Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Progress is Slow

I can't find it in his IEP, but I know we talked about a Communication Sheet in GL's IEP meeting. Since he either doesn't tell us what happens at school, or tells wildly improbable stories about it, we don't know what's happening until his teacher mentions that he's been having some behavior problem or other for some time now...

We asked for it again at Parent-Teacher Conferences first semester, and she assured us she would make one. We waited, and—Nothing. We asked again at Parent-Teacher Conferences second semester, waited a few weeks, and—guess what he brought home Monday?

It's a simple checklist, one page per week, with a list of behaviors and a blank for each day, so we know whether he did or did not exhibit that behavior. That's all we wanted. There are positive and negative behaviors on the list, so  whether he had a good day or a bad day, something should be checked. Monday's checkmarks indicated a good day, with no problems. Tuesday and Wednesday, nothing was checked. Sigh.

We're also working on extending his school day. Because public school was such a new and different environment for him, we started in September with one class period per day to give him the opportunity to adjust. The goal was a full school day five days a week by Christmas. November 1, his meds abruptly stopped working, and it took almost to the end of December to find the right med and the right dose. So that was a setback. In January, we were confident things were better but, given his behavior in November and December, his teacher and classroom aides were cautious, if not skeptical.

In February, they added lunch. We thought the noise and chaos of the cafeteria would be difficult for him. He has a limited repertoire of foods he will consistently eat, and has difficulty eating with other people until he knows them very well and is very comfortable with them. But he's handled it very well. They have pizza (one of his favorite foods) available every day, and he has even begun to try some of the foods that he eats less reliably. He still has a longer list of foods he won't eat than ones he will, but lunch has become his favorite subject. They make him take a fruit or a vegetable every day, but thankfully, they don't try to make him eat it.

He's starting to enjoy spending time with his friends at school, and wakes up every morning asking if he can go to school today. From all reports, his behavior has been good, but he does get a little loud if anyone else is doing something he thinks they shouldn't.

The next class we want to add is Community Living Skills. This class takes a field trip every day to practice using resources in the community: stores, restaurants, recreational activities, etc.  A school bus picks them up at the school, leaves them at their destination, and returns to take them back to school when they're done. This has been a sicking point. They're not sure how he will behave in public away from the school, and without transportation, can't easily remove him from the situation if his behavior indicates he needs to leave early. I don't have a car during the day when Mama Bear is at work, so I couldn't come get him. We had discussed the possibility of starting with field trips within walking distance, but nothing had been decided.

On his Communication Sheet was a note inviting him to come with his class on their field trip next Monday. They are going bowling. He loves bowling, and the bowling alley they're going to is only 4 blocks from home, so I can come get him if he has a problem. I'm prepared if he does, but I don't expect he will. While being out in public is somewhat stressful for him, he craves it, and does his best to contain any frustrations until he gets to a location where he feels safe to release them. Assuming this goes well, he is invited whenever they bowl there. Encouraging words, prayers, and good thoughts appreciated.

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Blogger Lizbeth said...

Good thoughts, good thoughts, good thoughts....

I think we were on the same wave-length, eh? Sometimes progress is so slooow. And then you write it down and then just go WOW! I'm going WOW at your progress---its awesome!

March 8, 2012 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Thank you. I'll keep you posted.

March 8, 2012 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger DeeAnn said...

You've got hundredfold! :)

March 8, 2012 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Oh I know that frustration! Finally getting the checklist and then they leave it blank..GRRRRRR! I think it is fabulopus that he is WANTING to go to school-and that lunch is going great...I hope that he has a most excellent time bowling with his friends.

March 9, 2012 at 12:44 PM  

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