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Where's the kazoo?

Three more weeks until preschool is over for the summer, and every week (starting last week) is another walking field trip. Today, we walked to Sonic and got snack off the value menu, and then went to the park to play. The kids got to choose which 'friend' they walked with (except for G and N, who were given no choice in walking with a teacher). O decided to hold hands with M, and they got on like a house on fire. From singing about kazoos in line to knocking each other off the sidewalk, this is pretty much proof to me that O can in fact mainstream, since M is (theoretically) neurotypical and I was seeing very little difference between the two of them.

Also, I hate the IEP goal of 'spontaneous requests' even though I know it's important... it's just so hard to document. If they don't MAKE any spontaneous requests, I have nothing to write down, and it looks like I've just utterly skipped the goal when I have, in fact, been lurking just waiting for the kid to ask me for something, even if it's just for me to go away. I know what the point is, I just don't think that someone thought it through well enough if they're going to put it on the sheet instead of just asking us to write it down anecdotally.

Is it... finally over? *relieved weeping*

Yesterday Deborah took a 'working holiday' to catch up on paperwork. Her substitute was... ugh. She sat on a chair. All day. She was never once in the floor with the kids. She was dressed up and had on heavy makeup and wanted the kids to call her Mrs. S_____. On the playground? She sat in the shade because she was soooo afraid of getting sunburned. Conclusion: We are all putting her on our DO NOT SEND lists.

G has been out sick the last two days, so we still haven't had him, J, and A all in the same room. That is likely the only reason we are not all dead right now... but I doubt we'll be so lucky next week. J is definitely out of the routine after a week's absence, not that he isn't spacey on a normal basis. He is more sedate than expected, though, so we'll see if this lovely new trend lasts. I'm glad that he's being moved up to a more mainstream (still special ed, but at a higher level than my friends) classroom, but I don't know how they're going to handle his spastic energy. It's worse than ADHD, at least the ADHD that I've seen. Maybe if this new calmness lasts...

Yesterday, the babysitter who brought F and O forgot F's shoes. At home, not just in the car. She had to drive all the way back to go get them. Today's babysitter at least managed to get them there both fully dressed and even color coordinated. F did have marker on the back of her neck, but we're not entirely certain that she didn't do that right before they left home - Stephanie suggested that she was probably try to scratch an itch with a marker in her hand. Pure F. While yesterday they were both clinging to me and O begged me to pick her up a couple of times, I think they slept better last night and were up and about today.

A... A was the most difficult, today. Not that he isn't on a regular basis... his former classroom and his mother use the Love and Logic system, except they don't seem to have really a system at all and are just saying 'oh, you don't like it? okay, we'll do it your way' and letting him get away with whatever he wanted. I held him down with my hands and legs to sit at circle time, and then I ended up pretty much laying on him later when we were doing art. Stephanie had to hold him down for a time out, too... once more, I think I really need at least one more hand.

On the bright side, at least I don't work afternoons, yet. Poor Tammy got battered by a little friend from Tracy's class, yesterday, and their afternoon friend X is apparently having a time, too. So! Comparatively, the Brit Lit class I am ignoring? Is heaven.

It's going to be Monday all week...

When yesterday was bad, I put it off as 'just a Monday.' When the kiddos have been out for three days, at home, most likely allowed to do what they want, it's only to be expected that it'll feel like starting all over again when they come in and have to get back into the routine. Normally, though, they've caught on again by the next day... especially because it is library day, and while they usually don't pay attention to the story, it's very exciting to get to walk through the hall in the big school and see all the big kids and attempt to escape long enough to touch all the art on the walls.

When Tuesdays are bad, though, it's pretty much a given that the rest of the week isn't going to get any better... and today was pretty low on my scale of 'good days' in the classroom. Not that we shouldn't have been expecting it; F & O have pretty much no hope of being on kilter this week, mom is off on PR business (they are extreme mama's girls) and they are being dropped off by a different babysitter every day. This we were prepared for. N wouldn't eat breakfast for his mom this morning, and she sent a banana but he didn't really want to eat for us, either, until Stephanie smeared some peanut butter on the fruit later on. He was still whiny for most of the morning. My friend G has been off since last week - we know they were supposed to be moving, and we're not sure if it's already happened and that's part of the problem, or if it's something else. Falling off his family's deck over the weekend did not help, I'm sure, and the poor little guy has been walking strangely but (as he's totally nonverbal) can't tell any of us where it is that hurts, and since there's no obvious bruising we aren't sure what to do about it except keep an eye on him. And our new friend, A...

A is still diagnostic. The prospective diagnosis is Asperger's, and while we were willing to accept and work with that last week, by this point Deborah has already pretty much decided that she's going to tell them that there is no way he is on the spectrum, and that his problems are behavioral. He's with us until the end of the month, so if we see anything that does fit in that time she will recommend keeping him, but... he's got great eye contact, his verbal skills are what I'd almost call advanced for his age, and he just really hates to be told no. He's also got good reasoning skills; I was able to get him to comply by telling him 'sit here, or sit in time out.' Since, yesterday, I had my arms wrapped around him to keep him in the time out chair, he chose to believe me and sit where he was, though he made it very obvious that he wasn't happy about it. He is going to be a handful, though, and I don't see that improving for quite a while. And our friend J isn't even here this week, I have no idea how the four of us are going to handle things when he is back... we're barely keeping it from turning into a zoo now!

G's thumb sucking still isn't improving. His poor little thumb is going to be scarred from it, there's no way around that. He's built up a callus and then broken it open, and he's still sucking his thumb. His teeth are horrible, and only getting worse. I'm thinking that physical restraint is the only option left, as we've tried all the nonaversive methods... not that there are many for automatic positive reinforcement like thumb sucking. We've not managed to put it into extinction by blocking or interrupting the behavior, because he still gets enough reinforcement from it to make it worth it. I tried a little of it today, pulling his thumb out of his mouth and holding his hands immobile for thirty seconds, and he really didn't like it. Since the point is for it to be aversive, I think that response interruption followed by a short physical restraint might actually work. Now, figuring out a nice way to suggest to Deborah that she should require we all do it... it's not going to work unless it's consistent, and that's not going to happen if I'm the only one doing it. Sigh.

On a related note, I think I might get my teaching certificate, after all. As I've gone through more and more of my behavior management class, I've started realizing that I can actually do this. Since my master's program is planned out so that those participating can teach full time, and my ABA coursework will be online, AND I think there are a couple of ECSE teachers who do the intensive autism classrooms who might be leaving... I could probably move up to having my own classroom as soon as I get my certificate without much of a problem, since I think that was sort of a hope of Brooke's and Peggy's, anyway. Sure, being a behavior tech sounds interesting, but this way I could be pretty certain I'll only be working with autistic students. It's worth consideration, at least.


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The Cloth Mother

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