Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Please Excuse My Friend For Throwing A Phone At Your Head!

Each day with Billy seems to be getting a little better. The cellphone thing is really working, and he will sometimes even hand it to me, when it's time to get back to work, instead of making me wrestle it out of his hands!

Funny story about the phone though. Billy hates going to the playground. He wants nothing to do with it and thinks it's the stupidest idea in the world. Unfortunately, the whole rest of the class feels the opposite way, so we have to endure a playground break each day when it's not too hot. The last two times, Billy spent playground time yelling, "Playground finished! Goodbye, playground!" while I held him back to keep him from running off towards the parking lot. (And no, I can't just let him skip playground and let him spend the time in the classroom, which would make sense, because apparently aides can never be left alone with children.)

So today I told Billy he could bring the cellphone outside with him. I thought it would keep him occupied and help him stay calm.

It didn't seem to make a difference. As soon as we got outside, the first thing Billy did was try to make a run for the parking lot, looking for the buses so he could jump on one and get home!

 I think the best thing to do when Billy gets upset is just to get super, super calm yourself, and talk in a very quiet, even voice. So there I am, hanging onto Billy, while he is hollering and scratching, slapping and pinching my legs, and I'm gently cooing, "Quiet hands, please." (He can reach my legs in order to slap me, even when I'm holding him, because he's tall for an eight-year-old, and I'm pretty short.) 
There were these other teachers and aides out there with some highschoolers, sitting on the benches and taking a break. They were all watching the entertaining scene happening in front of them.

Finally, Billy seemed to calm down. I was kind of rocking him, and he was muttering something like "Seatbelt, seatbelt, seatbelt..." Then he asked sweetly, "Phone, please?" 

Thank goodness! Now Billy would relax and play with his phone, and I could take a breath! I took the cellphone out of my pocket and handed it to Billy. 

He looked at it for a minute. Then he chucked it at the people sitting on the bench. Luckily, it sailed over their heads, and landed just past the bench, appearing to break into pieces. (It was really just the front, back, and battery that separated.) I told Billy, "If you do that, it will break!  Then you won't have it at school any more!"

One of the teachers on the benches picked up the phone and handed it to me. My next idea was to turn it into a learning experience and let Billy try to put it back together. He actually sat down in the grass and worked on it quietly. He managed to put the battery in, but it was backwards, and he couldn't figure out how to put the cover on. I showed him how.

Then he chucked it again! 

This time he threw it out in an open, grassy area, and I made him come with me to get it. It hadn't broken this time. So Billy threw it again. I didn't mind. We were in the grass now, not around other people, and this was actually a step up from where we'd been ten minutes earlier!

Fifteen hours minutes later, our classroom teacher called the kids to line up. I towed Billy back into the school. As we walked past the high school teachers and aides, I heard one of them say, "I can't believe she let him do that to her phone!"

The rest of the day went fairly well. I literally cannot take my eyes off of Billy for a second, because he'll either be eating something, climbing something, or dashing for the door. So the three hour program seems like forever! He did sit in the group for calendar and reading, did three reading worksheet with me, decorate a fun foam visor, and watch and listen during music therapy. (My new favorite person on earth is the super laid back music therapist, who, when I was trying to haul Billy over to where the rest of the group was sitting, told me, "Pick and choose your battles. Let him sit back there if he wants." She then let him help her open and shut the CD player whenever she switched songs, and at the end told him, "Thanks for being my DJ, Billy!" I <3 you, music therapist!) 

So I think its going better, but I'd be interested in any advice anyone might have to give me! Keep in mind that we don't have a sensory room or motor room at our school, we don't have a Time Out room,  and the teacher and aides think its very important for Billy to be doing what the rest of the group is doing at all times. 

By the way, as for me and Billy... I already love the kid, of course! Even when he's trying to kill me. Its hard to resist him during his calm moments when he sits in my lap and plays with the tags on my lanyard, points to the picture on my ID and mutters, "That's Angel!" He's a good boy. He just doesn't want to be there. And I can't really say I blame him! 


  1. It's unfortunate the teacher does not seem to get that Billy has different needs than the rest of the class. Sounds like you're doing a great job with him, though! Your title made me laugh :) Only in sped, huh? ;)


  2. It sounds like you are doing amazing Angel! It really irritates me that it seems like the other aids are being judgmental. Either they do not understand the students they are around (which is a scary thought) or they don't care (which is even scarier).

    Everything you have written seems entirely appropriate for Billy and I think he's lucky to be with you. Keep up the good work and keep posting, I love to hear how everything is going :)


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