I would like to share with you an excerpt from a very recent email I received from Sir Dantes' special education teacher.
"He is still having good days and some really bad days. Yesterday was a pretty good day. During math he did not want to do his work so he ripped it up and then he will start head butting, kicking, and scratching to try to escape. But that was just the one moment yesterday. Some days it can go on like that all day. A lot of times it is just in the mornings, when we are doing the most work, that his behavior is the worst. I feel that sometimes the bad behavior is when he is seeking sensory or attention, and still that he is tired. We try to tell him to ask for squeezes or tickles, not have the bad behavior before it to get it later. I do feel like we have come a long way and if we stay consistent that we will continue seeing improvement."
Mmmm...I feel sorry for her on the bad days because I know what it can be like.
Here at home we actually are having more good days than bad. But, she is right. The bad days can be bad and finding the reason why can be really tough especially when communication is still an issue. Getting an answer from Sir Dantes can be tricky and most of his answers are either "yes" or "no". Therefore, it is still a lot like going through a checklist. Are you hungry? Is the noise to loud? Sometimes I just will finally ask him to show me and then sometimes I am still left guessing. Then I will give him a "Big Squeeeeze" and rock him until he seems to feel better and calm down.
His teachers use the "Big Squeeze" on him and a weighted jacket at times to calm him.
I know a lot of mornings when he goes to school he is quite sleepy. Although he gets one 300mmg of melatonin each night before bed, it does not always help him sleep through the night. Often I wake up in the middle of the night, usually to go to the bathroom, and find evidence of him having been up. Lights are on that were off. A banana peel will be in the sink or the trash can. A cooking pot will be filled with apples and pepper and left on the counter. The coffee pot may be on. I think I have trained myself to get up in the middle of the night to make sure he's done nothing to put himself or anyone else in danger. There have been times I have woken up to get ready for work and he's already awake playing and I have no idea how long he's been up. It may be time to up the melatonin dosage. Note to self: call his doctor to see what is a safe dosage.
The sensory issues are still an issue and I imagine that the school is full of them. The smell of car and bus exhaust in the parking lot. The smell of perfumes. The fluorescent lights overhead. The chatter of many children. The smell of foods from the cafeteria. The loudspeaker. If I think really hard I am sure I could list hundreds of individual things that overload his senses. He deals with them all plus many I can not even imagine because they don't bother me. But, there is only so much that you can do. One child needs low lights and another needs bright. One child cringes at loud sounds and another has a hard time hearing. Of course his teacher and aides are aware and do their best. I hope in time Sir Dantes can find more coping ways than head-banging, biting, and scratching. He could do more Happy Dances! That would be fine with me.
I think he rips up him math because he's bored with it. That is how Sir Dantes is. When he's learned something, he's done with it. He is not very patient when it comes to anything! He likes to take in new information. He will stick with something he's interested in until he figures it out...then, it is on to the next thing. I learned this watching him play video games. He needs more challenges cognitively.
Tonight Sir Dantes got very whiny.
His daddy told him to go see mommy. He was visibly upset about something. "What's wrong Sir Dantes?", I asked him while giving him a Big Squeeze. He said something but I could not understand what he was trying to say. "Show me". We went upstairs into the living room. He turned off the television. Okay, let's sit down a moment. He sat down in my lap and gave me a big hug. He wanted a Big Squeeze again so I gave him one and he said "tired". Yea!! I was not necessarily happy he was tired because he and Ms. Maxie still needed to eat and clean up. But, he told me. He communicated. It was only one word but that one word told me what I needed to know.
Eating perked him up a bit and he wanted some ice cream afterwards. But, I did not mess around getting him ready for bed. He had his melatonin and laid down. He wanted a hat on; the one that looks like a frog that his daddy bought him. So now, he's asleep with his frog hat on.
His days at school can be rough but he loves to go. The teachers keep working with him and I give them a lot of credit for him being able to tell me tonight what was bothering him. It is a slow road but the little success tonight was wonderful and I think we owe so much to the teachers and aides that work with him everyday. With all of us working so hard to help him I know the good days will continue to outnumber the bad. Keep at it everyone! It is not easy but it is so worth it.
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