Have you ever had one of those heartbreaking moments? One of those physiological moments where your heart sinks into your chest with a deep thud?
I was cleaning up and came across a notebook. With Moosie's affection for paper, I find notebooks, notepads, and the like all over the place. Today I decided to flip through one of them and found something that Bubba had done awhile ago.
I could tell immediately by a few punctuation marks that it was done either late kindergarten or early first grade. He had independently written something, but not being able to form many words yet, the page was full of random large free-flowing lowercase and uppercase letters.
But at the top of the paper were a few things that he must have written so many times that he could duplicate them independently.
robo rapTr [what he wanted for Christmas for several years and got last year but never plays with because it "scares" him.]
and finally, what truly broke my heart:
I Will do The rit thag [I will do the right thing]
How many times must they have made him write this in class?
For years we have tried to explain "lack of impulse control" and "doesn't foresee consequences" to Bubba's school. He has a behavior intervention plan that we worked very hard to be a POSITIVE behavior INTERVENTION plan. But really it doesn't matter when people perceive him as always doing things voluntarily for attention or because he is choosing to be bad. Does he do that sometimes? Sure. But many times he is escaping from something he perceives he will fail at. Many times he is escaping from something that bothers him. Many times he can't fight an impulse.
And this is what saddens me because we deal with this every day. It doesn't matter what his IEP says if the people implementing it have a different perception. Bubba has always been treated as "He knows better" "He knows what's expected of him" when in fact, he knows what to write after he gets in trouble but has no idea how to avoid getting in trouble.
As the gap grows bigger between Bubba and his classmates in the areas of self-regulation, problem solving, and social maturity, the school is starting to see where he needs support to avoid behaviors rather than punishment after behaviors. But it is a slow process. "Support = success = willing to take risks = reduction in escape behaviors" is something we've preached for years. But when the school sees a kid as a behavior, it treats him as a behavior irregardless of what is written on paper.
But we persevere. We try to counteract the wrong things (which sometimes backfires). But mostly we try very very hard to do the right thing, even though many times we just don't know what that is anymore.