Someone shared a link on facebook today about That Kid (original post here – http://missnightmutters.com/2014/11/dear-parent-about-that-kid.html) that really got to me. I don’t talk about it a lot, but I have 3 children, all with different degrees of special needs.
While my youngest child is in a Special Ed Preschool and under excellent care, I am not sure why he is the way he is and hoping he isn’t going to be more extreme in his behavior like the child described in that post. My heart breaks for that child, his teacher and his classmates. But I know my reality and I want to make sure my kid doesn’t become THAT Kid. Because he sort of is, right now.
Things have been bubbling up with my youngest and I’m worried. He’s 4 now and really come far at his Special Ed Preschool. He talks now and while he’s still around a year behind with his speech (he had a severe speech delay), he seems to have other things coming out now also. He’s always been strong willed, but that’s coming out more and more. Something that may be fine one day (as drinking from a certain cup), will set off an angry tantrum another day. He’s loved and cared for very well, but he still gets very upset and angry. And we’re not sure what to do.
When my oldest (who is called B on this blog) turned 3 and 1/2, he was diagnosed with Hypertonia (low muscle tones) and sensory issues. Suddenly it made sense why he’d freak out when I’d run the vacuum (my mother used to have to come over and take him down the hall). This kid who used to go to the park every. single. day.. was scared of the top of the climbing structures.
I couldn’t mention we were going to the doctor, because he would get very upset. When he was 3 1/2 he had shingles and I had to keep him in his stroller in the doctor’s exam room, with a blanket over his head. There was a no stroller rule in the exam room, but it was the only way he was calm. Luckily this stopped when he was 4 or so.
He freaked out at birthday parties (he was fine in public outings, but birthday parties just got to him). I got used to it. I accepted it. He’d literally run to the corner and curl up in a ball. I got used to holding him and calming him down. After 20 minutes or so, he’d calm down and eventually join the party. This stopped in first grade luckily. I still remember the last time it happened — my shaking 7 year old son freaking out in the corner of Gymboree. No explanation, he just got so anxious. That was my normal and I accepted it.
When he was 3 1/2, the director of the preschool where we were at brought up a concern. He said that “B” was floppy. Now, I had been familiar with Low Muscle Tone, as my friend M’s son had it. I brought it up to her and she had noticed it too.
We got services. We were listened to. They confirmed that he had sensory issues. We got therapy (OT, PT, and later on qualified for speech). He learned how to jump. But other things came out. He has ADHD. Luckily we had evaluators and school personal that were on his side. Really, really on his side. B” had a great SEIT teacher in pre-k that we adored and then was in ICT (half special ed and half regular ed) for his two years of Kindergarten – we held him back, first grade, second grade and now in his 3rd grade class.
Luckily as he grew, the sensory became less and less. He finally started running around everywhere, even on the high climbing structures he used to avoid and be scared to go on. He stopped holding his ears when I ran the blender. I can vacuum in front of him now.
We made a difficult decision last spring for him and it’s been paying off. He’s doing really well now. He has more than one friend at a time now. He has a good team behind him at school and at home. He looked like he was going to be “That Kid“, but he’s not. He would never hurt another child. He still has some very trying moments, but I am confident that he’ll be fine.
My daughter (“A”) was easier. She has some special needs (she has poor fine and gross motor skills). She’s small for her age. She’s born on December 31, so she was the youngest in her grade. We did exactly what was done for me in Kindergarten in 1976, we held her back (I’m a December 19th birthday myself and I had poor fine and gross motor skills). We got her OT and PT for her hands. Turns out she has some low muscle tone herself too. But she’s doing great and we definitely made the right decision for her. She’s finally reading (now in firwst grade) and has a great aptitude for math. She has excellent, nurturing teachers (the same teachers that “B” had in first grade) and we are grateful to them. Like her big brother, she’s also in an ICT Class (half special ed and half regular ed). She’s not THAT Kid. She’s kind and generous and really lovely to her classmates.
Back to my youngest, “S”. He’s 4, but really acts like a young 3. He’s delicious and cuddly, loving.. but boy, we’re not sure what’s up with him. The speech delay has been hard. He’s come a long way (didn’t talk until he was 3), but he gets upset very easily. And it changes from day to day of what will set him off. Some things have happened at school that have me worried. He flipped out when they were crossing the street the other day and started hitting his head with his hand. One of the teachers had to stop and pick him up, as the light was about to change and he hadn’t stopped flipping out. Last year he was in a self contained special ed class (12 kids, 1 teacher, 1 aide), but this year he was put into a class with 1/2 regular ed and half special ed, in the hopes he’d model the behaviors of the regular ed kids. It’s not working out. So we just gave permission to put him back into a self contained classroom.Next year, when he goes to kindergarten, most likely he’ll stay in a self contained classroom. I don’t know if holding him back in Kindergarten will work or not.
We’re hoping as his speech continues to improve, his behavior will improve. It’s hard to reconcile the sweet little boy who cuddles, hugs me and tells me he loves me with the the boy who screams and tantrums. He can’t/won’t tell me why he’s upset, and I’m not sure how to make him okay.
I just don’t know. But we are looking for answers. I am hoping he will not be “That kid”.