Today has been a day of measurable growth and progress and because of that…we celebrate!
Many of you know the issues that we had with a previous dental appointment. My son refused to cooperate and we had to leave before the cleaning even got started. There were very verbal complaints about the smells, the noises and the bright lights in the office. Obviously, it is necessary for him to have dental cleanings and the idea of restraining him or sedating him was not appealing. If we restrain him this time, how do we possibly get him there the next time?
It was important that my son understood the significance of his actions. Because of this, we explained the cost of the appointment that was missed. We talked about the inconvenience factor and the fact that it would take even more time away from family and Minecraft time. We showed him pictures of rotting teeth and shared with him some of the consequences of poor dental hygiene. He is well aware of the germs around him so the pictures and health concerns seemed to impact my son. Intellectually, he fully understood the need for this appointment.
To make sure that there was success…there was a bribe involved. Yes. I know it doesn’t make sense to bribe a kid with a doughnut to go to the dentist, but these dairy free doughnuts are only used when we have to bring out the big guns! It was critical that this was a successful appointment! He needed to see that it wasn’t as bad as he thought and that he could do it despite his discomfort and anxiety!
He did it! He did great and he even shared a report of the appointment with his teacher.
If this was the only success of the day, it would have been a great day; however, there was more!
Today, I met with my son’s school staff for an IEP meeting and he was exited from Special Education. Each staff member was almost moved to tears as they shared the progress and many strengths that are no longer overshadowed by poor communication skills and unfortunate choices. They spoke about the way that my TBP has adapted and worked through social struggles “using his words” and the strategies that are taught throughout the second grade. He now attends all specialists, despite his discomfort with the loud instruments and the “dirty floor that every student runs on.” We were able to think about accommodations that would continue to support him as he comes up against new challenges and harder curriculum. In the past, it seemed important to the school staff that I knew how different that he was and all the things that he couldn’t do. Today, I can honestly say that they still see him as different but now they see him through a different lens. They now see that he is unique, but the focus has shifted to the bright and quirky aspects.
I’m not sure how long (if ever) it will be for him to be completely comfortable with school. He still requires a great deal of recovery and home time to ground him and prepare him for the next day. What I can say, is that I am so pleased by the progress so far.
Today, we celebrate!