Okay. So you know things have been rough with Billy, the little guy I am working as an aide with in the ESY program. He has good moments and bad moments. A bad moment may be him screaming and running out of the classroom, and me having to catch him and wrangle him back into the room. A good day may mean that he sits down for fifteen minutes during Calendar and is able to tell the teacher what month it is. But pretty much every moment is crazy and stressful for all of us! Not to mention that some of the other kids also have behavioral issues... although their issues are more from stubbornness than anything else. Like climbing onto the table and yelling, "Nana nana boo boo!" like one little, cute-as-a-button girl does regularly.
Last Wednesday we had PE for the first time. Billy hated it, ran out of the gym, and refused to go in. I ended up taking him back to the classroom, but not allowing him to do any of his preferred activities, because I didn't want him to think he'd get to use the computer just by refusing to do work!
This time we had PE. I was doubtful it would go well, since Billy was already having a rough time. This time there were two gym teachers, one of whom seemed to know Billy from his regular school. As I was struggling to get Billy to do one section of the obstacle course that was set up, and thinking it would be successful if he stayed for ten minutes, the aide walked up and totally took over. She just grabbed Billy and started telling him, "Work, Brandon!" She was a lot bigger than me so she was able to wrangle him more easily. She kept showing him some sort of visual schedule, and he was actually doing the things she demanded that he do.
My feelings were kind of hurt. I kind of felt like the gym teacher must have though I was incompetent because I couldn't get Billy to go around the obstacle course. She didn't even look at me or talk to me at all, but just marched over and snatched Billy from me. She even took his stuffed kitty (which I let him carry with him as a sort of transitional object/stimmy thingie) and said, "No toys in gym!" I just stood there, feeling awkward and holding the bedraggled kitty, while she and Billy went around the gym.
Finally gym was over. The gym teacher came over and showed me the visual schedule she was using. It was basically a strip of laminated paper, with velcro down the middle, and the number 5,4,3,2, and 1 stuck to it. The gym teacher said, "Why don't you just keep this?" She explained that, when you ask Billy to do a task, he has to do it, in order to take one of the numbers off the list. She told me that this was what the teachers used with Billy during the school year. "He is cuckoo for numbers! He'll do anything for them!" she said.
Dude. There are six days left of ESY. Six. For nearly a month I have been struggling to get Billy to do the simplest things. I made visual schedules, work-work-work-break charts, and visual prompts, let him work for computer time and cell phone time, took him for walks when he was acting too squirrely, etc. All of it worked a tiny bit, but not much. If someone could have just told me about the system the teachers had already been using with Billy for the past three years, the system that he was used to and responded to, think about how much easier this whole thing would have been! Billy would have felt more comfortable from the start if he'd seen the system he already understood. But all I was told about him was his age, diagnosis, and IEP goals.
Oh well. Six more days.
In other news, I have discovered that Billy loves glue, and will usually do any work involving it. So I make worksheets and projects based on his IEP goals, that require him to glue things onto other things. I even turn the teacher's regular worksheets into cut-and-paste activities to adapt them for Billy! He does tend to eat quite a bit of the glue in the process. (Don't worry, it's nontoxic!)
Yesterday the teacher let the kids play with shaving cream during free time. She just squirted a little bit of shaving cream on each of their desks. It's fun, novel, doesn't stain, and is super-easy to clean up! It even leaves the desks cleaner than they were in the beginning! Billy was watching some of the other kids play with the shaving cream. I asked him, "Do you want to try that?" and Billy enthusiastically replied, "YES!"
I took him to his desk, and the teacher sprayed some shaving cream on the desk. Billy stuck his hands into it. He giggled and said, "Shaving cream!" Then he took a big handful and stuck it in his mouth!
The teacher assured me that the shaving cream was nontoxic too, but it still grossed me out. I know some people will tell me, "Maybe he thought it was whipped cream!" But he still kept trying to eat it, even after that full mouthful, so I think he must have realized it wasn't whipped cream and just liked it anyways.
Six more days.