I am happy to report that Squeaker is having a fabulous year in preschool. Most days, they report he has one meltdown and it’s usually a minor one. They’re able to intercede before it becomes a huge issue. This is the great part about him being in a self-contained classroom with an autism specialized teacher. In addition to the increased attention and structure of the room, his teacher has been great about offering solutions to the problems we have outside of the classroom.
|Real men where pink (headphones). Now get them off…|
For instance, Squeaker still bites himself at home. So, that’s where the chewelry comes in. His teacher actually offered to share the one OT provided for school with us at home. Sadly, as another blogger suggested, I fear overuse of the necklace has resulted in it no longer working. He enjoys wearing it. That’s not the problem. The problem is that his first inclination is to go for the wrists and/or knees when he bites. Suggesting he bite the necklace instead used to work after the first bite. Not so much now.
Our current most pressing issue is the dreaded school bus lot. Oh, those evil, noisy buses. They’re way too loud for him. You know that sound they make? The air breaks? He hates the sound. It terrifies him beyond words. When he sees buses pull into the lot, he says, “Run.” If I won’t run, he falls to the ground, screams, and bites himself. We have to pass these buses every morning and afternoon, as they fall in the path between the school I work at and the school he attends. Every day it gets harder to make him walk across. It breaks my heart to see him struggle. To see the fear on his face. He has gone back to the old tactic of telling me he needs to go potty in efforts to avoid the walk across. Then, as we walk across the lot, after the first bus we pass, he looks behind himself as if he’s being chased, a look of sheer terror on his face.
Truly terrifying. This morning, I carried him most of the way across the lot and he clung to me for dear life, anxiously looking behind us as I went. Then, we were met by a bus as we approached his school. His teacher got to see what I’ve been telling her about in that moment. He threw himself to the ground, butt first, screamed, and started biting. It was awful. We got him inside, where he repeated what I keep telling him, “It was just a bus.” But it’s NOT just a bus. So we bought him some noise cancelling earphones. I’m hoping he’ll let me put him on them in the morning. And I’m hoping it helps. Yes, they’re pink. It was the only color left. But maybe it’ll work??
Other issues? Leaving my school at the end of the day. He knows my hands are full. I’ve got my purse, my lunch bag, my breastpump…and now he’s refusing to put on his backpack to make my life even harder. And he won’t move down the hall. He just sits there. When I try to pick him up to carry him out, he squirms as much as possible so that I cannot possibly carry him. He’s 33 pounds of squirm. This afternoon, I enlisted the help of some coworkers to get him out of the building. He was devastated when I was able to carry him because I didn’t have my hands full already and commenced promptly with the screaming and biting. I’m embarrassed that I’m unable to control my child. Further embarrassed that several of my students have seen me in this precarious situations. What must they think? I probably shouldn’t care. But I do. I still have my pride, you know? And I’m a bit of a control freak (this may be a slight understatement).
I’m ashamed (not really) to admit that it actually kind of made me feel good that The Manager had a hard time with Squeaker this afternoon when I dropped him off with him. That Squeaker did the same to him that he does to me. That he threw the same LOUD fit. That it’s not JUST ME. Why? Because I feel that usually Squeaker saves this rather public tantrums just for me. Not today. So maybe it’s a global issue. One that occurs everywhere but while he’s in preschool.
The last issue? Unnecessary roughness. Like, I’m afraid to leave Big Guy on the floor to do his thing because Squeaker rolling, doing somersaults, and generally engaging in dangerous behavior around him. Landing on the baby. Crawling on top of the baby. And it’s not accidental. He’s having to go to time-out for these behaviors, but I cannot risk the baby’s safety, so I’m at a loss for what to do. I’m honestly afraid for Big Guy’s safety.
Oh yeah, and on top of all this, we’ve seen an increase in potty accidents the past week. So while preschool has seen the best of Squeaker, we’ve seen the worst of him. And when I discussed this with his teacher, she said, “Oh yeah. This seems to happen a lot with autistic kids. If they hold it together all day at school, they fall apart at home.”
Which leads me to ask the question, “How much do I really want him to behave at school, anyway?” (Joking, sort of.)
Seriously, though. What’s with the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act?