Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ten days, by my count

I'm still excited about it and feel like shouting from the highest hill in town, we have no mountains here. Yes, ten days without a single tantrum.

I almost feel guilty about counting today, because although there were no tantrums, he did cause self-injury. Puppy has all week for the holiday break.  So since I still have to work, he is dropped off at daycare.  And now I need to give a few details about this week.  Puppy's daycare moved locations and Monday was their first working day at the new location.  So in Puppy's defense I'm going to give some insight into what I think may have contributed to his self-injury.

     * Puppy's daycare is in the same neighborhood, but three blocks away. He questioned me where I was taking him and showed concern about being left in a strange place.

     * It's an old building that may have been used as medical offices. I'm not sure for certain, I need to ask around about that.  But it's been restored and painted on the inside and outside. The strong scent of paint is all over.

     * As I observed the classrooms, I noticed they are small and they are filled with bookshelves, tables and chairs, and small carpeted floor areas.  The room I left Puppy in on Monday was such a room as described and they were not prepared for him to arrive, so he may have felt out of place. 

     * Naturally, he would feel he's in unfamiliar setting.  Puppy is the oldest and tallest child at the daycare.  They had forgotten to provide the bigger chair for him to use, so he was made to use the tiny chair until his teacher arrived to take him to his new classroom.

     * The new classroom for the after school students is located in a basement like room.  It is larger in that it has an entrance space, then a setup with small tables for meals, followed by another larger space for the daily activities. 

     * I noticed this classroom had a lower ceiling, and minimal windows or rather small windows allowing for sky light to come in and not so much for looking out.  The other location had large windows and a glass door looking out to the street. It gave lots of daylight and activity from the outside.

     * This basement classroom seemed to have an echo, and crowded or claustrophobic feeling about it. 

     * Puppy complained there were too many kids.  He couldn't even tell me if they were the same after school kids he already knew or not.  I only noticed that some were younger than usual.  It may be possible that they were also a bit more rowdy or hyper if younger. 

But although these seem to be excuses, at least to you and me, I have read enough material on autism to understand that just because Puppy cannot explain or express to me verbally all the possibilities that may cause heightened sensitivity or over stimulation within his surroundings, it doesn't mean that they aren't affecting him.

His teacher mentioned to me that he was asking how much longer before I arrived to pick him up, and it started about two hours before I did arrive.  I'm sure this caused stress, too.  He was already telling me he didn't want to go back tomorrow, but because I only work one-half day, I will do my best to convince him it will be for a short period.  I will pray for him to have a better day, and we will continue to our counting of days without tantrums.