Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Only 2

As in, the Bulldozer went from (I think) 6 meltdowns yesterday to only 2 today, one of which I was expecting and was logical (in Bulldozer-think) -- hitting had allowed him to escape speech the last two weeks, so he figured it would do the same. I ended up on my knees scooching him across the floor.

Superhero had a small one after recess (he came back from science totally wacko) which I managed to deal with (though I did have to shush Aide J and Aide S...grr...). I did get spit on for the first time in a couple of weeks, but only twice, and he soon realized that wasn't getting him anywhere.

In the continuing saga of Aide S, E is back to beating her up on a regular basis. Why?

Well...despite me mentioning (repeatedly) that E is trying to get attention from her (and pointing out her TalkTrac as an alternative) her reaction to anything E does is a very loud, "E, no, we need nice hands; E, I'm not leaving until I get nice hands; E, etc. etc. etc."

In other words, attention.

A lot of it.

No wonder E's first act upon seeing S is to take a swipe at her.

Le sigh.

It's funny -- you can teach people the reasons for behavior and they might even get some of it (e.g. she understands that the Bulldozer's main motivation is escape) but there's often this one little blind spot.

For some people -- for a lot of people, really -- it's sensory-seeking behavior -- some people just don't get that M squeezes your...chestal area (to quote someone; I can't remember who) because she needs to feel that squeeze -- but for S, it's attention-seeking behavior.

This morning, E scratched my arm twice. I blocked her arm, looked away, and said nothing. As soon as I felt her body language relax, I turned and said "hi" and gave her lots of attention. She made one other half-hearted attempt, to which I responded the same way. Next thing I know, she's relaxed, slumped against me (I don't think she feels well), and is seeking out my hand to hold it.

As I said in yesterday's rant: my way works people. You've seen me take E in full meltdown mode back into quiet, semi-independent working. Ditto the Superhero. Matter of fact, he calmed down enough today to tell me his rules without me asking him too.

Yeah, it took a while, and, yeah, I did get spit on, and, yeah, he was godawful loud.

But you know what? He responded to my (non-verbal) prompts to raise his hand to ask for a squirt, and rephrased when I asked him to say it more quietly. Later, when he was even more ready for work, he was able to quietly ask for help when he needed it and he finished his work independently when he was ready.

So, let's compare. Had I done nothing but redirected him ("Superhero, that's too loud. Supehero, be quiet." "Superhero, I don't like that.") all he's done is hear his own name and me talking to him for quiet a while, and he travels farther up the excitement slope.

This way was less convenient for me, but he learned that to get my attention, he had to work quietly and ask for it.


Really, though, except for the fact that I haven't been able to implement M's sensory diet appropriately (though I did send the class outside to read today so I could sit in the dark (with the front door open; I'm not stupid) with her, brush her -- which she tolerates, kinda, sometimes, but the OTs say to do it -- do joint compressions -- which she doesn't seem to like, but the counting calms her -- and get her calm.

As she's calming, she tearfully says, "M crying."

"Why are you crying?"

(No response.)

"What's wrong?"

"Why she's mad, M?" (As in, as nearly as I could tell, she was mad at herself.)

"Why are you mad?"

"Where bike -- I want -- where -- she's mad bike. Crying sad."

It's the most spontaneous, non-echolalic conversation I've ever heard from this child.

"I'm sorry, M. But it's not your day. It'll be your day soon." (My bickering bunch of old married couples was not sharing well. Actually, they just generally pick at each other. They have assigned spots in line, assigned seats at each table, assigned order for chances at the computer, and an assigned order for the bike.)

"It's not your day! Bike!"

I began some feather-light touches on her hand and forearm, which often calms her way better than deep pressure, thus further proving SBS's hypothesis that everything the OTs believe is backwards in M's neurological system.

"It'll be your day soon."

"M sad, crying sad."

"I know."

After that, she rubbed her eyes and we started to read until -- darn it -- the kindergartners came out for lunch. She had trouble focusing after that, but eventually was able to sit with me and Superhero and get some work done (independently, even).

I have to say, it was almost enough to get me to bend the rules and give her the bike.

Meanwhile, Boy J did nothing horrible but was generally testy all day. He did something at recess and did his singsong voice, but this time, I printed out a page of "I will act like a fourth grader" and made him write it. I'm generally not big on standards, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. He did stop and did well the rest of the day.

Our adapted social studies lesson went well, except for Bulldozer's meltdown -- but he recovered partway into the lesson and sat with the group and participated (!!!) for about 20 minutes before he lost it again. Well, that and the fifth and sixth graders moving at a snail's pace because Aide K had to read her instructions (which she still didn't carry out correctly; I overheard her having Angel (New Girl) circling all the Native Americans, when her job was to write a sentence about one, but whatever). I have a few things to tweak for next time, but overall I was happy with it.

Plus, it took a whole hour. :-)


Amie said...

I know this wasn't at all the point of your post, but I say "chestal area" also! :)

(also not the point...but...) I'm amazed at how well you remember to use the nicknames when you are writing, I would surely slip up every now and then

sounds like today was better than yesterday, hopefully tomorrow will be even better than today!

SpooWriter said...

Out of order, but...

I know Mondays will suck for a while, 'cause of the whole home situation with the Bulldozer, but I am cautiously optimistic that he was as good today as he was on Wednesday and Thursday last week.

That's progress.

As for the nicknames, I slip up at least once per post, but I either catch it before I post or when I skim the post right after I post it. So far.

Fortunately, all but Superhero and Princess have fairly common names, so even a googler probably couldn't prove who I was talking about.

And...I don't suppose you remember where you picked up "chestal area"? I know I heard it somewhere and it slipped into my own speech, but I can't remember what I'm quoting.