I wrote a few weeks ago that the Roc has been having a tough time at school lately. He wasn’t sitting where he was supposed to during group time, was resisting hand over hand assistance, and has been having trouble with transitions, especially during arrival. He was getting very frustrated and was very LOUD about it. So for the past few weeks I’ve been scratching my head wondering what the heck is going on with him, if it’s a phase, something he was eating/not eating, a developmental thing, a reaction to being treated for a virus, etc. I’ve poured over his food logs and tried to talk to him about being “good” in school. They’ve given him a new location to put his coat during arrival and he has his own picture schedule so he knows what to do. Yesterday we had a breakthrough and may have figured out a trigger and why he’s been having a tough time lately.
Yesterday, as he was getting ready to go to the bus stop he looked at me and said “don’t like the crying at school” and I asked him if he was crying at school and he said “No!” He told me someone else was crying but couldn’t explain further than that. Later I got an email from his teacher saying that he had a better day and that he was FINALLY able to tell them something that was bothering him at school. Apparently, there is a student in the preschool class next door who screams very loudly, sometimes all day, and it is loud even in the Roc’s classroom. Yesterday during group time it was quiet and then suddenly this boy started screaming and the Roc said “It is screaming! It is very loud!” His awesome preschool teacher asked him if it bothered him and he said “Yes. I don’t like it when that boy screams.” They went on from there and had a little discussion about how that boy wasn’t hurt or in trouble but that he was having a hard time at school. The Roc asked to sit by a little girl to help him feel better and his awesome preschool teacher allowed him to move and really praised him for USING HIS WORDS! The screaming lasted just about all day yesterday so they had more opportunities to talk about it with the Roc. They tried to put something under the door to minimize the noise but it didn’t help much. The screaming next door started a little after thanksgiving break, which is when they started to have problems with the Roc. One trigger found!
I’m just so glad that he was able to verbalize what was bothering him!! It explains so much about why he was moving around during group time – they sit on the floor on the side of the room that connects to the other preschool class – where the screaming is taking place. I know that he talks more at home than at school and this shows that he’s starting to communicate to the teachers better! Exciting stuff.
The other thing that has been happening these past few weeks is that he’s been referring to his teacher as the “big hand teacher” and when she tries to help him he says things like “oh no, the big hands are touching me!!” and when he gets angry/upset he squeezes her hands really hard. We don’t know where this came from and he isn’t able to explain why he’s calling her the “big hand teacher.” She has been explaining to him that when he needs help she has to use her hands to help him. On Tuesday she gave him a choice of whether he wanted to have his hands under or on top of hers and he chose on top. Yesterday when he needed help again she told him she would have to use her hands to help him and he very gently (without saying anything) placed his hands on top of hers. Awesome! He also told the para as she was walking him out to the bus “the big hands were cold today.” I can’t explain it and I don’t know what to tell the “big hand” teacher since he doesn’t say anything about it at home, but it does makes me laugh and his awesome preschool teacher thinks it’s amusing as well.
I just love his awesome preschool teacher. She emails me when she has concerns, and sometimes just to share a funny story about something he did that day. She always emails me back right away when I have concerns/questions of my own and she even calls to talk about the Roc. She also said this at the end of her last email to me:
“I do want you to know that even though all this is very difficult- for all of us- I am enjoying every minute of it. He is so funny, unique, complex, observant, smart, and just very enjoyable. I love how he teaches me everyday how to “speak his language.” So, please don’t ever think that I am complaining about things that he says or does to me or about me. That is just who he is.”
It’s so nice to have someone other than his Mommy and Daddy see and describe him that way!