Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reaching for the life preserver

I've been meaning to write the funny version of Scooter's recent arguments and obstinance. Trillian and I (and several others) have been laughing.

But the flip side is that things have been really hard the past few days. It doesn't seem to be any one thing that has set Scooter on edge, but the accumulation of all the little events have led to exhaustion and tears and yelling.

Scooter came out of his birthday celebrations and Spring Break not wanting to return to kindergarten. The funny bit is that he had this all worked out logically and had decided he would just stay home until 1st grade starts in August.

I ended up driving him to school that morning, as he was dragging his feet (and yelling about not going, etc). He did get into the car under his own power once he realized that Trillian and I were 100% not backing down. So he quit talking instead. It didn't last long, I'm told, but I left his classroom half expecting a call sometime during the day.

Since then, he's had numerous accidents at school. I could write a whole post on the fact that we're here at 6 and still no end in sight to toilet training. With the school connection, I am most concerned about any social stigma that may follow him.

There are other little things at school that suggest he's been thrown off kilter, though he's mostly holding together. But then he gets home and has meltdown after meltdown and generally communicates by yelling. Little decisions, like what he wants to eat, are too much, but if we offer concrete suggestions, he rejects them all.

He cops to being "a little grumpy"--and yells at me if I leave off the qualifier or suggest "very" in its place. But he says he doesn't know why. And I'm inclined to believe he really doesn't. I have memories of elementary school and bursting into tears without being able to explain why, just knowing that I felt off, but unable to figure out the one or many causes.

Right now I'm holding onto the hope that is the support team we have through our school. Not only is his OT on the district's autism team, but the child psychologist who is assigned to his school part-time is the lead of that team. And the school's special education coordinator, while not to my knowledge part of that team, is both his SLP and the go-to person in the district for social stories. Even without an official diagnosis, even without a major crisis at school, they're on the case.

I think that I had expected another layer of bureaucracy between parents and the autism team. Not that I thought they would be aloof or unresponsive, just that we wouldn't have the direct line we seem to have obtained. Technically, the psychologist isn't even on Scooter's team. She was brought in for one meeting when we went over the autism evaluation, but was not initially included in the list for his annual IEP meeting. She had, however, offered to meet with us to go over more details of the report and then expressed an interest in attending the meeting. We've since emailed or spoken with her on occasion for advice in specific situations, and she's always been quick to respond, even to call us or seek me out when I'm scheduled to be at school.

On the flip side of all this, I recognize that some part of my anxiety comes from the confirmation that this is where Scooter needs to be now, probably through elementary school at the least... paired with the fact that employment may be hard to come by for me within an hour's drive. I've started to put together applications for substitute teaching and a teacher certification program so that I can have a foot in the public schools here, plus I'll be keeping my application active at the small liberal arts college in Capital City and crossing my fingers that the local branch of the state university decides they can use me after all (although their adjunct pay is beyond crap).

Now to bed so that I can try to find some bit of energy for tomorrow.

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