From what I gather from some friends, we’re going to have these from time to time. We hadn’t seen one quite this bad yet.
Tommy had some behavior issues earlier in the school year. Over the last month, he’s been able to keep his behavior in line. I was actually starting to believe that at least part of what we had observed did have to do with adjusting to the new environment of first grade. What we had seen over the last month was just a whole lot of scatterbrained, disorganized Tommy. He was needing frequent reminders to bring his folder home and things of that nature. But, he seemed to have gotten the hang of keeping his hands to himself. That all changed this week.
On Monday, it was the e-mail from the art teacher. Tommy had a “difficult time” in art class that day. 4 verbal warnings to keep his hands to himself, he interrupted the teacher’s lesson, and was not following directions. On Tuesday we didn’t get any reports, I assumed because he had a substitute teacher. Unfortunately, the call from his teacher on Wednesday was a 2-for-1 deal. On Tuesday as the class returned from lunch they walked past another teacher carrying a pile of papers. Tommy wound up and took a whack at the stack of papers as if to knock them to the floor. On Wednesday, he topped off the trio with some sort of pushing, shoving or hitting of a classmate in the bathroom. That incident earned him a chat with the principal. On Thursday I was relieved to find that his only “issue” was forgetting his folder.
I hadn’t decided how much information I was going to give his teacher following Tuesday’s evaluation. I was leaning towards waiting for the full report so that I could give her the whole picture. When she called me on Wednesday, I knew I needed to change that plan. I told her that we suspected that Tommy has Sensory Processing Disorder. I told her about the evaluation and the recommendation for therapy. So now we begin the process of figuring out how to help Tommy during the school day.
His daily schedule is one that could be very challenging for us. His morning is very intense, as the majority of the academics of his day are contained in those 2 1/2 hours. Sure, they do change activities every 20-30 minutes, but it still requires him to sit still and be quiet. Poor little guy is probably doing everything he can to hold himself together through the morning and then falls apart shortly after lunch. He either ends up lashing out with bad behaviors or he goes into prime sensory-seeking mode.
So, why didn’t we see this in Kindergarten last year? Well…he went to afternoon Kindergarten after spending his morning at daycare. What did his morning at daycare involve? A whole ton of sensory input! There were only 6 children in his classroom in the morning so their activities could be tailored to the needs/desires/preferences of those 6 children. In his case, it was a lot of hands-on and motor activity. He got his fill of sensory input on those mornings and headed off to Kindergarten in tip top shape.