Off day? Um…okay.


He had an “off” day.  Perhaps it was the fact he is getting over a cold.  His upper lip seemed cracked and sore.  He seemed anxious today.  He is tired.  He seemed out of sorts.  He is dumping bins.  He has red cheeks.  He was rubbing his eyes.  He pushed stuff over.  He had the giggles.  He was unresponsive.  It took five times to get him to do follow instructions.  He unplugged a laptop…three times and stopped a lesson.  He had an okay day.  He had a good day.  He won’t participate in gym.  “It’s too loud…Mama fix”.  He’s a sweet boy.  He is a good colorer.  He smiles a lot.  He wants to talk.  He’s trying to talk.  We are proud of him.  He’s in a mood.  He is disruptive today.  He had chill time.  He had a time out today.  He participated well.  He was on edge.   EA (Education Assistant) transitions are hard for him.  We are weaning him from his EA.  He’s only 4.  All children do this.  He is such a treat to work with.  Nothing to worry about.  He’s had an “off” day.

These are the kind of comments I weed through every single day.  What does an “off” day look like?  I know what it looks like to me but what does it look like to her…to them?  In the ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) classes that I have taken you need to collect data in order to modify certain behaviours so you need to track the behavior and what happened before the behavior.  Comments and observations are just one person’s point of view about what could be causing the behavior but it is not the event that occurred or the antecedent to the behaviour.  Our son is just learning to talk so the communication piece and support in the classroom is huge for him.

“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if he could talk.  No…he would have told you what was wrong and what he needed instead of getting so frustated that he began to be distruptive.  Did you ask him?”

Why is it so hard for people to ask the non-verbal child what he wants or what is wrong?   He is beginning to talk so we need to give him an opportunity to have spontaneous conversation.  With only a few words he can let our neighbour know what he wants and how he is so happy when someone understands him.

Was he upset that he was suppose to go to gym again (which he loves) but its too loud because of all the bouncing balls?   We’re the other children being extra noisey today?  Maybe he was not finished putting the puzzle away or toys that he was playing with when you asked him to move to the next activity.  Did you warn him that a transition was coming?  Did you give him a chance to process your instructions?  Did you wait and listen?  Were you clear about what you wanted him to do?  Did you use the visual schedule when it seemed he was not following your instructions?

His father and I spend time every morning showing Johnny pictures of his school buses, his schools, and pictures of his classrooms.  We coach him on what is expected from him when he goes to school and we highlight all the “right” choices.  He understands everything people say to him and hears everything but the trick is making sure he lets the teachers all know he is.  We have taught him to try and watch their noses when they speak in circle time and now he watches their mouths when they talk to him.  Its hard because when he is learning a new concept in the curriculum like Math its better for him cognitively to look away at times to process better and faster.  But teachers track both what the child has learned as well as the dreaded word “attending” so we are trying to find the right balance.

I sure wish I REALLY knew what was happening at school.  I want to believe in all the comments that are written in his communication book but recently some comments were changed and written over and now its seems he is just too tired and sick on some days.  Maybe we should call you and send him home on these days.  Really?  I thought he was just having an “off” day.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. vaughanmom says:

    Why is it so hard for people to ask the non-verbal child what he wants or what is wrong? —-I have wondered that myself soooo many times? We want them to communicate with us but we don’t communicate with them? How exactly does that work? How do they learn? The devices are aids not substitutes. Just because our nonverbal kiddos do not respond the way others need them to doesn’t mean they are not communicating. All those behaviors your son is exhibiting are his words. That is his way of communicating. Wake up people and listen to our children!

    I hope today has been a good day for your son…and you. *hugs*


    1. Cyn says:

      “All those behaviors your son is exhibiting are his words. That is his way of communicating. ”

      Thank you for this:) That’s exactly what I think and his SLP think.

      I had another frustrating day. The bus company has filed 2 incident reports saying that my son was kicking the seat in front of him and banging on the windows and would not stop. Sigh. Actions are words right? Did the driver change the route? Its nearly May and he’s NEVER done this.

      Also an OT referral was advocated since last November as part of his IEP and slow as molases the OT referral was done in March and she came in and assessed my son. The teachers were focused on his fine motor skills and completely downplayed his sensory issues…basically slim to none. My boy IS Mr. Sensory and comes home from his afternoon private school with shaving cream residue in his hair and paint all over him as he got carried away with the sensory. Sigh.

      Yup…crappy week. Thanks for the comment. REALLY appreciate it from one Mom in the trenches to another:)


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