Friday, July 5, 2013

A good day all day

Ah yes. It’s amazing how some days are like day and night. After the stress from Tuesday’s events, Puppy woke up on Wednesday with a smile on his face and his squeaks. That’s the only way I know he’s not grumpy. A squeak in the morning is music to my ears. After getting dressed for school he came down for breakfast and asked if he was in trouble and if his teacher was going to be angry. I wish there was a magic pill he could take to wipe away his bad experiences and only keep the good ones. I did my best to explain that he already had his consequences and that he was starting a new day. He took a deep breath and said he was done misbehaving.

He had his final day at middle school and celebrated with pizza and cake.  It was a good day all day. Morning, afternoon and evening seemed to go by without a hitch. He was well behaved, helpful with laundry, did well during his therapy session. He showered before bedtime, and all was followed by the sound of silence.

Although I know that he probably thinks he’s being sincere with his apologies, this is all a part of autism. We've been down this road before and he can go days without a tantrum or cuss word, but I cannot forget that there are constant triggers that even he is unaware of which will take him to another place. It may be that he safely goes on a verbal tantrum; but it’s a possibility that he might be looking to have a more physical connection such as picking up buds or an empty box of cigarettes from the floor. I just hope he keeps safe without hurting himself. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The threat

Tuesday evening was not so smooth. Puppy had done great through his speech therapy with Joe.  After their session they went over the rules that come along with keeping his wallet in his pocket.  I had explained earlier to Joe that the wallet was beginning to have less value to Puppy, and we were going to need another way to get his attention. Well, I wasn't expecting what he said next. He explained that the next time he had a tantrum or misbehaved, he would be coming over to shave off his mustache. And so it was said out loud.  Puppy continued to say everything Joe wanted to hear and their session was over.

It almost seemed as if Puppy waited for Joe to turn the corner and out of sight before he came to me and tells me he found an empty box of cigarettes on the sidewalk and has no intentions of throwing it away. We talked it out and I was not successful. Puppy’s anxiety was escalating and I saw the signs.  I sent Joe a text to please come back.  I waited outside for Joe as Puppy ran upstairs and running around as if looking for a hiding place for both the box and his wallet. And then he waited at the door for Joe.

Once he set eyes on Joe he started cussing and throwing punches at him. Thankfully, Joe is a professional whom has years of experience in handling these same situations and he quickly took control of Puppy and restrained him as he talked him into a calm state. Then the process of following through with the threat was placed into motion. Although Puppy cried a bit, he remained under control and his mustache was shaved off. He apologized and said he knew he did several things that were against the rules and that he was not going to do them again.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New behavior training

Since March of this year I hired a guy with experience in working with special needs kids at our school district. Joe was hired to work directly with Puppy on his behaviors.  It even started with a really big bang, too.  On day one, Puppy felt the male presence in his space and acted on it. He had a meltdown that first day.  And I was told to expect it and told it may happen a few times before he gets comfortable with having him in his home. But since Joe was able to handle the situation well and without hurting him, Puppy came around quickly.

As time went by, I saw a dramatic change in Puppy. He seemed happier and was more responsive to instructions.  He seemed to start letting himself take in the world around him in a different way, with eyes wide open.

On our second month, the lessons took a turn. I became the student. I was taught how to speak to Puppy. I learned to use a firm voice, minimum words, give clear instructions, and show no fear.  And it worked. Puppy must have noticed I was mimicking Joe and understood to follow through as if Joe were talking to him.

However, even though Puppy was having continuous days of good behavior without tantrums, his obsessions never took a back seat. They were very present and we did what seemed to be the next necessary step, we removed all wallets from his possession. He was given until the end of the regular school year (which was about a month) to keep good behaviors and be compliant with his chores and schoolwork in order to get a wallet. This would be a new wallet because all the others were taken away and given to the homeless shelter.  

Yet, being without a wallet took a toll on him. He turned to his obsession of cigarettes. He was always searching the sidewalks and trashcans for the empty boxes, or sometimes he got lucky and there was one or two in a box. He even took to stealing them from the neighbors. Yes, lucky us…we have smokers all around us. I was constantly checking his pockets and drawers. He never took a break and my need to keep steady watch on him was tiring.

The end of the school year finally arrived and he was hyped. We talked about following rules for the last couple of weeks leading up to the day. He could repeat all those rules and convincingly promise to do no wrong. I waited until the Saturday after to take him to Kohl’s so he could pick this one and only wallet that will remain in his possession for the rest of his years until it is too old and ugly to use. He picked the perfect wallet and we had a new kid. He seemed complete and happy. I felt so good being able to fill that void he had. And that was when our lives went back to how they were before, but with better behaviors.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

ESY is over

Puppy has survived an extra four weeks of summer school (ESY). Wednesday will be his last day, then he will be on a break until August when he begins classes at the high school.

Yep, HIGH SCHOOL. I don't even know how I'm going to survive this new journey he will be experiencing, much less wrap my head around how he will manage in a new campus, with a new teacher, new classmates, new rules, and so much more that has my mind doing flips.

I keep telling myself he is a bright kid whom has been able to transition well all these years, he'll be just fine.

I don't think it has hit him yet. Maybe not until he doesn't see his teacher of three years standing in front of the classroom, maybe then...he'll snap. I just hope this snap is a good one.

I'll be praying it's not the kind of snap that most kids have as they start to imagine how they can get away with not following any of the old rules, as they start to push limits with the new teacher, etc. Oh how I hope not. But he's a brave one, my Puppy. I'll have to wait and see.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Is anyone still there?

I know, I know. I said I would post more often but I got into a slump and filled with the 'blahs' that kept me away from the computer.

Things are still feeling like a roller-coaster ride, but it's not all due to Puppy and his behaviors. So much is going on at work that I'm getting burned out. I actually worked for three weeks straight without a day off and no one even noticed. Well, they noticed at work because they needed me there, but otherwise...the world still turned.

I shall make myself work through the 'blahs'. But I don't have to like it.