Sunday, January 29, 2012

All Blown Out of Proportion

We are still at the daycare.  I went to pick up Puppy from his daycare on Friday.  I took a deep breath and proceeded to open the door to his classroom.  I signed him out and caught a glimpse of his teacher holding a binder and pen from across the doorway.   She saw me and quickly came over to say we needed to talk privately.  I followed her outdoors.  She begins by saying, “You know what I’m going to tell you, right?”  I whispered back, “That you are going to ask us to leave the daycare.” I felt a little relief when she giggled and answered, “No, of course not.”  And then I patiently stood there as she continued to explain the events as they happened on Friday.

Guess what?  It wasn’t as badly as the other teacher had made it out to be.  There was some truth to the story but he didn’t try to strike anyone, he was swinging to hit himself.  Yes, he did scream the “f” word at everyone, but this was not a first.  He did cause self-injury, but not anything severe and similar actions his teacher had seen before.  So what I got from all this is that the teacher who gave Ms. H the initial report is not Puppy’s full-time teacher and was unfamiliar with his tantrums.  It was blown out of proportion on Thursday and now I had the complete story first-hand from his teacher.  I was asked to sign the incident report and all was fine. And by the way, Puppy had a good day at daycare Friday.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Daycare or No Daycare?

Remember those two good days I wrote about?  Yesterday just cancelled them out.

It’s difficult to understand what is going on in Puppy’s mind.  I have no idea how he interprets information, reasons with situations that arise, or satisfies his needs to comprehend.

Thursday started off on the right foot and he was ready to begin his day.  He went to school on the bus and was even early for it.  When the teacher doesn’t text me throughout the day, I can only assume he’s doing well. Like every weekday, after the bell rings, Puppy is bussed to the daycare where he spends about 3 hours a day.  I had an errand to run after work and I ask Ms. H to pick him up for me and take him home.

I get a call from Ms. H telling me he’s in the car with her and he’s fine.  But his teacher needs to talk to me the today.  Puppy had a tantrum at daycare.   He blew up, the pressure caught up to him. I can only guess it was building from not having anything to carry in his pockets. From not being able to use paper. These are my guesses, but he tells me it's that there are too many little kids. The story is he was doing homework, then without warning he yells, curses, hits his head on the table, punches the table and even tried to strike the two teachers in the room.  So far this has been the worst episode at daycare.  He’s had small tantrums with foul language and some self-injury, but never the striking at people.  I truly feel this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I’m going to be asked to leave the daycare with my son.  I hope I’m wrong, but they aren’t staffed with experienced personnel to handle a child with autism.  They were kind enough to give it a try.  Especially since the good days greatly outweigh the bad ones.

Before I went home, I got on the phone with his teacher and relayed what had happened.  With both of us confused, I asked if she had any suggestions for me.  I may have to find an alternative to after school care.  I’ll keep you posted on what happens when I pick him up from daycare today.  Cross finger and toes we don’t get kicked out.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Two Days

Puppy’s progress:   For beginners, he no longer carries a hankie. Puppy tried to stuff his hankie with facial tissues in a pocket he created when he folded it like a wallet, so the hankie was taken away for misuse on Monday, because he had been warned three times previously.  

In fact, he doesn’t carry anything in his pockets at all for the last two days.  I know I know…it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but in Puppy’s world –it is a whole lot of something.  He’s already struggling and looking for replacements to whatever it is he feels is missing.   

He started day one on Tuesday (January 24) with wearing a watch.  I have several watches and I lend him one now and then as a distraction away from the wallet.  Coincidentally, it was a Fossil watch that happens to be the same name as one of his favorite wallets, hmmm?  He was instructed to keep it on his arm and never put it in his pocket.  It wasn’t going to be easy, but it seems like he complied throughout the entire day.  I didn’t get any bad reports on that day.  Great job, Puppy!  However, I should mention that my previous posting of Backup Call was brought on by the fact that his pockets were empty and he was asking when he would have his wallet returned.  It was question after question that prompted the need for backup.

Day two was Wednesday (January 25); and already I see him bothered by the whole thing, but he surprisingly came to me that morning as we were getting dressed, several times pulling his pockets inside out to show me he’s not carrying anything.  I praised him and reminded him it’s another day and he can do it.

We are also trying one more trick.  His teacher gave him a dry-erase board on Wednesday.  He will be carrying it around in his backpack at all times.  From now on he isn’t allowed to use paper.  It’s too easy for him to get drawn into making himself paper wallets.  I even told his daycare teacher to take the board out for him to use instead of paper while he’s there.  At home, we are doing our homework on it as well.  We had progress with this, too.

I know I mentioned before the holidays that we are doing in-home training.  His teacher is coming over once a week; Wednesday was one of those evenings.  So like before whenever she is there to observe and coach me as I watch her interact with Puppy, I had a precious little soldier, so well behaved but nervous.  He did well and he is aware of her presence, or at least her watching from the cameras, aka the smoke detectors.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Backup Call

It was one of those days.  I can usually handle just about anything when it comes to Puppy.  However, every now and then he is so talkative and debating my every response, that I feel like putting a closed door between us.  Not so easy when we are the only two people in a moving truck. 

We got home after a long day and just as the conversations were taking place in the truck, they continued after walking in the front door.  I don’t think there is much need to go over the conversation but know that nothing was going to stop him from asking question after question until he heard the answer he was searching for. 

That was it…I texted for backup.  I gave a brief description of what was going on between Puppy and me to his teacher.  I followed her instructions, but wasn’t successful in satisfying his need for answers.  One last text to her read:  “It’s not working. It’s going to take a call from you.”  And she readily answered, “Ok”.  And the phone rang.  I handed it to Puppy and he saw her name…”oh, oh...hello.”

Puppy and his teacher talked for a few minutes.  I could only hear his end of the discussion but I knew she had it under control.  He replied to her questions because now the tables were turned and she was asking and he was answering.  Once they were done he handed me the phone so his teach and I could talk.  She patiently explained how she made sure he understood what he was doing and it was as simple as asking him questions that he could answer about his actions and behavior.  Something about having him say it and hearing his own voice to make sure he heard the requests or rules that were being discussed.

After that one phone call, Puppy stopped talking, finished his snack and went to shower and followed it by jumping into bed.  I tucked him in and he repeated the rules of the day.  Sweet dreams, Puppy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Hankie

We really did have a tantrum-free weekend.  But it doesn’t mean that Puppy was happy-go-lucky the entire time.  He still had his moments, but he was able to control himself from blowing up and was able to comply when asked to lower his voice.  He was still his stubborn self when it came to household chores like making his bed, picking up his dirty laundry, and not being able to buy a wallet at the convenient store.  I know taking him to the store is his weakness, but the more I thought about it, the more I want to take him to make us both stronger; him to not get or ask for a wallet and so that I don’t give in to buying one.

 I’m really trying to be firmer with our discussions.  Although, I do my best, it still might come back and bite me because as I mentioned in Magical Classroom, his school environment is different from our home environment.  I am more lenient and allow certain actions like taking his handkerchief in his back pocket, but only to find out that he manipulated the freedom and folded it into a wallet-like shape by putting his folds in a manner to give it size, and even a couple of times made it so that it held his credit cards just perfectly.  Yep, he’s good, and he knows exactly what he wants.

Going back to the handkerchief, this morning he was whining that he wanted to take it and put a cardboard prayer in it, after all it was prayer, what’s wrong with that? I firmly told him he couldn’t put anything in the hankie and even took it to iron it into a small neatly pressed square.  I smiled as I handed it to him.  Nothing will fit and he will comply.  Or so I wished.  He took it and snapped it open.  Placed it on the bed and proceeded to fold it into a wallet.  We went over and over the rules that reminded him the hankie did not come that way and it was wrong to fold it as he did; teacher was definitely going to see it and keep it…again.  He walked away to his room upset at my disapproval.  He came back, apologized and we gave it a proper folding then placed it in his back pocket.  I smiled again and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

I hope you aren’t getting confused and thinking that Puppy has an obsession with handkerchiefs, because he doesn’t.  His obsession still remains with wallets, but he will substitute just about ANYTHING for one, every chance he gets.  It is still a work in progress.

Good Job!

I just need to shout it out—we had a tantrum free weekend!!  That’s all.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Magical Classroom

Going back to my previous posting -- let me explain.  What I’m saying is that we have created our own language.  We use key words, phrases, even gestures.  Sure, everyone does with their parents, or spouses, or kids, etc.  And I’m just stating that Puppy and I have ours, too.   

Since Puppy obviously can’t be home all day, he goes to school, then daycare on Mondays through Fridays.  This is when our little world gets complicated.  He is going to talk to several people throughout his day and the difference is that they don’t know which key words I use at home, what phrases get the job done, and which ones trigger unwanted behaviors.

His classroom setting is priority.  He has so much structure there; we both would be lost without it.  In fact, it was only two years ago that this structure became reality for us because it was the only place Puppy was able to find himself. It took a very patient and caring teacher. But I wish I had a crystal ball to let me view his progress throughout the day.  I need to know the same key words and phrases that are used in the classroom that got the job done.  What was said, done or used that made him respond with such positive behavior?  I know there is a high percentage of respect that has been earned by his teacher and aides that has influence on Puppy. If they could only teach me, teach me how to obtain the same results at home.  Experience brings knowledge.  Knowledge provides support for experience.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Our Club

Some days…some days I just want to scream.  In the last nine and one-half years Puppy and I have created our own understanding in our own little world.  I’m not saying it’s a super duper underground laboratory club with a secret handshake or anything.  Except we spend our mornings, evenings and weekends together and not too many people come into our little circle.  It is kind of a secret club though, so isolated that only those that want to come in are there.  Sadly, not too many come knocking to join.

That’s all.