Incident, and Progress, Report
On average, 'incident reports' get sent home in Charlie's school communication book about two times per week. These offer a brief account of whatever happened, possible antecedents/reasons for the behavior ('not sure' is an option, and I'd rather that—sometimes we just can't figure out why Charlie does what he does), a description of the response, the time and duration. I would generally say that sensory overload, stomach distress, and the difficulty of communicating quickly and sufficiently about either of these are often reasons for Charlie having trouble.
The good thing about Charlie's 'incidents' is that, in the past few months, they have been contained. That is, while he might sometimes get extremely upset, he is calm and back to doing his programs in no more than half an hour. Too, the incidents don't seem to affect the rest of his day.
Much as I'd like Charlie to be forever 'incident-free' and never thump any part of his head on a wall or whatever again, I know that this isn't realistic. Charlie has had some of these behaviors—like the head stuff—for so many years that, when he's really upset, he ends up doing them, however much he knows he oughtn't to; however much he'd rather not do them. Too, his limited language and communication abilities mean that he just can't always get the words or other communication out in time. Our hope is that, over time, he'll get better with the communicating and the head stuff will slowly, slowly fade away; will peter out.
Well, that's the ideal. Certainly things right now are very good.
Case in point was Tuesday morning.
Charlie got up at 7.30am, got himself into the car. I set the timer so Jim and I could do some things before we left (an arrangement that had worked fine last week) and walked away from the car, and heard the thumps. Jim came out and he and I stood by the car. Charlie sat up, looked at us.
And that was the extent of it.
We started doing as we had planned, loading up the bikes. Charlie had already, we realized, put the bike helmets in the car—he must have really just wanted to get going. Also as planned, we drove into Jersey City and went to Liberty State Park. Jim and Charlie were soon abike and went on a quite long ride that took them through many city streets. I put on my running shoes and went running along the river, across from Ellis Island and behind Lady Liberty. It was much more humid than it has been in the past few days (though nowhere as it was back in the dog, dog days of July) and that may have accounted for why Charlie was much slower on his bike, as Jim noted.
Usually we get Charlie summer rolls from a Vietnamese restaurant but it was just around 10.30am when he and Jim came back and we put the bikes back onto the racl. It was also too early to get the other food item that Charlie likes to have in Jersey City, hamburgers and French fries from a McDonald's on Communipaw Avenue (we tend to pass this McDonalds as we leave). But hamburgers and fries are only served after 11am.
Jim quietly took an alternate room via the New Jersey Turnpike home and Charlie was fine with the change in the usual routine of his visits to Jersey City.
The rest of Tuesday passed with two 'home bike rides,' a fast trip to a little local amusement park where Charlie rode his usual total of three rides before asking for the car, random 'hanging' time in our little house (it is summer vacation—the last days of it for Jim and me—after all).
Keeping those on-average-two-'incident-reports' in mind, we'll see what happens Wednesday. Charlie being out of school, and therefore in a much less structured environment, and therefore without his teacher and aides and the other kids at his school, I factor in an extra 'behavior,' or two (hopefully not of the mega-explosive kind, though we're as ready as we can be, should such be the case).
Those morning thumps on Tuesday certainly weren't the best way to start the day but I'm still marveling at how they didn't seep into the rest of the day; how they didn't define the day.
It's progress of the hard won sort.
Just before going to bed, while listening to samples from every classic Disney compilation I could find on Amazon, Charlie looked up at me, grinned, and said, 'No more head bangs.'
'Yeh, that would be good. But sometimes it happens.'
'No more head bangs.'
'Yup, you're doing good.'
If I don't say so myself.