Friday, October 23, 2009
I don't know if we've just endured another time of testing...or if this is just the calm in the middle of the storm.
Thanks everyone for the supportive comments and virtual hugs. You all are awesome! :)
Some of the things you wrote about we've considered...others we hadn't. All of it was read, mulled-over and ingested.
We are so blessed to have such a great group of adoptive parents and wise friends surrounding us who have been there, dealt with that.
We still have a lot to consider in how to deal with Maddie in the coming days and weeks, but I am happy to say things have settled down in the last couple of weeks.
I'm not sure exactly why yet.
I don't know if we've just endured another time of testing. You know...the two steps forward, one step back thing. Or if this is just the calm in the midst of a storm.
The last two weeks things have been incredibly quiet on the school front.
No late afternoon phone calls. Great reports from the teachers when I call. My informants kids say she's settled down.
And so I'm confused.
I'm hoping its a permanent change. I'm imagining she's learned she's not going to get away with all of these negative behaviors.. I'm thinking the praise she received from her daddy and I about how good she's been behaving the last couple of weeks is working.
But I'm also not naive enough to think that it is over...whatever it is.
I'm seriously leaning toward this being just a time of testing. Trying out old behavior to see how it works in a new environment. Or maybe it was a temporary slide back into the orphanage. A bit of a post-traumatic response. I keep reminding the teachers that school can be very reminiscent of the orphanage to these kids.
Fifteen to 20 kids, all the same age, all crowded into a concrete block type room for a long day with only breaks for a few recesses and communal lunch.
Sounds awful familiar to me.
The teachers seem to be getting it. Really, they do. Her kindergarten teacher is awesome. So patient and understanding of Maddie's history and special needs. She's the one who is starting to wonder if the constant stream of extra teachers is contributing to Maddie's behavior. We're considering cutting back on some of it and will talk to Mrs. B again on Tuesday at the parent-teacher conferences. Maddie has a long list of teachers including a special needs teacher - which I'm not so sure she needs. This teacher offers more one-on-one instruction, which is nice, but Mrs. B says Maddie is doing great academically. Right on track with the rest of the class. YAY! :)
She obviously needs her speech help...and the teacher for the deaf - at least for now. But there's also a person to help keep an eye on her at PE (a teacher's aide). I'm not sure that person is needed either.
So we're considering it.
And then there's the lunchroom.
During her IEP meeting a few weeks ago (which I still haven't blogged about and which I am still working on) I mentioned the lunch room may be too loud and that may be why she was acting out so much. The teachers actually came up with the idea of having her eat in a quieter setting, possibly with a couple of friends (different ones each day), so Maddie could work on her interpersonal skills (having conversations, developing friendships, etc.). It is supposed to be a part of her final IEP - which I was really excited about. I'm not sure its been implemented yet, so I'm going to check on it.
Another thought...one of the behavior modifications that the teachers had put in place was a reward system based on gummy bears. I put the kibosh on that immediately. There is still a behavior modification in place but it has absolutely NO food attached to it now. Thankfully.
The teachers were mortified at what they may have done in using food as a reward...seriously - one of them used that word later on. Again, I'm thankful for the teachers we are working with here. (Notice I'm saying teachers...just keep that in mind, okay?! ;)
So, for now, we're going to continue at the status quo. Things are going well. All is quiet (quick...someone find me a piece of wood) and Maddie is showing signs of making permanent behavior changes.
Its not that we're out of the woods completely, but I have to say Maddie seems to have attached pretty well. Extremely well, considering where we were a year ago.
She comes to us for comfort...
Seeks us out for approval...
Absolutely never mommy shops anymore...
Will seek us out if she can't find us...
There's no more bullying of other kids - at least not in our family circle...
She's treating animals with affection now (instead of absolute fear) - well, at least ours...
She responds appropriately to discipline and affection...
And will occasionally climb into someone else's lap for a second, but then will look at me and then come over and climb up in mine.
Leaps and bounds...
Millions and millions of miles...
Heads and shoulders of improvement.
And that's what I need to keep reminding myself. Isn't it? Baby steps. Keep an eye on the improvements...and keep working on helping her grow, learn and adjust..
Sure. We still have a ways to go...but we're getting there.