Monday, January 5, 2015

It's scary, returning to the daily grind

   Today was Nixon's first day back to school since Tuesday December 23rd. To say I was anxious the entire time he was in school, would be an understatement. Since the IEP process started, the school has only called me 2-3 times regarding Nixon. Lately the calls I get are electronic generated messages and two calls from the nurse. I still haven't changed the school's ring tone (It's from Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Welcome to the Murder" repeated over and over until I answer. It's meant to be funny, but it really identifies what every phone call from the school feels like).

   Usually, when Nixon's routine is disrupted it results in a lot of acting out and tantrums. It took him 4 days to get over the change after Thanksgiving break concluded. The first day back he was out of the classroom nearly 2 hours!

    This is today's behavioral chart. 
    I suppose I should explain this chart. It's Nixon's day at school broken down into 10 sections. This gives him a chance to see his progress and keep track of how close to a "reward" he is. The teacher's aide, who works almost exclusively one-on-one with Nixon, fills this out. She makes notes and counts the smiley faces. Smiles are good, frowns are bad and straight faces are neutral. After 6 smiles Nixon earns a reward, sometimes a bit of computer time in the classroom and other times Lego playtime.

   Today he was okay. He reached his 6-smiley face goal, but not without some struggles. He did have an especially hard time with Treasure Time (it's the bulk of the learning for the day. It consists of multiple learning stations with a group of other students. This time is Nixon's worst part of the day. It's too structured, too many changes and too much stimulation. He's gotten better, but it's almost a given that this will be a rough spot. The aide is wonderful at helping him complete these tasks but its not always without a struggle) which resulted in 17 minutes out of the class so he could calm down and regroup. He did eventually finish the work, as he usually does.
   He did have issues after recess, not wanting to come back in. And refused to participate in gym class. I'm not sure what that was about.

   Overall, compared to returning after a break off for Thanksgiving, this was a good day! 

   One new thing I'm trying, as motivation for less time out of the classroom, is time on his tablet. Every weekday Nixon starts with 30 minutes on his tablet. For every 10 minutes out of the class he'll lose 1 minutes of his tablet time.  I heard from the teacher's aide today that Nixon told her that right away and said "I can't spend more than 10 minutes out of the class or I lose tablet time!".

   We'll see if this continues to be a good motivational tool or not.

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