Taken Down by Godzilla
I'm quite convinced that #3 is a manifestation of the Katy Perry song, Hot n cold. That may be the very definition of Oppositional Defiance disorder(ODD). You tell them to do something and they do the opposite. It's like you have to go back to your days as an eight year old and adopt that mentality. I'm sure we all recall games that we used to play with our siblings, like the opposite game. I find myself back to that place. I feel like I have to say, "punch your sister in the face" to get him to decide not to. "Make a mess of your room and don't clean up" with the hope that it will work better than everything else I have tried. Clean your room or I will take all your toys and light them on fire. It works, but don't try that at home.
The truth be told, he is the hard one. Because he has so many moments of Neuro-typical-ness, he easily blends with the masses, that is, until he flips out about something. When he gets upset, the words just evaporate and a very pissed off Godzilla takes his place. Glad he can't spit fire. When his words go, the only thing that is still working are his arms and feet, so he becomes a screaming, hitting machine.
The challenge with having a kid with PDD/NOS, ODD and sensory issues is how to approach. There may be a thousand triggers for an outburst and only one way to guide him out. Sometimes, deep pressure hugs is all it takes, sometimes, redirection via his monkey collection, sometimes, time-out, and sometimes, nothing works and we have to let him scream it out, either in timeout or his room. He is a Rubik cube to the thousandth power: complex, hard to solve and fun to play with until you get stuck.
Transitions are especially difficult for him. Even when we go to hockey every Saturday from November to April, it is still hard to get him out the door in the morning. So I guess for those that know about his transition issues, the schedule changes made for the Maryland State Assessments (MSA) were going to impact him immensely.
For the last week and part of this week, thanks to the "snow" day, the school schedules have been altered including days and times that his teacher was not in his class. His daily behavior log has been far from the 17 smiley faces required to earn reward as a result. Yesterday was the pinnacle, the dreaded "yellow sheet" or office referral form was sent home.
According to the form, #3 "shoved people so hard in line that several fell. When I asked if he did it, he said 'yes' and turned to shove in the other direction. He said 'I will keep shoving and hurting people until June. Then I will be dead." Nothing like reading that to make you feel that your parenting skills have slipped to "destined to be on Jerry Springer" material. The form also said he knocked down two classmates and kicked his friend in the chest. Ouch. My kid is not a martial artist. The kid was sitting on the floor when Godzilla got him.
At his last IEP meeting, we requested that he have an aide. But we learned that in Baltimore county, if you didn't move here with an aide in your IEP, it is really hard to get one added. There is an entire series of evaluations that need to be made, and if Murphy's law is up and running, of course, your child behaves well, perhaps the best ever, on the day of observation. When that happens, the report comes back praising the "great behavior" of your kid regardless of the fact that as soon as the evaluator left the room, the kid took the class like Godzilla on crack. So, our request was denied. We requested again, because next year he enters first grade and the demands are higher. The children switch classes for subjects and that alone is gonna mess him up. We were still denied.
One of our IEP arguments is that you need to make provisions in an IEP for their worst day and frankly, a report like yesterday, that lists behavior that one would equate with a future serial killer, is a clear picture of his worst day. Did the school deal with it well? Yes. The teacher is amazing and so are the administrators. I am sure that in any other school, the principal would have tried to suspend him. Could we make better provisions in his IEP to deal with Godzilla? Yes we can. Give him an aide and take some of the burden off his teacher who has to manage 22 other kids. It is unfortunate that days like those have to happen in order to reopen a dialogue that wasn't received previously.
He stayed in his funk for the rest of the day. Godzilla ate dinner and wound up going to be early. We made him accountable for his behavior and took away all of his toys that mattered to him. I told him he needed to apologize to his class and have a good day or he would lose his play-date with his classmate, scheduled for the next day. When he woke up this morning, I made his sock monkey, Aquis, the catalyst for reminding him that he needed to apologize to his classmates and have a good day. I even told him that Aquis would go to school with him to help him with the apologies. He seemed very happy to take Aquis with him and seemed intent on his promises of apologizing. But, we won't know if he did until I see his teacher this afternoon.
Will Godzilla complete the task? I guess we'll have to wait until 3:20 to find out. Let's hope he can do the dance. Go Godzilla, you can rock it.