Hi everyone! I suppose you were wondering what is going on with me these days? You are probably just sitting around thinking, "What is Angel up to lately?" The answer is, a whole lot, yet somehow not much.
Things on the Tizzy front are going, well, not so good. I've been having a really hard time keeping him safe at school lately. He has started running out of the school. Actually he started running out of the building a while ago. I would just try to walk behind him and act nonchalant, and usually if I did that then he'd also walk, and I could keep him in my sight until somehow he got tired of walking and went in. The other thing is, I would take him on walks around the school grounds with me there with him, thinking that if he could actually get permission when he wanted to go outside, he wouldn't have the need to dart out the door so much. I even tried to bring some of our learning outside, writing alphabet letters with chalk on the side of the building for him to squirt with water, or writing sight words on paper plates for him to use as Frisbees. And it worked for a while.
But lately he's been running out just because he knows it is unsafe and will get a reaction from me and other staff. The big conundrum is that, if you chase after him and try to physically catch him, it becomes a power struggle, and he is actually fast enough to win it. But if he starts running, and I keep walking, then he easily gets out of my sight and I have no idea where he is. He runs in and out of the building like a little mouse scurrying around a maze looking for cheese! On the other hand, if I do run after him, he just runs faster, and I cannot physically run for that long. I have never been a runner. And Tizzy has a lot more energy than I do!
Twice today he actually got out beyond the gate that surrounds our school, and was on the sidewalk. Both times when that happened, I did run and physically catch him, because I couldn't let him get further than that. There was nobody around to help me. I don't have a radio, and if I did I would probably drop it and break it fifty times a day because it is hard to run with a radio in your pocket! So all I could do was outrun him, snatch the sleeve of his jacket, and then just scoop him up and carry him in... with him punching me in the face the whole way. He hits hard, for a little kid. Obviously it doesn't hurt as much as if a grown adult hits you, but still.
He has a lot of rage, and aims it at me specifically. It is sometimes emotionally hard for me. I really don't mind him hitting me. But he also gets angry and shouts at me to go away, to stop "following" him, When he tells me to go away, the social worker and principal tell me to go take a break, which is supposed to help him deescalate, but often makes me feel a little like I've been sent to time out by a six-year-old!
The school district sent a behavior specialist to come spend time with him, and she helped make a behavior plan for him, but it seems to have gotten worse instead of better. The new plan lets him earn rewards for being safe, but not for doing work (because they try to pick the one most severe behavior to try to work with first) so now he will not do work. I try to make his work into games... for instance I spent a lot of time making paper "footballs" with his sight words written on them, and I found a little mini finger football game at Dollar Tree, so he could read the words and then flick them through the little goal post.... but he will play the game and still refuse to do the work part. He would flick the paper footballs but he wouldn't read the words, and when I kept asking him to read them, he threw them at me instead.
Up until recently, I was really excited to see that I was no longer experiencing anxiety about going to work, because I actually looked forward to seeing my co-workers and even to the challenge of finding ways to teach Tizzy. But now it is more like a feeling of dread. I feel like I'm failing at my job, and failing Tizzy,
Its almost the end of the school year, though, so I just have to get through it. It will still break my heart to say goodbye to him when school ends though.
On a happier note... this past weekend I got to go to the sanctuary farm that is near where I live, and spend some time with the animals. I brushed the goats, raked out the barn, fed snacks to everyone, rubbed a pig's belly, and spent a lot of time with a goose. The goose is the sweetest goose you will ever meet. He mostly just followed me around everywhere I went, honking loudly until I would stop and pet him or hold him. He does try to scare away the other animals because he wants all the attention... when the dog would try to come near me to ask me to throw his ball, the goose would chase him away, and then come strutting back to me, honking and flapping his wings around, amused with himself. He really is a silly goose.
Here is a picture of me hanging out with one of the pigs, and with my goose buddy. Whenever I go to the farm, I am so happy, and when I come back I can't stop talking about it. I love the animals. And it is nice to spend time taking care of people who don't turn around and punch you in the stomach! (The goose does nibble my clothes sometimes if he thinks I'm not paying enough attention to him, but they are mostly a very gentle and loving crowd.)