Little Lamb

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Autism, Executive Functioning, Impulse Control | 1 comment

School for Zookeeper is going well. So well, in fact, that his special education teacher asked if she could move his writing help back into the classroom, as opposed to taking him out for it.

Also, he actually told me he likes being there again. I can’t even tell you how happy I was to hear that from him.

A boy, sick with anxiety, taking a test.The only academic obstacle he’s encountered so far is anxiety over tests. Severe anxiety. I believe he has PTSD, so that tests take him right back to last year. He opened up to his teacher about it, though, and they’re working on it. They will tell him when a test is coming in advance so it won’t catch him off guard. He will also get to take short movement breaks and ask for a scribe or to answer questions verbally.

Since academics are on track, Zookeeper’s primary issue right now is Lamb.

As I said in the post about Zookeeper’s first day, Lamb and Zookeeper started out sitting next to each other, but were separated the second day.

No less than three further incidents happened over the course of September:

  1. Image of a paperclip.Lamb began unfolding paperclips and throwing them, pointy part first, at Zookeeper. I asked if the teacher had seen it: yes. I asked if she had done anything about it: Not that Zookeeper saw. I asked if Lamb continued to throw them after that: No. I then explained to him that I was sure his teacher did something to stop it, otherwise Lamb would still be doing it; and that she might not be able to tell him what she did for privacy reasons, but that doesn’t mean she did nothing.
  2. Zookeeper let us know that, while they had been successfully separated elsewhere, Lamb continued to sit next to him in PE. I emailed the special education team to ask that they be separated in PE as well. I had already asked that all of his teachers receive the All-About-Me page I sent in regarding Zookeeper’s strengths and needs in school, but the principal told me she needed my permission to send it to the specialists (PE, music, and library teachers). I gave it. The next PE class, the teacher looked at Zookeeper and said, “Want to move?” He nodded gratefully and escaped from Lamb.
  3. A week or so after the paperclip incident, Lamb was moved up to the front of the class. Zookeeper told me he was upset about this because he could see the back of Lamb’s head and it made him anxious to have to look at it all the time. I told him I thought it was actually a good thing. If he could see the back of Lamb’s head, then Lamb couldn’t throw things at him without advance notice because he would see Lamb turn around. Zookeeper said, “Good point.” He hasn’t said anything about it since and he’s gone on to a completely different subject in therapy. I’m taking that as a good sign.

The other day in PE, when the teacher wasn’t looking, Lamb sat next to Zookeeper and whispered, “I hate you.”

Zookeeper said back, “Then why are you sitting next to me?”

Yep, things are looking up this year.

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Spent

Posted by on Oct 4, 2016 in Autism | 0 comments

Image of a stressed-looking mom with two wailing kids pulling her in different directions.Well, this is not what I expected to post today, but it’s what I’ve got, so it will have to do.

I’m pushing the piece I meant to post yesterday off until next Monday. I still haven’t typed it.

Sparky has been out of town since last Tuesday (8am), so I’ve been a single mom this past week. He gets back today and not a moment too soon because being a single parent is HARD. Seriously, single parents deserve all the respect. All of it. Because hard.

I have to go to sleep now. See you next week.

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Bet Your Bottom Dollar

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in Musings | 0 comments

Image of a smiling red-haired girl with upward braids and a look of excitement!

Oops! wrong little red-haired girl. Told you I was tired…

♫ The post’ll be up…tomorrow.

Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow

I will post.

Just thinkin’ about tomorrow

Makes my weary bones ache with exhaustion

And dismay!

Tomorrow! Tomorrow!

I’ll type it

Tomorrow.

I’m only a day behind. ♫

Seriously, it’s written in longhand, I’m just too tired to type it right now.

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First Day

Posted by on Sep 26, 2016 in Anxiety, Autism, Executive Functioning, Impulse Control | 0 comments

Illustration of a boy wearing a backpack and running, sweat dripping from his face.

Illustration of a boy wearing a backpack and running, sweat dripping from his face.

The first day of school in our district this year was September sixth, the day after Labor Day. We knew there would be wrinkles to iron out and were all apprehensive about what those things would be.

First thing, traffic was terrible. We would have walked, but I had a bag full of additional supplies to take to BamBam’s teacher and I didn’t want to carry them all the way to school. Had I remembered how full the parking lot gets between the parents staying for the First Morning Coffee and the ones who have no clue about drop off procedures, I would have either sucked it up and carried the supplies or put them off for another day.

But I didn’t remember and we were stuck trying to pull in to the parking lot a few minutes before the first bell. So Sparky stayed in the car while the boys and I ran for it. Not fun for all the neurotypical kids, so you can imagine how it was for us. BamBam said he was fine taking the supplies to class on his own, so Zookeeper and I headed to the office on our own.

Once we got through the front door, the first wrinkle hit. Zookeeper, a little ahead of me, walked right past the office and was headed outside when I stopped him. Even though we had discussed it the night before, he didn’t want to go to class through the office. He insisted that he would be fine waiting in the line with his classmates.

I knew we were both already overloaded and frantic, so I did my best to remain calm as I reminded him of the trouble he’d had with bullies in the morning line-up the previous year. I told him again that the plan was to go through the office, just so they could see his pass, and continue upstairs to his classroom where he would get his schedule and maybe sharpen a few pencils before going with his teacher to bring in the rest of the class.

Then I frog-marched walked him back to the office, showed the secretary his pass, and watched him walk through the office hall toward the stairs leading to his classroom. Sparky appeared as I was figuratively dusting my hands off from the effort.

After which I went to the parents’ coffee, where I was somehow talked into becoming the special needs liaison for our school’s PTSA (Parent-Teacher-Student Association). A position I’ve been turning down for a little over two years now. I agreed with the precept that expectations would be kept very low.

I waited with much anticipation to pick the boys up and hear about their days. BamBam had a terrific day, as I knew he would. Zookeeper’s day, however, was, “Meh.”

When asked what that meant, he said, “Well, you know Lamb is in my class.”

Illustration of a smiling wolf wearing a sheep costume.

Illustration of a smiling wolf wearing a sheep costume. Bless his heart.

Lamb is a boy who has plagued Zookeeper since first grade. I’m calling him Lamb here in the same way Southerners often say, “Bless your heart.”* Lamb was in Zookeeper’s class last year, but wasn’t a problem for him because there were so many other negative things going on.

“He sits right next to me. He took pencils away and threw paperclips at me in class. Coming in from recess, he stuck his hand in my pocket to steal some of my rocks,” Zookeeper told me. He said everything else was fine, but you could tell this had squelched any hope he had for a better year.

I thanked him for telling me and being so open about it, then told him I would write an email to his teacher and have them separated.

His teacher emailed me back saying she had noticed the dynamic between them and planned to move their desks the next morning. She had also had a talk with Lamb about the rocks and planned to reinforce the rules the next day. I am so thrilled with her communication and the fact that she noticed, and acted, right away. It restored my hope, and I think Zookeeper’s, for a much better year.

Next week, I’ll tell you about how things are going with Lamb. Because, unfortunately, there is more to tell. But everything else at school is pretty good and that has our whole family smiling again.

*My mother has always said, “Bless your bones.” I never really thought about how the two phrases differ, but I like the explanation that heart is more superficial because getting into the bones is deeper, more like getting to the core of your being.

 

 

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