Tuesday, December 04, 2007

School, Bus and ABA

(Getting Ready to Leave For The Bus)

The first night of Hanukkah began for us this evening. Big Brother is very excited and K.C. happily ate 3 Latkes and watched his Big Brother play his new game. We are celebrating a very low key Hanukkah this year. We usually spend Hanukkah with my Brother and Parents, but this year we are spending it at home. Tomorrow my Brother Adam is coming to spend Hanukkah with us. We are very happy about that :) K.C. got a squishy, spiky ball tonight as a gift, (at school they are called sensory balls).

K.C. actually has a P.E.C.S. card with the picture of the sensory ball on it as a motivator to board the bus and as soon as he gets to school his teacher allows him to hold the sensory ball straight away. We have been having some problems with the bus for about a week now. K.C. has been refusing to board the bus. As I put him into the car for our trip to catch the bus at my Parents house, as we nearly get there, he looks panicky, as I get him out of the car he falls to the ground and won't get up. Twice I could not get him onto the bus period. As he is much bigger now, I can't just scoop him up anymore. Gosh this kiddo is stronger and heavier than he was just a year ago. Still I had that horrible feeling that maybe K.C. was trying to tell me something. I can't begin to even describe the feeling I have putting him on the bus when he is trying so hard to keep my from doing just that. I kept thinking to myself what if something terrible is happening to him once he's on the bus? Here I am putting him on the damn thing, guilt, it is overwhelming. I have been talking with his teacher on a nearly daily basis. That is where the "squishy ball motivator" came into play. Well, one afternoon he refused to board the bus home. His teacher reported he had a major meltdown and couldn't figure out why. She had to take him off the bus, re board the bus, try to figure out what she had done differently. Poor kiddo, I knew something was wrong, it hurts not knowing how to help your child.

In comes his ABA therapist. K.C. has had a new therapist for a month now and it has taken him sometime to get used to him. His therapist knew what was going on and asked if he could ride the bus with K.C. I was so relieved that I had someone that would help, be there for us and has K.C.'s best interests at heart. That morning, that afternoon, his therapist, with one P.E.C.S. card in hand, rode the school bus with him. That afternoon, on the bus, his therapist called me. He watched each and everything the drivers did and figured it out. The afternoon driver hooked K.C. into his harness (as he is still quite unpredictable on the bus) and then she pulled his lap belt tight. That was all it took, K.C. screamed, kicked, lost it. His therapist took him off the bus, (it was raining that day) stood in the rain, waited, kept K.C. safe, let him calm down and boarded the bus again. This time he told the driver, "to do what she normally does slowly." Just as she was about to pull his lap belt tight, he looked panicked and his therapist told her to "stop." K.C. reached down at his lap belt and wanted to pull it tight! He wanted to try to do it! Nobody could understand, nobody thought he could do it, nobody thought he was paying attention all this time but he was! His therapist called me that afternoon, so very proud of K.C., I cried and cried.

Today, he was hooked into the harness, he pulled his OWN lap belt tight, I watched, amazing. I got off the bus, knocked on the window and waved to K.C., he never looks in my direction when I wave from outside the bus, just looks straight ahead, my big boy going to school, learning to help himself, wanting people to give him a chance :) I am amazed and so proud.


Lora said...

Tina, you are doing all the right stuff and having the therapist ride with K.C. was a great idea. I know exactly what you mean about the guilt thing as I have been there myself (in Anchorage) when Griffin didn't want to get on the bus all kinds of terrible thoughts filled my head. It is so easy for people to disregard such triggers and to not pay attention to what is setting him off. K.C. is such a brilliant little guy so much more than what others give him credit for, he is aware of his surroundings and what happens to him(such as the tightening of his seat belt). He is growing up and wanting to take charge of his life and doing things himself.....Good for him I say!

Have a Happy Hanukkah, we love you and send big hugs to you guys!

Maddy said...

You should be! Proud of you and him and the therapist. I think we all tend to forget the need for self autonomy. I'm amazed and thrilled that you all managed to figure it out. I know what a relief that must be especially as we never figured out [not really] Leo's meltdowns over entering the bus.
Best wishes

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

gretchen said...

Oh, I am crying over this! I was trying to guess what the problem was as I read, and would not have guessed that there was something K.C. wanted to do on his own!!! That is so awesome! And so great that his therapist went the extra mile to figure it out.

Happy Hanukkah to you and the boys.

redheadmomma said...

Happy Hanukah to you & your loved ones!! This story totally made me cry with joy - God bless your ABA therapist for stopping, noticing, and listening. That simple act made ALL the difference. I'd go hand deliver some homemade latkes to that guy. :)

You need to document & share this for EVERYONE in contact with KC - if he's noticing the lap belt, what else is he taking in? A LOT, that's what!!! His teachers & evreyone involved needs to be on the lookout for more opportunities to LISTEN to your cutie pie!

Donetta said...

Oh this is such wonderful news! Wow haw awesome that the fellow cared to watch and figure it out.
Happy Hanukkah~ Peace be will all of you. What a wonderful gift for you.

JUST A MOM said...

Tina that is so sad,,scarry,,,wonderfull,

Melissa H said...

HOOOOOOORAAAAY!!!! As I was reading, my little Mommy radar was going off, too. When Conor used to throw a fit about something that adamantly, I always knew that there was a reason. So happy that the ABA therapist was willing to work with KC and help him communicate his needs! Sigh. If only everyone would pay closer attention to our kiddos. They ARE communicating, even if it isn't with words.

Anonymous said...

what a fantastic thing to have the therapist ride the bus with KC to figure out what he was trying to tell you! i'm so proud of him, and he must feel empowered having communicated what he needed--to do it himself! it must be a tremendous relief to you!

happy hanukkah! i hope your relaxed at-home celebrations are joyful!

Niksmom said...

Tina, this makes me weepy. God bless that therapist for "listening" to KC ans KC for not giving up on trying to tell people what he needed/wanted! It reminds me so vividly of something similar we went through with Nik and his special seating system. We have to buckle his ankles in to keep him from pulling his legs up and climbing out while the feeding pump is running. He started to go ballistic every time we put him in his chair...b/c HE wanted to do the straps himself. Our kids really do communicate, we just have to find ways to hear what they are telling us.

Happy Hannukah to you and your family!

kristen said...

Oh my, this really made me cry -- first in frustration for your little guy, then with relief. And god bless that therapist. If only there were more of him to go around.

It is sometimes so simple, the thing we overlook, the clue we miss.

Have a wonderful and blessed holiday!