we're trying at the moment.
Anyway, in a morning now, as soon as he wakes (about 3 hours too early for me, about 2 hours too early for my wife!) he is asking if he can have his DS time. We have two more rules in the house, firstly, no computers before breakfast, and secondly, no computers before school.
Having come off the back of the weekend, this second rule caught L a little by surprise and led to a tantrum. He has been struggling with the morning routine for the last few days though, hence my thought about the visual timetable.
What does amaze me though, rather wonderfully, is that as soon as he gets to school, he seems to be a wonderful young boy, and when he comes home he is happy and courteous and accepts when he is asked to come off his DS.
At the moment (and I am acutely aware that this is a time-limited offer), we have two L's. The first is struggling to get through the morning routine, the second is a typical happy boy.
So, until the next report of a playground incident, or a fight with his brother, or a tantrum in the early evening, I am happy to report that life is good. As long as it starts after 9am.