During a work call, I got a call from T’s daycare teacher. She was not her usual calm self.
She said an older student had ran off the bus during drop off and pushed T against a wall. She had to shield him from further harm.
A few hours earlier, the hubby and I received an email from his CYW letting us know the day before T had bothered a younger peer on the bus and the mother called the principal very upset.
It was a Friday afternoon and all I wanted was to get to the weekend.
My mind was now sandwiched tightly between two extremes of emotions: one of disappointment and one of upset and concern.
This was a week ago. The past week was challenging at home and school.
One of the present challenges we have with T is his impulsivity and emotional regulation – two things that create a difficult combination.
He says the first thing that comes to mind and when he’s triggered or disregulated, he can say very inappropriate things. Lately, it’s escalated to verbal threats – to us, peers and teachers.
According to T, the older peer on the bus was bothering another peer and T told him to stop and that’s when the peer got upset.
I’m aware there are two sides to a story and that T’s attitude can escalate a situation. Nonetheless, while I have empathy for the peer, physically hurting someone is never ok and we’re working with the school to address the situation.
We are fortunate to have understanding teachers at school and daycare. We advocate on T’s behalf; we don’t make excuses for him but we frame his behaviour as a result of his disability.
The hubby and I are aware that people may not always be understanding. If his behaviours continue as he gets older, they could lead to suspensions and social alienation.
We do our best to remind T to act with kindness and to teach him strategies – like walking away or asking a grown up for help or quiet time.
Last Monday, we had a call with our FASD service coordinator – to look into funding for potential Special Service at Home.
She first asked us “Can you tell me about some of the recent wins that you had?”
The bus incidents were fresh on our minds. But we answered her question, including talking about his recent successes with reading and math.
It was a great exercise, because it allowed the hubby and I to take a step back to refocus on the big picture.
For other parents going through a similar journey and experiencing the same frustrations, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of doing this.
Thankfully, this past week was a short one and we had one goal in mind for our Easter long weekend – to reset, Daddy, Papa and T style.
Sunday was gorgeous – cool but bright and sunny – and we went for a very satisfying 2.5 hour hike at Mono Cliffs.
T is in his element in the outdoors. He had lots of space to burn off the candy he had instead of breakfast that morning.
The outdoors calm him down; it calms all of us down.
Our hike was a wonderful way to cap off a calm, pleasant weekend at home.
As I watched T stare at the cliffside views and the clear waters, I reminded myself to not let the challenges get to me.
It’s important to acknowledge them, to take them seriously, but to also let them go and move on.
T is a great kid. He is a work in progress – but aren’t we all? He’s made great gains and he will continue to make gains.
And the battles? We will face them as we always have – one at a time, together, Daddy, Papa and T style.