Monday, December 1, 2008

Sweet Isaiah

I'm so thankful that school is starting soon. Isaiah has been going to our church daycare since January 2006 and has really thrived. A lot of credit for his early advances goes directly to the ladies who worked with him when he first arrived. He started the early education program through the school system in the fall of 2006 and went through the 2006-07 school year and 2007-08 school year. He REALLY thrived with all of that.

Although he's got some behavior issues, he's really a good kid. He picks up on negative actions and imitates them. He picks up on positive actions and imitates them also. It's normal childhood development.

The staff and administration of the daycare has changed in the last year and they have really cracked down on what they perceive as obstinate behavior in Isaiah. Some of what he does he's aware that he should not be doing. Some of what he does he does not realize that he should not be doing it. Although he is five, he is really not as mature as most five year olds. I would classify his maturity level closer to 3-4 years old. Plus, with PDD-NOS, he doesn't really pay attention to group instructions, such as "Everyone line up to go potty." The early ed teachers realized that they have to get his attention and say to him directly to line up, or he often doesn't realize that he's being talked to.

The teachers at daycare have written him up for every little infraction, no matter how insignificant. "Isaiah was told three times to quit shaking his toothbrush in the cup. He finally had to have it taken away from him." "Isaiah was told twice to quit singing in the line." "Isaiah threw himself down on the floor while his mother was still there." For each infraction, he had to give up a Popsicle stick. Popsicle sticks are behavior rewards and if he loses all of them during the day, he does not get any TV that night at home. If he has at least one left, he can watch Noggin. If he has at least two, he can pick a movie to watch. So, his behavior at school dictates what kind of privileges he gets at home that night. Sometimes we really hate to punish him for what we consider to be insignificant things, but we do in order to be consistent and to impress on him that we support what he's been told. We make sure we praise him for doing good things, even if it's stopping a negative behavior when we ask him to. There are times when it's difficult to cope with his behavior but I just try to realize that fit throwing and whining are normal behaviors for a lot of kids in the 3-4 year old age range and that's where a lot of his emotions are right now. But, he's really a wonderful child, very smart, and very loving. He just needs some extra patience in a few areas.

We told daycare that his psychologist advised trying to find positive things to mention to Isaiah, instead of always focusing on his negative behavior. There are times when I'm sure Amy makes excuses for him when she maybe should not. But she also realizes that he needs some different approaches to instruction and punishment. It's a very fine line between what's normal for his emotional level and what is not.

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