Just a quick update on my running life at the moment.
Umm.. there isn't any. Ahh, blog post finished -- is it too early for beer?
Just as I feel fully recovered from a bout of flu and I was able to pull myself back into the running gear -- and after a month away from running, pulling is an understatement. The phrase "Quart into a pint-pot" comes to mind.
So, I was fit(ish) and ready to go. Then D became sick. Poor lad, he was full of flu and he spent 3 days (plus a weekend) away from school. On the Monday when the school returned D still seemed under the weather, but he insisted he wanted to meet his friends.
I arranged a short day for him and let him go. The first day was difficult but okay. However, days 2, 3 and 4 were not so manageable. Yes, having a difficult day is an improvement to what happened to D over the following days.
His class was evacuated 3 times in 3 days. The violent outbursts were dramatic, prolonged and actually uncharacteristic. As I mentioned to his Resource Room teacher -- he hasn't had any violent tantrums in months. Even on these off-days he was still calm at home. I was at a loss to help her.
What has resulted is the beginnings of a battle.
On investigation it seems as if D may qualify for a little sub-set of Autism called "Pathological Demand Syndrome" or PDA. It's a very new version of PDD-NOS which has primarily been investigated in the UK but little elsewhere. When reading the diagnostic description it was chilling.
D never fitted well into the Autism mould. I concede he does have developmental difficulties, but his social behaviour, imagination and his basic empathy seemed to be at odds with the classical Autistic definition. The documentation also cited that conventional Autism behavioural techniques are more likely to increase problem behaviour not reduce it.
PDA fitted all of these anomalies as well as explaining in detail why he had these violent outbursts. His therapists agreed that he seemed to fit the profile, although they weren't qualified to diagnose him as such.
It was clear at the end of the "week of hell" that D's mental state was in the toilet. He had no self-confidence, he was on the verge of being depressed and it was clear he was having anxiety issues at school.
Issues at school -- this was the problem. He didn't exhibit any of these issues at home and only very briefly in therapy (once, on the day he came down with flu). Only at school. This to me indicated that there was something at school that was triggering him.
I kept him home and decided to home-school him for a bit until we could come up with a plan to integrate him back to class.
The plan provided by the school was the same plan they created before spring break. Two hours a day, stuck in a room by himself with little un-orchestrated, social interaction with his peers. A plan that may have prevented some triggers, but a plan that increased his sensory-seeking behaviours at home and reduced his ability to socially interact naturally.
In one of the meetings with the Resource room teacher, she made a comment that made me wonder. She asked if I had discussed the issues happening between his classroom teacher and his previous SEA (who is off sick indefinitely) in front of Dylan. Umm.. what issues? I admit, I had heard random rumours. I had been a little confused by some comments D had made about how he had been treated in the classroom and I was fully aware his teacher didn't like me or D that much. But this made me wonder -- was there something more?
I made a decision that I wouldn't send D to school until we had an acceptable plan to deal with his behaviours (that didn't involve un-official exclusion) and any incidents between his SEA and teacher were fully disclosed. I needed to know if incidents in the classroom had created an anxiety in him in regards to school.
Let's say nearly three weeks on and it is clear the school believe D's behaviour has nothing to do with them, and I am getting more concerned that it does and they aren't addressing it. I can't see how putting a 7 year old in a room on his own will stop him reacting negatively if he is given a demand which is a potential trigger.
This is starting to get messy. Lines are being drawn in the sand and we are amassing our own armies. My army is D's home therapy team. The school has the Autism Outreach team.
I don't care -- I know in my heart that the situation with the school has created educational and mental issues with D. I have seen the change in him since he has been home-schooled. He has managed 3 months of work in 2 weeks. His maths, reading and writing have improved. He is happy, confident and smiling. He wants to learn. The change is dramatic.
Keeping him at home all the time may not be an option as D needs to learn and test his social-skills with his peers. I am also not letting the school board keep his funding money without providing him any resources, which is the scenario that would happen if he was home-schooled. Trust me, it appears home-schooling D would be a "win-win" situation for them. They don't have to spend time dealing with a "difficult" child and they get $18,000 to spend on SEN kids they can manage.
I am on a battle-quest. I have the school-board in my sights and I am squaring up for a fight.
I am a pissed off Mama Bear, hear me roar! Then run away bloody quickly because this is going to be a battle where there will be casualties and that list of injured will NOT include D!