September 26, 2009

Kid With The Poop Finger

Jagger came into the world screaming, letting everyone aware of his presence. Yes, he’s named after Rolling Stones front man, Mick Jagger, which is Adam’s all time favorite band.

For those who don’t believe a name defines a person, come to my house, my kids are living proof. Adam and I swear that as Mick Jagger ages and decays his soul is slowly creeping into our son’s body.

Jagger started out like any other baby (other than his apparent love of tantrums). He started to talk around a year of age, but at eighteen months his speech was replaced with what sounded like drunken British rock star jargon. We cursed Mick Jagger and tried to rebuke his soul out of our son. It didn’t work.

About a year later, after Jag had become quite proficient in walking, he developed a serious strut. He’s six years old now and still struts down the road. The first time he did it Adam looked at me and said, “What is that?!”

I responded with, “You named him Jagger.”

When Jagger’s speech deteriorated I began to suspect something was wrong. His doctor told me not to worry, and that he seemed normal. I tried to put it behind me over the next few years as I watched him tantrum more and develop his own language. Luckily, both his brothers understood it.

Finally, right before he turned 5, I took him to the doctor and pleaded with him to have Jagger checked for autism. I had done a lot of research on my own looking for an answer and he fit a lot of the criteria. His doctor still wasn't convinced.

I said, “He should be starting kindergarten this year and I still need his 3 year old brother to translate for me.”

“Oh.” He responded, finally realizing the severity of the situation.

He referred him to the Children’s Hospital, and we were lucky to get him in fairly quick. Jagger was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. He’s high functioning, but has a severe communication delay.
They talked to us about putting him in Special Ed kindergarten and our hearts broke.

When you have a baby, you think of all the great things they are going to do. You envision them having a normal childhood and becoming a well rounded adult. When someone tells you that the same child is going to be in Special Ed, all those dreams seem to shatter right in front of you.
The doctor did tell us that he would be the smartest kid in Special Ed, but needless to say that didn’t make us feel any better. We aren’t knocking the Special Ed department, it’s just we felt that it wasn’t a good fit for our son.
I remember leaving there feeling rather defeated. Adam and I sat in silence for about 20 minutes before he suddenly said, “He’s not going to Special Ed. I’d rather him be the dumb kid in the normal class than the smartest kid in Special Ed.”
I looked at him and smiled, letting out a sigh of relief. “I’m glad you feel the same.”
We both thought pushing him to do better was the best option. It wasn’t going to be the easiest, but it would be best for him in the end. We had never treated him like he had a disability and they told us that was probably the reason he was so high functioning. So, why change now?
We opted to have a TSS come to our house for 20 hours a week, and take him to speech therapy once a week. It was a crazy schedule, and his tantrums in the beginning were exhausting. (Especially for me, I was 8 months pregnant with our 5th child when we started the process.)
Luckily, we had a great support group. Our TSS was, and still is, a blessing, and our friends and family were there to push and encourage him during the times his TSS wasn’t around, not to mention all the prayers from family who weren’t in the vicinity.
With all these things combined, Jagger made more progress than any other child his psychiatrist had ever seen. When it came time to look into school, we knew if we took him to the public school they were immediately going to put him in Special Ed, due to his diagnosis, so we looked into private school. We weren’t sure if they would take him with autism, but we wanted to try.
Our neighbor referred us to the school where she taught. We made an appointment and took Jagger in to see what they thought. When we got there, they immediately took Jagger to the kindergarten room while we chatted with the principal. A little while later, he returned. They told us he sat and listened to a story and did a craft. They said they saw no reason as to why he wouldn’t persevere there.
Feelings of elation filled our hearts as we registered him for school. (I was also a little sick thinking about all the germs he would be swimming in, but I had a few months to mentally prepare myself!)
Jagger has been in kindergarten for a month now, and is doing great. He’s social and is doing wonderful in his studies. Unfortunately, for all of you that don’t know, one of the things kids on the spectrum struggle with is sensory issues. That is why Jagger is always in his underwear, or “going Hulk”, as he likes to call it. He doesn’t like the constraint of clothes. (Who does?!) He also doesn’t like it when he has dirt or sticky stuff on his hands. That kind of situation can start a meltdown. His TSS used to cover our dining room table in shaving cream and forced him to play in it for extensive periods of time, trying to curb his reaction.
This is where we started to have a problem. A couple of weeks after Jagger started school I got a phone call from his teacher (who is our neighbor, which makes this worse). I guess Jagger went to the bathroom and got poop on his hands. This resulted in him screaming and writing feces hieroglyphics on the bathroom wall. He wasn’t in trouble, they just wanted us to work on it with him at home.
I thought things were going good until Adam got home yesterday from picking Jet up from Preschool.
“I got called into the principal’s office today.” Adam said, as he walked in the door.
I looked at him and yelled, “NO!”
He nodded with a slight smirk.
“What now?” I asked.
He tried not to laugh and told me, “Well, you know how Jag is having trouble wiping his butt?”
“Oh no. He’s not wiping poop on the walls again, is he?” I asked.
“Well, that too, but….” He replied.
That too? I thought. Could it get any worse? Yes. Yes it could.
Adam continued, “I guess he’s not wiping good enough and when he’s in class he’s sticking his finger in his butt, pulling it out covered in crap, smells it, then says “Yep, that’s poop.” At least he’s not freaking out.” he shrugged.
I didn’t know what to say. I just sat there, mouth agape.
“They just want us to get him to stop, so parents don’t start calling with sanitary concerns.” he told me.
We didn’t want him to be the smartest kid in Special Ed, instead we got the kid with the poop finger.
Lesson 19: kid with the poop finger = white trash

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