Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

my kid

Yesterday was one of those days that the more I try to not think about, it's all I think about.

I don't want to quote what his communication books said, but the gist of it is this: Apparently he had a sour stomach, or something, and this led to 3 or 4 messes that day, and his clothes had to be changed. In the afternoon when he is in the mainstream kindergarten room, his Aide had to take him outside after lasting barely an hour of class time.

First was the unsuccessful circle time, during which Hayden only wanted to remove his socks and shoes over and over again. Then apparently during snack, he spit on the table, concluding with hitting his Aide. It was also noted, and this I will quote, that "Hayden's physical strength interferes with the staff's ability to help him."

Apparently once he was removed from the K room, and he and his Aide went outside to the smaller school playground, the words coming out his mouth were just as bad as what was coming out of his bottom.

I am actually quite relieved that the teacher did not call me, because I fear I would have been upset or defensive or both. So I did the only thing that I know how to do well, when I need to communicate something sensitive, and I wrote. I've deleted certain sentences from my email that are too personal to share (or not necessary to blog about, or both) but here are some excerpts:

I just wanted to send you a message in response to Hayden's uncharacteristic behavior yesterday..."

"Even as Hayden's language has progressed so beautifully, he still struggles to verbalize when something is wrong. His overall self-awareness is something that will continue to be learned. "

"I can only hypothesize that yesterday his stomach was bothering him, and he didn't know how to say so. Instead, his discomfort came out in abrupt behaviors and inappropriate words. I gather his upset grew more severe as the day went on."

"Hayden understands apologizing for his behavior, and he understands a consequence such as time-out."

"We have also been giving him time-outs in his arm chair. We turn the television off, and he has to sit for three minutes (I know it's not realistic for him to sit still for six, even though one minute for every year of age is more typical of this method)."

"Perhaps the staff member who is with Hayden at the time of an inappropriate behavior, might prompt him to have a quiet time-out. Although I feel bad doing this when his poor behavior is a result of something such as a stomach ache which he doesn't know how communicate, but the fact is there are other children in the room. So he certainly needs to understand what is acceptable and what is not."

"Lastly, I just wanted you to know that we are still pending approval for Hayden's participation in a clinical trial for a Fragile X treatment."

"I wanted to ensure I carefully documented the efforts we are taking to help Hayden..."

"As always, thank you for the open communication..."

Granted I am most upset for Hayden and what he goes through, and I am also upset for the staff and what he doesn't mean to put them through. But selfishly, I am relatively upset for me and for Dan. I am not upset with Hayden, I am never ever ashamed of him, I love him and I am endlessly proud of him, and often quite impressed actually.

Though it can be tough reading those teacher notes, or the data sheet that charts his behaviors, it is all to help him: to keep us informed, and to try and pinpoint antecedents.
Still, you don't wish for that kid to be your kid.

Hayden has some homework due tomorrow, and there was a lot of tears involved in getting it accomplished this evening. He is feeling well-- he never broke a fever, never got "sick", and had only one gastrointestinal issue today (at home). He is hyper as ever, and his appetite only lessened slightly. I know when he is truly ill, and this is not ill. He just didn't want to do his homework, and I don't blame him. School work is difficult for Hayden, period. Carrying it over at home-- the one place that he associates not having certain demands placed on him-- does not help. But clearly he needs to get used to it.

I will say this. After a lot of snot and tears, some writing on the floor, some writing on the furniture, and a few scribbles on my tablecloth... he completed two homework assignments. Yes, one for each class. And, he even did a third activity with me that I'm not sure was necessarily intended to be completed and returned. (It is fire prevention week at school, and I believe it was just a handout from the fire department.)

By the way, yes, I said "with me". As in, Dan was not yet home. One of us getting Hayden to do homework without the other, is not that far off from one of us attempting to trim Hayden's nails without the other. The latter is worse but not much.

He had a particularly tough time with a pattern sheet for his resource room homework. It's too many things on one page-- there are four rows, each in a different color, and each row is followed by three images. They are supposed to circle the one image that comes next in each row's pattern. Eventually he accepted hand-over-hand help, and we circled the answers together. I put an "H" at the top, and asked him to finish his name. He sort of scribbled a line, but he was also using his knees as an easel. I tried to get him to sit at the table and it was not going to happen.

Then we moved on to kindergarten homework. It was matching opposites. I thought that drawing a line between the opposites would be easier than cutting and gluing the images as instructed at the top of the sheet. I indicated what goes with what, by making an "x" with coordinating colors. It worked for one of the matches: 'Big > > > Little' he drew a line. I wanted that line to remain visible, so I cut only the bottom two squares for him to match and glue. (Although we used tape because he was not in a glue-friendly mood. And I was not in the mood to tolerate him with glue.)

I prompted him to put the "down cat" next to the "up cat". He placed it on top, and that's fine. Not complaining!

Per my plan A, the two 'Funny > > > Sad' images already had a yellow "x" beside them. I loosely followed his lead of seeming more understanding of the "on top of" instruction, so I prompted him to put the sad face on top of the yellow "x". And he did:

Last but certainly not least, let me just summarize what he did with the firefighter sheet. I asked him five questions based on the pictures, and he isolated his index finger and appropriately pointed to each answer. I asked him to find what the water comes out of, and he looked, and I said hose, and he found it. I asked him what tool the firefighters use if they need to break down a door, and he pointed to the axe. I asked him what they use to climb, and he found the ladder. I asked him what they wear, and he pointed to the gear. I saved the easiest for last and asked him what they drive, and of course he said, "firetruck".

There's an extra tip at the bottom of the page to discuss professions with your child, and tools they use: Teacher, Doctor, Chef, Illustrator... and I translated that last one as Someone Who Draws. I had to offer some suggestions for Teacher to get him going, and he appropriately said she uses books.

Then my child who just recently had a nervous breakdown over doing homework, proceeds to tell me that a Doctor uses a "ste-scope". It may have sounded more like "seh-soap" but I know exactly what he was talking about. I enthusiastically exclaimed, "Yes! Stethoscope!"

He said a Chef uses a hat (works for me), and Someone Who Draws uses markers.

Snot, tears, crayon on the carpet, ink on the ottoman, both on the tablecloth... whatever. He completed three homework assignments.

Yes, that kid is my kid

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