the [yucky] side of autism...

For the most part, any time a student (one considered "regular" or "special needs") changes environments this thing called a "honeymoon period" occurs.  The length of the honeymoon depends on the student. Kids with Autism can and cannot fall into this category.  For the most part, you'll have at least a few days of great behavior and you'll swear this new student is awesome.  And then the honeymoon ends.

Last Wednesday (yes, it's only been one week since I started my own room...) K entered our school and was placed in my room.  He has an Autism/MR diagnosis and he's reading most words on a first grade level but not usually comprehending; he can do wonders in math when given a calculator. He LOVES playing computer games and his DS.  Both are allowed to be used during breaks and are usually what we picks.  He had a great start last week and I was surprised to see where he was at and how well he was behaving.  Prior to his arrival the "horror stories" about his fits and destruction came to me.  I do my best to take them lightly because 1 (it's pride) but I want to give the chance to do well with me because I want to be that good of a teacher and 2 who wouldn't want a clean slate when they went to a new place.

This week the honeymoon ended.  The stories were true.  For the first time I watched first hand how terribly controlling and angry an autistic fit is. Monday came with two trips to the quiet room both required multiple adult escorts.  He ripped his worksheets over and over and over; broke pencils; threw pencils; kicked his shoes off; and spit :)  I was spit on and he hit my leg a few times but we all survived and laughed about the ending of the honeymoon.  Newbie teacher only got 2 good days :)  funny, right?!

We had two rounds of it today.  Today he hit my jaw.  And he bit my arm.  And he bit my aide's arm.  He didn't break skin but I've got a great headache and my aide has an awesome full mouth bite mark on his arm.  It took three adult men in the therapeutic hold.  It broke my heart.  And yet they tell me this is the best way to teach him that he needs to stay in the classroom and complete his work when asked.

Everyone has their thoughts and opinions about how to handle it.  I'm trying to listen to them mainly because they have been here longer. Some of the things I do not understand and it's so backwards of what I feel like I want to do.  The plan is to keep K in the room and remove everyone else when he is having a fit; I guess it avoids him escaping the room.  So I think I'm going to create a "leave the room" box/bag/bucket because today we were out of our room for over 30 minutes and I was very flustered.

I'm going to clean up my room.  Fill their folders for tomorrow.  I'm going home.  I'm going to walk my dog and ask husband man if we can go eat Chinese tonight. Tomorrow I will come back.  Because good day, bad day, terribly ugly day, that's what I do.  I always come back.  Today I don't know why I'm here.  Possibly because there aren't very many teachers that really want to teach in an alternative ed Autism school.  I'm understanding that more.  But it might also be because God thinks I can handle it.  I think He's a bit nuts; and I'm not going to lie, having never been in a fist fight before I think I need to learn some moves!

It's amazing to me how physically exhausting teaching can be.  Unless you've done it, I don't know that you can understand it.  My brain hurts, my body hurts, my heart aches, and I'm tired.  Tomorrow we get to do it all over again....

....except K has an appointment and won't be here tomorrow :)  good or bad, I'm a little bit relieved about that!

How was your Wednesday?  Do you have any physical wound stories?  Or any room destruction stories?  Or any words of encouragement?!

Happy Teaching!

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