Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Superhero Logic

So, Superhero has had enough of Bulldozer taking all of the adults' attention, and showed us this today by imitating -- step by step -- a Bulldozer meltdown.  Of course, I was wise to the real purpose to this, and as such, reacted in a totally different way to a Bulldozer meltdown.

After he had calmed down (by himself and after no more verbal redirection other than a quiet "Sit down" -- not to mention doing most of my visual prompts from behind) I grabbed his flip 'n' talk.  Using the pictures, I told him that I was disappointed in him and asked how he felt.  He pointed to "sad" and "lonely," then flipped to the page with various "____ hurts" messages.  He touched the generic "I hurt" and then pointed to "I can't find it" and "I want to say something else."

So, all things considered, I felt pretty lousy for him.

Not 100% lousy, mind you -- I could have done without him grabbing my glasses (a move, of course, totally stolen from Bulldozer) for one thing.

The more amusing thing -- she says sarcastically -- is the Drama percolating between Aides L, K, and J.

Heh.  J, K, L.  Never noticed that before.


Anyway, Aide J made the very reasonable request during News-2-You that Aides L and K stop chatting (Aide S was running the lesson, as I was busy with Bulldozer) while the kids were supposed to be reading.

(You'd think that given all of the rule practicing we've done, they might come up with that idea -- namely, modeling the appropriate behavior -- on their own, but this is Aide K (not exactly firing on all thrusters) and Aide L (the gossip).)

Anyhow, they were chatting while it was time for M to read.

So Aide J asked them to stop.

They apparently were snarking to each other about her at lunch and called her Nurse Ratchet.


However, Bulldozer was, as usual, better today than yesterday.  After his imitation attempt, Superhero was pretty okay.  M survived the day without going totally insane (which she was on the cusp of all day).  The Boss (formerly known as Girl J) actually finished her work (she's really quite the sweetie when she's not being a stubborn pre-teen girl).

Plus, the OTs took them for a whole half hour to do a whole class obstacle course.  Yay.  :-)

Of course, that meant that we didn't quite get as far in Second Step as I wanted to, but oh well.

Hooray for half days tomorrow (which may not be long for the world, if the scuttlebutt in the staff room was right today).

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

From the "Duh" Department

So, Yahoo had on its front page a link to an article that basically says panic attacks are bad for your heart.

I have had one panic attack in my life and have no desire to repeat the experience, but I can tell you this from personal experience: your heart turns into a hummingbird.

That can't be good for it.

I don't need a study to tell me that.


There Were Circumstances

So, let's get the totally awesome out of the way first: Aide T is coming back on Monday!

And...(trying not to get my hopes up too high here, but) there's a chance she won't be student teaching in the spring after all.

(Pardon me while I heave a huge sigh of relief.)

Anyhow, Bulldozer apparently realized he was back at school today, after a relatively peaceful day yesterday. He had two pretty intense meltdowns -- the first of which resulted in him yanking our map off the wall, and the second of which resulted in him ripping the paper behind the map off the windows.

However, during the second one, he looked at me with that look. He pointed at me and said, "Mmm mmmm mad!" (Which is his way of saying "Miss ____ mad!") In other words, "Ha ha ha, I'm making you mad."

Yeah, kiddo...when you tell me what your bad behavior is trying to get...not gonna get it. Sorry.

So I kept my poker face and said quietly, "I understand that you want to make me mad. But instead we're going to write a note home to mom and dad. If they're mad...that's up to them. I just want you to do your work."

Suffice it to say, he was a bit stunned.

(Haw haw.)

I wasn't going to stay today and put the map back up, but I changed my mind. However, it's now back where it was last year (slightly out of arm's reach when he's at the table he's at where he has his meltdowns), there is masking tape all around the edge of the paper.

(Haw haw.)

It's a bit childish, I realize, to feel kinda vindictive about this, but it's not going to work. He has a communication device, break cards, a picture schedule, and (currently) a touch more freedom than the rest of the kids. He's following a work-then-break one-step schedule which results in him getting more breaks than the rest of them. Bless their hearts, though, they get it, and don't complain.

Meanwhile, Speech Aide A came in to do speech with him, and sent my blood pressure skyrocketing. She was immediately confrontational with him (yeah, good plan, that) and when he did try to smack her, she said loudly to me (twice), "He can't be allowed to get away with this."


Don't ya think it would be easier to let him get away with this? I mean, seriously, do you think I like getting tables shoved at me, getting kicked, having my glasses thrown across the room, and having a 9 year old boy trying to tear my shirt? I wouldn't be going through all of this if I was letting him "get away" with it.

The kid is primarily trying to escape tasks. So, just like all the head honcho behavior people say, he is removed from the situation to calm down in a place where both he and I are safe, and when he is calm, the task is presented again. His meltdowns do not allow him to escape tasks. They (and I) follow him. I don't give him stuff when he's inclined to tear it up and throw it away, but it remains in view, and it doesn't go anywhere.

And, ya know what, it works. His Tuesdays are as good as his Fridays are at the beginning of the year. I am already considering which tasks to add a second step to his picture schedule for -- in order to delay his reward/break. Aside from today, he is hitting less, and crying less. When he does cry, it is for shorter periods of time, is generally quieter, and he refocuses better.


'Cause he hasn't been allowed to get away with it. Because his escape behavior isn't earning him escape -- completing short tasks and/or asking for a break is getting him a break.

Then, as he begins to calm down, she presents him with his first task. It is not a particularly engaging one, and he tries to throw the pictures away. So, I try to ease him into it. Instead of pointing at "she is brushing teeth," I ask him if the pictures are girls or boys (his favorite thing to name) but she brushes me off, sending him into another 5 minute long tail spin.

I was actually so bothered by the comment that I asked DFT to talk to her about it. She (DFT) has been remarkably pragmatic about the whole thing. She came back to do speech with him after he hit Speech Aide A the second time, and when he began hitting, allowed me to redirect him to the safe chair, sat a ways back, and did just what I was trying to do today -- namely, start off slow, start off easy, ease him into the hard stuff.

And, of course, in the morning, I hear the continuous chatter from Aide L (despite both Aide S and Aide J -- hooray for them -- brushing her off and answering as vaguely as possible) about how he didn't do this last year (of course, she subbed from winter break on, after Teacher M had already fought this battle, albiet with parents that sort of reinforced her at home, at least), and how it must be the age, 'cause her son has been scratching, yadda yadda yadda.

My response? I paraphrased an episode of Buffy: "There are circumstances." (For the record, the actual quote is, "Buffy wouldn't do something like this. It's just not in her nature. Well, I mean, there was that one time where she disappeared for several months and changed her name, but there were circumstances then -- there-there's no circumstances!")

It's kinda like last year, when M had some trouble adjusting from lots of play time to ohmigod-I'm-in-fourth-grade-and-I-have-to-work?!?!?! All I got from otherwise-wonderful Aide L (who works in preschool, not sub-aide L) was, "Wow, M wasn't like this last year."


However, we had a great sub for Aide B this afternoon -- although since Bulldozer's meltdown began about 5 minutes after recess until more or less the end of the day, I only got to chat with her after school.

Still, she was telling someone about how she was explaining to someone working with her son (who, I presume, must have disabilities of some sort) that if he spits at you, redirect him once, otherwise just move away from him -- 'cause he's doing it for attention.


So I praised the thought process up and down right in front of Aide J (I only with Aide S could have been there) because she still makes that mistake with E, even though she doesn't anymore with Superhero.

Anyway, after school, I told her that I was glad she understood that, because often people don't get it and continue redirecting. Her response was a totally awesome "Well, I would too, if I wanted him to spit at me more!"

Hee hee hee.

It might have made some impact on Aide J, though. While waiting for the bus, E hit her on the arm, and she simply turned away (keeping E in her peripheral vision, of course) and said, "I'm not talking to you while you're hitting."

Much, much better than, "Ouch! That hurt! E, there is no hitting! Stop!"

However, I must say, the class handled Aide T's visit very well -- despite swarming her in a massive group hug the moment she came in the door. :-) M had a bit of a problem, but she calmed down fairly well until Bulldozer's second tremendous meltdown -- but the OTs took her outside, so yay!

Meanwhile, Superhero started crying at recess and even using his new communication flip book, could only tell me he was "sad." A bit later, he started sneezing, coughing, and felt warm, so my suspicion is that he's catching the epidemic that M and Bulldozer have already had, and that Angel has now (and that I avoided only by the grace of lots of vitamins, horrible tasting zicam mouth spray, and lots of sleep).

How many seconds till Monday morning? :-)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Only Half on Strike

So, my conscience wouldn't let me be totally on strike, so I did a week's worth of journals (next week is the last of the journals I made during summer).

October 18 is a boring day.

Just thought y'all would want to know that.

Belated TV Reviews

By the way -- Bulldozer was great today; only one little meltdown.  The others, on the other hand...ouch.  Superhero was with dad this weekend (never a good), and the idea of sending him to DARE with Aide L?  Yeah, not my brightest.  Boy J...just had issues.

So I'm on strike tonight.  I ended up ahead with the school stuff, and I will probably just do nothing and recover, 'cause to pull the rest of them through their drama, I need to be at least kind of sane.

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, Amazon was offering a free download of the new Bionic Woman.  I was mildly intrigued, having watched reruns of the original on the Sci-Fi channel in the 90s -- back when they showed old sci-fi shows.  Plus, I remembered that Katee Sackhoff (of Battlestar Galactica) was also in it as another bionic...woman.


Anyhow, let's get the basics out of the way.  Bionic Woman is helmed by one of Battlestar Galactica's head honchos -- which suggests, of course, that it'll be more than a simplistic remake.

(Or, was.  I seem to recall that one of the executive producers quit right before the season started to air.)

However, where BSG at least maintains much of the original story -- the Cylon attack, the flight through space, meeting with the Pegasus, and so forth -- while updating it into a gritty political drama that happens to happen in space (in the first season and a half) and a sci-fi with a distinct mythological bent (in the last season and a half), Bionic Woman has, as far as I can recall, two things in common with its namesake.

1.  The main character's name is Jaime Somers.

2.  She becomes bionic at the behest of her boyfriend after a devastating accident.

(Of course, in the original, it was 'cause whatever the Six Million Dollar Man's name was threatened to stop working if they didn't bionicify her, not 'cause he was in charge of Super Secret Military Stuff.)

Now, this isn't necessarily bad.  While following the same essential story line -- including, it seems, eventually finding Earth -- BSG is, in its day to day operation, very different than the original.

(However, I've always missed Patrick Macnee's opening narration from the original, especially given the premise on the new BSG that all of this has happened before -- meaning that the colonies are likely the result of a prior exodus through space.)

In any event, it's not necessarily bad that Bionic Woman is so different from the original.  The problem was -- I couldn't really decide where it was going.  Visually, it reminded me of the WB's short-lived Birds of Prey.  In some ways, it did remind me of BSG in that I'm not really sure who the good guys are -- except, of course, we're supposed to believe that Jaime is one of the good guys.

But it had another problem.  I'm often critical of actors playing very different parts, unless they are very, very good at their craft.

(For instance, the notion that Pavel Chekov on Star Trek and Alfred Bester on Babylon 5 are the same actor the least...a "wow."  You could also say the same for Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek and whatever-his-name-is on Heroes (I've only seen one episode).)

Katee Sackhoff is a very good actress.  She is especially got at nonverbal acting, in my opinion.  There is a scene in a first season episode of BSG ("Act of Contrition") where she has to fess up to Adama (the one man she really seems to admire at that point, and the man who was almost her father-in-law) about something -- and you can see every ounce of despair that Kara feels as Adama reacts in anger.

It's an awesome scene and the scene that made me a Starbuck fan.

So I watched Bionic Woman worried that I'd see Kara Thrace (Starbuck) instead of whatever her name was.

I didn't.

Unfortunately, from the very beginning where she slithers across the screen and shortly meets her demise, only to (mysteriously) show up again...she was Number Six.

And I mean she was Number Six.

From her hair style to the clothes to the way she moved -- she was Number Six.


I'll probably watch one or two more weeks.  There's very little sci-fi on right now that I enjoy -- Stargate: Atlantis is...meh.  I never got into Lost or Heroes (I know, I know).  BSG doesn't return until January.  Smallville...I watch occasionally, but it's not really a favorite either.

So we'll see.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Double the Pirates, and a Rant

So, Cat went to a pirate festival this weekend, and took a picture of her friend Amy, dog Hermione, and a pirate statue.

Funnily enough, Patrick took this picture in San Francisco a couple years ago:

Eerily familiar. ;-)

In other news, Patrick's friend at Ralphs (we shall call him Jack) has been transferred to a different store.

I met Jack a couple of years ago when he was a bag boy.  While it was several months later that he mentioned to me that he has Asperger's Syndrome, he may as well have been wearing a scarlet least, as far as I was concerned.

The first time I ever met Jack, he was waxing philosophic about his trip to Australia to the person in line in front of me.  That person paid and went on about their business, and Jack just kept going, finishing his story with me as his new audience.

Since then, he befriended Patrick, and whenever he leaves on one of his trips -- traveling is his Thing -- Patrick misses him greatly.

So today, he asked where Jack was.  Turns out Jack was transferred after an argument with a bag boy, who was fired.  That suggests to me that Jack was not at fault and was probably being picked on.

In fact, I suspect I even know two others who instigated it -- I asked last weekend, and the checker and bag boy -- both guys barely out of high school -- snickered and said they thought he'd gone to another store.

What irks me is that Jack is a perfectly nice guy who happens to go on ad nauseum about a topic.  He likely does not understand or process others' social cues that they're done talking about Australia...but that doesn't make it okay to harass him.

We still have a long way to go.  The "r" word is still far too acceptable.  People make disparaging remarks about "the short bus."  In fact, I was reading a story in my grandpa's New Yorker which used every derogatory term for people with cognitive disabilities in the book.

It's not okay.  It shouldn't be okay.

And I shouldn't be too chicken to tell friends and acquaintances that I don't like the words "retard" or "retarded" or any of the suddenly chic variations ("fantard" being prominent in online fandom at the moment, but I've also heard "r-tard" and various others).