Just a few days ago I was thinking to myself… Holy Crap! Kaleb might actually go an entire school year without getting suspended!
Want to know what happened 24 hours later? I realized I jinxed myself. I came to this realization right about the same time his teacher was informing me that he’d been suspended.
Yep. Two days before the pinnacle IEP meeting to remove the harness (after working for months to prove that he could maintain control of himself), he goes and gets himself suspended. And he earned it – big time. Honestly, I’m a bit surprised it didn’t happen Monday. I guess on the positive side of things, I can definitely say the school didn’t want to suspend him – but he really didn’t give them a choice. So, unlike the catastrophe of last year, this was fully merited on Kaleb’s part. Not just because someone didn’t want to deal with him.
Then again, my 6 year old got suspended again. Any upside is a moot point anyway.
Monday he got mad because there was no ketchup at lunch – so he threw his tray and punched another kid in the back. Then at P.E. he didn’t want to jump rope the way he was being instructed to jump rope, and he punched another kid. Terrific. Then came yesterday. Once again he got mad at lunch because he thought a kid was cutting line in front of him (which was not the case btw – he just wasn’t paying attention before) and once again threw his tray and punched a kid in the back. Then comes the real kicker – literally. He gets mad during P.E. again and walks up to a girl who for her own special needs (I wasn’t informed what kind) had to sit out of class that day. He then rears back, and kicks her as hard as he can. He then continues to do so until a crowd of other kids comes over to see what is going on, and he starts screaming “violent and unpleasant” things at everyone around him. They end up having to pull him away.
What the hell?!
I’ll be the first to admit that he’s been devolving for the last couple weeks. It’s been day after day of highly emotional, overwhelmed, over-reactive Kaleb for going on three weeks. But what we haven’t seen at home is increased violence. We’ve seen more screaming, more crying, more crawling under furniture and refusing to listen. We’ve seen him meltdown at the drop of a hat, drop to the floor like a sack of flour, and get hysterical over the most seemingly insignificant things. But he hasn’t physically lashed out. Actually, that’s been more of Mason’s gig lately. Mason’s the one using his ridiculously well aimed arm to throw, whack, and swat. Kaleb hasn’t been an angel on that end – but he certainly hasn’t had any real change. 9 times out of 10 Mason is the one hitting Kaleb first – and Kaleb’s been just upset enough to come tattle- rather than retaliate – most of the time.
At first I just thought it was the growth spurt he was going through. The kid’s size 7 jeans when from resting on the top of his sneakers, to sitting three inches above his ankles in a matter of days. And during this time he also started sleepwalking again, and looked extremely tired each morning. So, I attributed the emotionally heightened state to that. And it might still have something to do with it. We might need to adjust his medication, or hell, at this point, I wouldn’t be completely against trying something new. And the increased violence could also have something to do with a few new students being added to his class – which has definitely been known to trigger behavior issues in the past.
He’s been on his current medication for years. As much as we didn’t want to go the medication route, his escalating violence made it almost impossible to even send him to school, and he really had no control over himself. When Kaleb hits that meltdown mode, it’s like a switch is flipped and all cognitive thought goes out the window. He’s 100% primal impulse. There are many times when he genuinely can’t even remember what he did after the fact. The medication helped with that – he obviously still has meltdowns, but he was able to stay in at least enough control of himself to minimize the damage, and he rarely sought to harm another person. We’ve had to make some adjustments over the years, to accommodate his growth, as well as the tolerance levels building in his system. But now we’re concerned about what we do when he hits the point where we can’t make any more adjustments – or when we hit a dosage level we are uncomfortable with.
Enter problem number 2 – Tuesday’s incident likely would have been worse – much worse – if he hadn’t been on his medication. Because even with his escalating violent behavior, at least he still retained a small bit of control. He didn’t completely check out while it was happening – which is when the real damage starts (you can asked my pre-medicated-Kaleb self about the concusions and severe bruises from head to toe), this I know for certain.
So, what do we do? Do we try and increase again? Do we try to switch things up?
I don’t know. But I did make an emergency appointment with his neurologist for yesterday after Mason got on the bus (Shout-out to Aunt Brittany for saving my skin and getting Mason off the bus, and sitting with Kaleb for the IEP today), and re-confirmed his with his developmental pediatrician for his yearly appointment. It’s time to gather the troops and nip this now before it gets worse.
Now, unlike 99% of the times he got suspended last year, Kaleb was seriously in the wrong this time – and I’m determined to make sure he understands why he’s in trouble. This isn’t going to be two days of fun and mini-vacation. We’re talking serious restriction this time around. No TV, no Legos, no games, puzzles, or electronics. The only things he is allowed to do are: read, homework, clean, sleep, and eat. This is the anti-fun time, and every single time he asks why I’m going to remind him of his suspension, and I’m going to explain again, why what he did was wrong. Maybe it will sink in, maybe it won’t. But it’s better than just doing nothing and blaming it on autism. Kaleb was aware of what he was doing when he walked up and kicked that little girl, and he needs to understand why that is so very wrong.
And of course there’s the IEP meeting today. Which is probably partly a waste of time – because I just don’t see them saying “Yep, lets get rid of the harness even though he clearly can’t control himself in school, and is therefore a potential danger to the other children around him. Letting him loose on the bus sounds like the perfect solution for out of control behavior and violence.” I can’t get mad if they want to keep the harness. Honestly, I would be shocked if they said anything else. The variables are too great. He has tried so very hard over the past few months to prove that he was ready, and I’m so very proud of him for that. And then he wrecked all of that hard work in minutes. And that just sucks. It sucks to know that he’s going to be set back by what he did. But maybe he needs to be. Maybe he needs to really understand how much one action can impact his life.
At the same time, I do want his Gifted testing redone, and since there’s obviously a problem with him right now, an already planned meeting is the best time to try and address it. So, hopefully it’s only partly a waste of everyone’s time.
Anyway, we drove to Orlando and we saw his “kid doctor” that he “loves because he is super nice and fun and listens” (this is why the drive is worth it). We decided that a change may be in the air, but some of that change is going to be determined by tomorrow’s meeting. Which is hopefully not a waste of anyone’s time. Kaleb is brilliant, beautiful, creative, excited, enthusiastic, and his imagination is far beyond my own. I just want to see him excel and grow, both emotionally and academically. Which I have every confidence he will… as soon as he learns the value of self-control.
I so cannot wait until Friday.