Goodbye Meds, Hello Warm and Fuzzies

I skipped one too many psychiatric appointment and now I’m running out of meds. My next appointment is on Memorial Day, so I don’t know whether my pdoc will be in the office. The following week, I am out of town. I’m using this opportunity to titrate (or go cold turkey on the meds I’m completely out of) off meds.

It turns out my “self-control” is all about amphetamines at the moment! I only started Ritalin and then Adderall in college, so I successfully restricted without meds in the past. However, my lack of self-control over food and studying is hurting my self-esteem.

My parents commented that I “look better”. Argh, thanks guys. In my head, “you don’t look like you’re starving anymore” is an insult.

On another note, I’m on a two week break from work and this is something a student turned in on Friday:

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The Icy 7 Hour SPED Bus Ride

Oh wow!! First of all, the kids didn’t get home until past 1 AM. Second, that bus driver and bus aide are saints!! I can’t imagine diving in an ice storm, with those 3 kids (John and 2 from another program), for over 7 hours!! People at work who didn’t stay said we’re awesome, but we had internet and toys to keep the kids entertained. We had McDonalds to feed them (food soothes ~almost~ everyone šŸ˜‰ ) and a better than 1:1 ratio. They had one bus driver and one aide!

I’m going to make them cookiesĀ and get some type of gift.

Hmm, what should we get for them? We don’t know them well enough to get a gift we know they’d actually enjoy. Personally, I’d prefer money to baked goods or a random gift. Yet putting a cash value on their amazing work seems awkward. How could we possibly quantify that?!??

school-bus-driver-special

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Ice Storm from Hell

A few kids were stuck at school until 7 pm. IĀ finally got home! I have a bad track record driving in ice. So, Ginny drove me home even though it is (usually) 20 minutes out of her way. It took her 7 minutes just to get out of my neighborhood!

BEFORE the ice storm, my day was stressful and from about noon onward, I looked at the clock every 5 minutes wishing it was 3 pm.

I put myself with Joe because he was mad that I switched out his staff yesterday morning. He came to school in a bad mood. He ran to recess. I made him go back and walk with me and he spent the rest of recess banging on walls and running toward doors. I thought he was going to throw a chair at the new BCBA, but he just slammed it down next to her and hit the door. I’m surprised he didn’t melt down. He is the student who takes 4 or 5 adult men to keep him safe when he melts down.

Recess was insane as a whole. Gage had at least 2 timeouts, Ron told him to shut up, Sean played on the computer (there should be no tech on recess, but I picked my battles today), Joe, as I said, was running and hitting objects, John wound up in the Quiet Room after aggressionĀ because he couldn’t play with the foam blocks, David threw a temper tantrum because he didn’t win a game, and the new kid (who I haven’t made a pseudonym for) also wound up in the Quiet Room after trying to run away and then hitting whoever stopped him. Cory was the only safe, appropriate kid who followed directions!

Sean relatively good; as usual, he purposefully annoyed others. For morning work, we worked on a word wheel where you make as many words as possible using any of the eight outer letters once and always using the center letter once. Everyone engaged in solving the puzzle, but Jacob loved it best and kept working on it during lunch. He had 33 out of 44 words. During one of their breaks, Sean erased all his work. When Jacob noticed he ripped up his paper and started crying. At that point, someone walked in and said his bus was here early because of the approaching storm. Good timing!! Jacob didn’t know who did it and Sean was smart enough to keep his mouth shut.

John was the last kid in our program at school. We were there over 3 hours past their usual time. The kids dealt with it better than I did. I scratched, bruised, and used my keys to cut when that wasn’t enough to help. My final exam is due Sunday and I haven’t studied much at all. I planned on studying, but I was stuck with the kids.

Also, someone left a pumpkin muffin on my window sill and I ate it and all the M&Ms I use as reinforcers for the kids. FAIL. I was going to purge, but Ginny was standing right next to one bathroom and one of the students was using the other bathroom. I refused their offer of dinner, but you can’t really call it restricting since I binged on stolen food.

Electric Play for the Win

I need to get more sleep. I’ve been so busy lately!!Ā Today we made circuits in Science class; it was a hit with almost everyone. I know they won’t always love the lesson, but I’m excited that my first class went well! Everyone, except Sean, participated and even David answered some questions correctly! Cory switched to the older kids’ group and did well. He interrupted staff and peers much less. However, in the morning, he intentionally set off two kids in his room by targeting their triggers (You’re a weak baby and no oneĀ is your friend, respectively). However, everyone turned it around.

Jacob was incredible today! The new kid cursed him out during break andĀ Jacob simply removed himself from the situation and left the gym! When he came back from break, I asked how break was and he started crying. We talked a bit, but he was still upset. I asked him if he wanted to go to the Quiet Room and calm down. HE DID; HE WALKED TO THE QUIET ROOM BEFORE BEHAVIORS!! So, I’m going to give him a 5 minute break pass that he can use at any point tomorrow.

Sean actually did work today and didn’t call me a whore, so, yay? Lol, we’re alike in many ways. I think he is depressed right now. All he wants to do is sleep. Therefore, nothing motivates him. Also, more importantly, he didn’t run out of the building. He eloped 3 times yesterday. Surprisingly, he walked back to class from outside without help, although I got down to “1” in my countdown.

Joe was upset and made me nervous because the principal left for the few hours and Joe is a strong, big kid. When he has a meltdown he needs 4 or 5 men to keep him safe. I’m proud of him for walking with me to the Safe Place (aka QR) and talking about why he was upset. It was great!

Apparently, my boss knows me better than I realize. The new BCBA asked if I was dating. I said I wasn’t and my boss chimed in that I need a dominant man. Someone suggested ChristianMingle and she said, “No, Christian men are too nice for you. You need someone to take control.” The way I responded made her choke on her food while laughing, “How do YOU know that?” I guess it takes one to know one, she said he husband puts her in her place, but not in a mean way; he is dominant.

Day 1

My day was a mixed bag. I talked myself into teaching reading too. Oops! Other staff were very helpful. I’ve noticed some behavioral issues and academic problems. Somehow they stopped Writing in the afternoon. I told them after Recess that we were going to start Writing again. It did not go well. I anticipated behaviors over it and no one did anything wrong. So, I’m not entirely sure why I want to cut or binge/purge and I’m not sure of the identity of my current emotion. I suppose in hindsight I see things I could’ve done differently. Those differences may or may not have altered the outcome of the situation. For example, telling Ginny to come back to the room or reminding the kids that they didn’t have to work. They can say no thanks. We won’t force them to work, but that means they won’t earn their work check. My coworker said some of that, but I didn’t know because I was out of the room when he said it and I didn’t want to step on his toes or inflame the situation. Maybe I’m reproaching myself for those slight errors? It could’ve been worse and it could’ve been better.

I’m frustrated with myself for agreeing to do more work! Damn people pleasing and genuine annoyance at the lack of academic rigor. If my boss wants changes to Reading, she should ask the classroom supervisor in charge of Reading to change things. Although, I’d much rather teach Reading to everyone, than Science, History, and Writing. Granted, my boss said, “That won’t be any extra work, right? All you have to doĀ is get library books and model elements of a story, etc.” I nodded in response. I failed.

 

Edit: I’m alternating between looking up how to teach paragraph structure to 7th graders, sleeping, researching state standards for 4th grade History, and binging. I haven’t purged or studied so far. I need to do both. I got my lowest grade so far on a test. 90. šŸ˜¦ *sigh* I don’t think I can teach. I can read out of a book like Ashley does for History, butĀ I don’t think I can let it go at that. Also, I don’t actually know how to teach someone to write an essay. On the bright side, I haven’t cut or whined to Ginny, or anyone else…yet.

Edit 2: Maybe I should go over the expectations (which aren’t actually different, but co-workers rarely followed through)Ā in the morning. You earn break by earning all 3 checks. You’re responsible for earning checks. To earn your Do You Work check…

Edit 3: Since I talked myself into teaching Reading, maybe we could switch Reading and Writing. As of now, Writing is at the end of the day. There is no incentive to work because after class is over, they have one break and then they go home. We could also make Writing follow through to the next day if you have a behavior (other than sitting quietly and safely, but refusing to work). We could also change the contingency. If you complete your writing assignment and earn all your checks, you get a token, if you earn 5 tokens, you can exchange them for a 5 minute break card, which you can use at any point during the next week (if you’ve had a safe body that day, if you’re unsafe you can’t use your extra break card that day). Or If you complete your Writing, respectfully review it with staff and make any needed changes, you can go on break early.

Changes are Coming

My day was exciting and anxiety provoking.

I worked with David all day. A new student came to tour with his mom. David was best friends with the new student at their old school. They gave each other a huge hug when they saw one another! The new kid is a cute 9 year old. He also murdered the class pet in front of everyone else.

The dynamics are about to be switched up majorly! All the boys in Ashley’s room helped give the new student a tour. Predictably, they all wanted to be the tour leader. John screamed and cried. Cory brooded. David was adorable showing his friend the ropes! The new kid ran in the hallway and before I could say anything, David says, “You have to walk in the hallway.” Later they went outside for one of David’s breaks, his friend turns to leave the room and David says, “Wait! You have to wait for staff!” So, at least for today, David was a positive influence on the new student. His actions gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

There are already issues. Like I said, Cory and John were jealous and the new student already seems to dislike them. He asked David which kids he didn’t like so that he could dislike the same kids. I envision them teaming up on other students and the new kid being the ring-leader. He was kind helping David in math class. The new kid is on grade level and David is not.

I start my new job on Monday. I don’t know if I can handle not working with these 3. Clearly, I have favorites.

Cory seems to be cycling again. He is head banging and getting a flat affect when he is upset. I’m worried the 3rd classroom supervisor won’t be able to react neutrally towards him. He loves manipulating emotions. Actually, it was funny! A few weeks ago, I worked with him and Heather was also working with him. She took something away. I don’t remember what or why, but he was unhappy. He started rambling, “I have feelings to you know! Every one has feelings.” *hits Heather* “See? You have feelings too Heather. I can tell on your face.” Note: He did not hit me. I am a boss at hiding my emotions and he has given up trying to goad me. He knows I can outlast him. I’m going to miss him whether or not he cycles. When he does well he is sweet and smart. When he struggles, he is like a puzzle because he isn’t motivated by anything other than pissing other people off.

David asked me to make him Giant Man. I did. He carried it around with him all day. ā¤ He had two episodes in the morning, both after seeing his old friend. That bodes ill! However, he pulled it together and made it to the Talent Show. It went well. He was upset his parents couldn’t come, but his old teacher and principal showed up! We couldn’t tell him, in case they didn’t make it, but he was so excited when he saw them! We ran (err, speed walked šŸ˜‰ ) around the building, showing them everything. Oddly, he wanted to show them the Quiet Room, even though he’d been there earlier in the morning. His teacher asked what we have at his new school that they should use at his home school district. He said, “We have fun.” She brought him a rose! He was too shy to do his act, butĀ he did part of it and he got up on stage.

Gage had aggression during his act, but he was okay. It was mainly excitement. It still isn’t nice to hit adults though. I AM excited to work with him more often. He continues to regress. Also, I can challenge him academically! When I filled in for the 3rd classroom supervisor when she was on maternity leave last year, I had him doing multiplication and division. Months before they had him identifying more vs. less.

I’m going to have Gage, Jacob, and Sean in my classroom. That will be… interesting… because Barb hasn’t been making them do any work for the last half hour of the day and she is easier than I am on inappropriate language. However, my boss keeps reminding me, I’ll be good for Sean because he needs that and his school district wants him back in January. In order for that to go well, he needs to use appropriate language because we ignore a lot here, but he will get in trouble at his old school or another kid will hurt him. He won’t be used to getting in trouble, he’ll have behaviors, and he’ll wind upĀ  back here.

I have to teach History and Science. I’m worried about lesson planning. I’m worried about meeting state standards and keeping their interest and teaching well. *sigh* I’m more anxious, than happy.

Also my favorite holiday is coming up, the day everyone binges, aka Thanksgiving.

I’ve wanted to purge for the past 4 hours. I ate 2 cookies after the Talent Show. I slept for an hour and a half and that helped, but I still want to purge. Thanksgiving will be great.

My mom weighed me this morning. I was “up” a pound (I was dressed in heavy clothes) and she says, “Yay! Now that is approaching perfection. Gee…Thanks, Mom.

On a positive note, my grandma is out of the hospital and appears fine!