Thursday, March 27, 2008

Good News, Bad News

Yesterday, I received the following email from a student of Dr. Brown's who is working with Curt at school.

I am sorry that I have not written before about Curt. Things have been extremely busy.

When we got back from spring break last Monday, Curt displayed at least 55 acts of aggression including hitting, kicking, and pinching. We were thinking this may have been because of the long break and he wasn't used to us being back and not getting his way. Three out of the next five days, he displayed zero acts of aggression which was really good! (He always gets his way at home. NOT. He doesn't hit the other kids, just the teachers. Anti-establishment, he is.)

Monday we started implementing time out for when he starts to use aggression to get his way. After the day of 55 acts of aggression we found it necessary to start implementing it. (Duh.) Monday he went into time out twice for hitting us and we told him why he was put there and if he understood, to which he replied yes. It is amazing what wonders time out will do for Curt and him following directions and not hitting. (Duh, square.)

Last Thursday was one of best days we have had with Curt. He followed 85% of the directions that he was given, he showed no signs of aggression, and he participated in circle time really well and listened really well.

We have seen a lot of improvement in his verbal activity. During baseline we noticed that he did not say much at all, but now he is starting to open up a bit more in trying to say things to others. On several occasions he has sang in circle time, quietly but he did sing and we praised him for that. He has also been participating more in circle time with the other children. He responds very well to yes or no questions. When we ask him to identify numbers or objects he does identify them verbally.

Our intervention is definitely helping. His percentage of following directions is going up a great deal. During baseline he averaged around 30% of followed directions and now he is averaging around 70% of followed directions. He seems to respond very well to the stickers.

I hope this helps in letting you know where we are at in working with him!

Student Name

Wow. 55 acts of aggression in one day. I knew my boy was an overachiever.

ETA: You must read the comment by Coyote Bebop, which puts everything into perspective. I mean now.


Coyote Bebop said...

"Wow. 55 acts of aggression in one day. I knew my boy was an overachiever."


Hire that son of yours out NOW! Big corps will be like, "Holy Crap! He's a DO-ER!"

I have a response for Mr Student of Dr Browns;

Dear Student of Dr Browns,
I read 24% of your email, when I realized that you & 87% of your staff are about 76% of STUPID, and you probably have 12% of the experience it takes to raise 17% of a good child. FYI: children are pretty much 100% spontanious, and you are more than likely destroying 99% of their will. Therefore I will 110% encourage my son to smash down 150% of the walls that try to force the words "you can't do it" down his throat. I feel 100% sorry for you, Mr Student of Dr Browns, because when you are 60 years old, you will look back and realize that only 10% of your life was ever lived....and you will 100% regret it.

Ange (formerly Writer Mom) said...

Makes me so happy to see Coyote doing for you what he did for me all those months and months.
*I skimmed the note because I'm heading out the door, but I'll be back...I promise. 55 acts of aggression? Reads just like Jack's Kindergarten notes. NICE, isn't it, that they have all that free time to count?

I'll be back.

Ange (formerly Writer Mom) said...

All right. Now I've read everything, and I'm holding back some curse words, because we don't know each other well enough for me to unleash the ones that have come to mind.

I think I need to read back.

This preschool is in no way connected with Vanderbilt, right?
I'm confused.
Are they making this up as they go?
Are they familiar at all with mixed receptive/expressive language disorder? Is that just being ignored, and he's being handled like a petulant challenge?

Making him do things when he's not sure what's going on is like pushing a kid into the causes panic. Of course he's going to panic. He's trying to learn language while living in the real world where it seems everyone else already knows what's going on, and in the meantime he's getting in trouble for not being up to speed--it's a double whammy stressful situation, and on top of that, HE'S A LITTLE KID!...Of course he's going to lash out.
Freak trying to sound like the kid whisperer. Makes me angry. Every time someone thinks they've got it all figured it and one size fits all, makes me angry.

And I really got pissed about the insinuations that he's spoiled at home.
I'm telling ya, I wanted to leap through the screen, go to Curt's school with you, find that student, and go OFF, and I haven't had the courage to go off on anyone yet, so this would be a very very loud kaboom.
How dare they!
I mean, the balls!!
Yeah, that made me mad. 'If only you weren't such a lousy parent, we'd get this kid whipped into shape in no time.'
I need to go get on the treadmill, now, but you have my sympathy and support.

Please give a hug to Curt for me.

Jeanna said...

Ange and Coyote,

Thank you both. Yes, I get pissed on a regular basis. When I read the word "intervention," it made me cringe. I must admit, Dr. Brown and these students have good intention. I believe that or I wouldn't be allowing this.

However, 55 acts? I don't see this at home.

Curt is a very loving little guy, but he is very strong-willed.

I am in such a dilemna. I don't agree with everthing they say by a long shot, but I feel I need to do something. I've got to do something.

If he is not compliant, especially if his language is not where it should be, they will try to put him in special ed. This is a fact. I feel I am fighting an enemy I've not met yet, but one who is waiting for me, for Curt.

This is the only way I know today to help him conform enough to be able to function in society. I don't want to break his spirit. I don't want others to do it, either.

The good news I feel in my heart is that no one can break his spirit. It is unbreakable. I love him so. He is my life.

What to do? I'm still at a loss. It's a day by day process. I just feel there's no right answer.

Thank you for your support. I cannot express what it means.

Suzanne said...

I don't even know what to think of that tight-assed note. Good god. Hang in there.

ariel said...

Tight-assed and close-minded.
From my experience that sounds like how any young child reacts to major stressors. Maybe less time spent making him fit to what they want and more time spent comforting him and showing him how better to express his fears, and acknowledging those fears would be a more child friendly and less establishment friendly path.

In other words, they know shit about kids.

(Oh, just stopped in from Ange's. Hi. :)

Ange (formerly Writer Mom) said...

I know what you're saying about conforming.
Hang in there.
Honestly, preschool and Kindergarten just don't seem ready for late talking kids, but the help in place for First Grade here has been tremendously impressive. I don't want to bum you out by suggesting you've got a couple more years of this crap to put up with, but when we were at you're at, we were told to hold Jack back two years...To put him in summer school so that he could get ready for 4-year-old preschool!...And then Kindergarten was such a heartbreaker, I was thinking I'd end up homeschooling. We tried interviewing at Montessori schools, but they seemed pretty assimilated to status quo. They were so afraid of having a special needs kid, I got halfway through the walk through with the director and just finally said, "Thanks for your time." Got to the car and said, "At least we know what we're dealing with where he's currently at. This place just scared me, plus it's forty five minutes away."

The choices are hard, but he WILL fit in someday. He'll excel, and he'll also have such an insight to human behavior, before you know it, you'll realize all this strife actually helped create such a caring, empathetic, wonderfully well rounded young man.
Keep him happy at home.
Maybe write down some suggestions.
I'd go over to Missy's site for ideas. *Keep needing to type up some of the things Jack's school has been doing. Maybe I'll write the guidance counselor and ask her how to write it all out in education speak.
And if one of them would just CALL Dr. Camarata, he would tell them all they need to know to help Curt.
You think they would?

One more reason I love the Camaratas, Dr. Camarata made sure to tell Jack's counselor to be kind to me, because we'd been through the ringer. I don't think those were his words, but basically, she opened up our first year's meeting by saying, "Dr. Camarata told me to be honest and open, and to reassure you that we are not trying to take Jack back to an Autism diagnosis. We're working with him to best help Jack, and I've gotta say, that man is fantastic."

I don't know how to speak like an educator, but they do. Maybe they'd call him? First thing Dr. Camarata would say is, "hitting is normal, and here's why the do it."
This misconception that the frustrated swap is some sort of deviant reaction really needs to be addressed, because we worry as mothers that it will cause animosity towards our kid, but it's the last resort method for communicating, and that means they failed Curt 55 times that day.
They did. He's the child. It's their job to figure out how to educate him.
I recommend having them call the Camaratas.

Hang in! I'm no rock. I'm just on the sunnier side of the mountain.