Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Good News/Bad News of Comprehension

As I mentioned "comprehension" is taking a front seat in our lives. As it should. I don't really understand if it's because I've been thinking about it and focusing on it, or if it just magically appears before us. But all of a sudden comprehension issues seem to be everywhere. It is "Comprehension's" turn in a long line of things that need to be addressed. With Daniel, it is best to deal with one issue at a time. It's really all he can handle. Math has been the focus, academic wise, for a while now. There came a day where the little light flipped on and some of it started making some sense to him (about 4th grade) and so that day, math became the focus. It could be bike riding, it could be independence, it could be socializing. It could be about 1 million things on any given day.

We had a homework assignment tonight. Very small. He had worked on most of it in academic support. One of the sheets was defining words, telling the part of speech and writing a sentence. A difficult task when you have no idea what a word means. We only had one of these. One was enough. The other sheet was "predicting" also a very difficult if not impossible thing for him. We had two of these words to do. I was explaining a word to him and what it meant and he started SCREAMING and beating himself in the head. Out of nowhere. Left field. For some reason it scared me more than normal and I immediately started crying. Very odd for me. Is it the fact that I am beyond exhausted with the new 6:00 am rising time and recovering from a cold that doesn't seem to want to let go? Is it that today is my 42nd birthday and frankly, MY birthday's aren't my favorite? I'm not afraid of getting old. I welcome it, (it sure beats the alternative?) but I don't know, I've just felt "weird" today. Anyway, my son was beating himself on his head and I was crying. Daniel had no idea what to say to this odd female reaction. I was having a flash back to Mork from Ork, Robin Williams earliest TV gig (now I'm really aging myself) and him watching the girl cry and saying "your eyes are leaking". But really, how many men would know how to deal with my sudden crying? But he did struggle out a "did I scare you?" Very quietly and timidly.

Me: "Yes you did Daniel"

D: "I'm sorry I scared you"

Me: "Daniel, why did you start hitting yourself?"

D: "Because this is hard" he says very calmly.

Me: "Yes, yes it is Daniel". (heart breaking in two)"What's the next word on the list to define Daniel?"

"Forgiveness" he answers.

Sigh. How appropriate.

We had 3 words to discuss and define and explain and this is what happened. He gets so frustrated.

I received a note from his speech teacher the other day. That day Daniel had "participated in the listening comprehension portion of the OWLS (oral and written language scales). In 2007 Daniel scored a 56 (the "normal" standard score range is anywhere from 85 - 115). Yesterday he scored a 63. Good news, he improved. Bad news, he scored a 63. I will be curious to see what some of the other testing reveals. He is up for his three year evaluation. The results of his tests should be interesting, but I don't think it will provide any earth shattering news. We know all of these things, but it may be helpful for the educators to see exactly where he is. Hopefully it will help us figure out ways to better help him so he doesn't keep beating himself in the head? This has been a problem. The hitting himself in the head. It's not very often. But it is disturbing. The good news is he isn't hitting others anymore. The bad news is he will usually hit himself instead. We give him strategies as alternatives. But, you get rid of one behavior and it will always be replaced with something else. You just have to hope the replacement behavior is an improvement over the former one!

The good news is today is another day and his new swimming starts today! The bad news is no cute Nikki instructor. We got a call from the new instructor last night. The new name is Marcus. No cute college girl this semester!

1 comment:

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Oh, Michelle, Nigel has done that too, the hitting himself in the head (or biting himself) when he couldn't understand something or was otherwise frustrated. It is so hard to witness, hard to go through as a parent. It made me cry too. But I think you handled it well in talking it over with him.

I hope your birthday got happier somehow! Maybe this weekend you'll have a chance to do a little something special for yourself. Hugs and best wishes!