His First After School Detention

“All smiles today,” he says as we’re leaving the house. His days get measured in smiles and frowns, and he wants a day of smiles. He never intended his day to end in his first after school detention, but as I dropped him off I just feeling his day might not go as well as he planned. As energy pulsated out of him in waves, I thought to myself, “I hope he has a good day.” I thought he would just have extra energy.

Around 2:40, I got a phone call from his teacher letting me know that his day did not go well. At that time, she felt she could not get him to the daycare bus, and she wanted me to know that she had until 5:30. He had not completed his work that day, and she wanted him to understand that he did not get to do whatever he wanted to. They had spent the day with him just writing down whatever and trying to pass it off as work and we had an understanding between us (the teachers and I) that he could not get away with that because he is capable of more than that. When asked to do it over, he would crumple it up, throw a fit, throw shoes, or try to kick. It’s gracious of them to allow him to stay at school with those behaviors. As related as they are to his disability, his behavior has gotten extreme. Thankfully, they have a separate place to take him when he spirals out of control in the regular classroom. This is not what I had envisioned for him, though.

Anyway, we had him stay after school to do the work he refused to do during the day. Prior to this, we would take it home and make him do it at home. She wanted him to understand that they (the teachers) had control (not him). I did not mind that plan. I agree that for him, it’s important to understand that actions have consequences and in order for him to understand any of that, the follow-through must happen immediately. He also needs to know that 100% of the time, he must complete his work and it must meet expectations. If we allow him to give us work that he could do better, he do it poorly the next time. He’ll guess on his math. He’ll scribble. He’ll write half a sentence. Despite what most people thought last year, this kid actually has a fair amount of intelligence. He can do a lot.

First After School Detention - Teaching Children With Autism

So, yes, he had his first after school detention yesterday. I truly don’t think he meant his day to go that way, though. It makes me really sad for him. I see him with all this energy bundled up and he just wants to run. His lack of patience for sitting down and doing the work comes from his desire to get up and move. It also comes from poor frustration tolerance. If he gets one thing wrong, he’s done. He wanted his day to go well yesterday. When we left, he did not tell me, “I’m going to go to school and take that place down!” He wanted to make us proud. That’s his desire every day. He takes great pride in those good days. He came home beaming on Thursday with his good day report. He loves doing well. It breaks my heart that we have him on so many medications and they don’t work, yet I can’t just take them away because that would hurt him. His first after school detention happened because we can’t seem to figure this out for him.

The two things I have on my agenda for him?

  1. Find a good therapist for children with Autism and PTSD (I believe he might have PTSD from all the surgeries he’s had and the time he burned his hands)
  2. Find a holistic doctor to see if we can find a more natural way to treat him and at least minimize medications and make him feel better. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard him complain that his belly hurts in the past few months and I feel awful. I want him tested for food allergies, imbalances, etc., and I want him feeling better as a whole.

I think we’ve gone the wrong way just doing the medication. We’ve failed to treat the whole child.  I’m going to go a different route. Maybe then we’ll see a reduction in behavior.


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  1. Treating the “whole child” has been a struggle for us as well. Your son sounds just like our oldest (16). Same hurry to finish work, but frustrated when it’s incorrect and he has to redo it. Some days, great. Some days, behavioral outbursts and cursing in class. He takes meds, but like you said, he sometimes complains of a stomachache and we don’t know if it’s the meds, an allergy, or anxiety. He’s been tested for allergies, but we still left with many questions. We have to make sure he is made accountable for his school work as well-he resists being challenged. Nice post!