Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Flippin and a Throwin

He should be called Nakey Boy.  That would about sum up his day at school yesterday.

Right when the kids began coming home I got a call from Little Guy's teacher.  She told me that he has been getting naked in class-- three times over the past two days.


After I picked my jaw off the ground I asked her how that could be. 

After all he has on a shirt, shorts, under wear.....

Couldn't he have been stopped at shirt or shorts?

Apparently, he has been doing this during carpet time.  He begins by taking off his shirt or his shoes and socks.  Then an aid escorts him to the bathroom and on the way he continues stripping down.

I find this unacceptable and I told her so.

Just like I find him flipping his desk repeatedly and throwing his chair.

Honestly, I have never experienced this with a child.

I have come close. 

One of the kids threw a shoe on the roof of the school for attention. 
One child screams in my face on a daily basis.
One would bring toys from home to play with in class.
One would eat their lunch at break and then say they didn't have anything to eat at lunch.
One of my bio kids tried to set off a school fire alarm once.
One of my kids got caught stealing another student's back pack.
Let's not forget the smearing of blood, boogers, and feces on the walls here at home.

You get the picture.

But taking off all their clothes?
Flipping a desk over?
Throwing a chair across the room?

I get that Little Guy has FAS.  I really do.  However, I seriously wonder if the school does.  When I try to talk them about it, they don't really comprehend the effects that FAS has on a child's brain.

They seem better to understand Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Autism, but not FAS.

I can't really fault them.  After all, it is the invisible disability

Little Guy's teacher told me that he is one of the lowest in the class academically.  He knew two of his letters of the alphabet.

Yes-- but he knows two of them!  That means that he can learn.  She is not sure he is in the right placement.  I don't think sending him to a severe special needs day class is the answer.

It is just going to take time and lots and lots and lots and lots of consistency.  Teeny tiny boundaries.  Lots of cooperation between school and home and way more communication. 

I tried to explain to her just a few of the things he has learned here in the past month.

He used to turn the water on using both the hot and cold water handles.  The water was getting hot and then he would let it run-- paralyzed to do anything because it is too hot.  I taught him to turn on only the cold side now-- and he remembers.

He would push his chair out from the kitchen table and scrape the floor really loud.  Now he remembers to push it out just a little bit and quietly too.

His eye contact is getting better.

He can answer yes or no questions.

He remembers almost everyone's name in the family-- on a good day.

He doesn't ask for yogurt twenty times a day anymore because he knows that I won't give him more than one a day.

He will color a whole page of a coloring book whereas in the beginning he would only color a little part of the picture.

He can sit through a whole family devotional making hardly a sound.  THIS IS HUGE.  This was impossible just two weeks ago.

Notice how all of these things have nothing to do with academics.  However, they are things that he is learning to do.  These are things that he needs to learn in order to be successful.  If he is to learn the parts of the calendar he has to first learn how to sit still and pay attention.  If he is to learn to write his name, he has to first be able to hold a pencil and apply pressure.  If he is to learn the whole alphabet and not just the song, he has to learn to remember easier things like family names first.

I was able to give her a few ideas and agreed that we would have lots to discuss at his next IEP in a couple of weeks.

I am so glad that we talked.  I was able to talk to Little Guy about it too. 

Now that he has been here over a month I see him settling in more and more.  It is a good thing.  He is still the energy bunny all the time, but he cannot help that.  The biggest challenge is learning how to channel that energy so he isn't bouncing off the walls.  

Despite the challenges today, I am excited to be a part of his future.  To see the tiniest bit of progress is a celebration.  Most of the other things I have to find humor in or else this couldn't work.


  1. Hello, Christine! I love your commitment to work with the school and communicate with the teacher, and I agree that a classroom for children with severe or significant needs is probably not best. I have three thoughts: 1) use what Lil Guy likes to help him learn (like the sound of l is lllll, Legos); 2) ask your daughter with FAS to think about how she learns and what helps her learn and use that with Lil Guy; and 3) think about making some minor dietary changes with Lil Guy, things that would be easy to do in a large, busy family. I read a little online - maybe replace the kind of juice pouch with one that has no food coloring, look at fish like tuna two or three times a week, and look at other highly suspect food issues to minimize as possible issues (might help with some other unwanted behaviors, too!). I'm a teacher and the last comment I have is that you might have to push and push and advocate, and fight until you get the right teacher and classroom for Lil Guy as not all teachers have the work ethic and orofessional dedication to really meet his needs - and feel free to mention that you don't CARE if he is the lowest in the class, you CARE that he is learning and reaching his potential. Oh, yeah, one your blog!

  2. Christine I went through something similar w a foster. The school wouldn't get on board. I understand.

  3. Just a thought, yogurt (good yogurt) has many beneficial probiotics. Our little guy used to crave it. Turned out he had a parasite that didnt show up on his first line of testing. Those nasty buggers can make it impossible for even the healthiest child to pay attention, and continue to grow healthy!

  4. Christine, I am a longtime lurker who finally has something to say! I used to teach special ed at the elementary level. My last class had two children who would strip naked periodically. I bought them overalls for Christmas. Make sure they are not too big (this is critical), put them on backwards, and usually the child cannot get them off. They can be used daily if it is a constant problem or sent to school to be used on days that it happens if it in't a daily thing.

    I chose to ignore the shoes being off within my classroom but insisted that they be worn elsewhere in the school. High tops or boots that lace to the top and can be double knotted generally stay on.

    I hope things improve as he settles in at school. :-)

  5. He is lucky to have such a wonderfull mom to fight for his education:)

  6. Maybe you could put him in clothes that would be harder to get out of (if there is someone who would help him when he needs to use the restroom).

    Kaleb would constantly take his shoes off so I bought him high tops he struggles to get on and off. It stopped.

    The twins did the eating their lunch thing. They'd eat it on the morning bus, say I didnt' send one and charge a hot lunch. Thankfully our neighbor works in the cafeteria and caught on to it. No one called me about it.

    Also had one steal the principal's lunch and say it was because we locked him in the closet and didn't feed him at home. He'd also steal the kids' treats from their lunches but they wouldn't get mad at him because he'd tell them the same thing about being starved. They were in an expensive Christian school so why would I pay that much for him if I was going to starve him? But you know how manipulation works.

    I hope the teachers will work with you in creating an educational plan that works for him.

  7. That placement does seem wrong, and since all behavior is communication - I think that's what he's communicating! He needs to get their attention because they clearly do NOT understand what he is capable of learning. NONE of us can learn things that are several levels above what we are capable of. Put you or me in Advanced Microbiology and we'd want to throw stuff, too, I bet.

    From what you tell us, he is calming down at home, feeling safe and beginning to learn the basic tools that will enable him to learn more elaborate things... Learn to turn the cold water on, and later you could learn to turn on the hot afterwards, and eventually learn to get the temperature you want.

    He does not feel safe at school, sounds like, and no one can learn when they are scared.

    He's been through so many changes lately, is there any possibility of you keeping him home and teaching those "pre-academic" skills? Helping him get entirely used to being at your house, before going somewhere else. School can terrify even ordinary children who are timid.

    I can see where his presence might make teaching your others too difficult, but it was just a thought.

  8. This is what Axel's behavior was like the first 1/2 of his first year of school here in the US. (he was 11 at the time.) I expect that Abel's will be similar. It is tricky to deal with. I've come to the conclusion it has to do with the development of conscience, and the fact that many post institutional kids haven't developed it and need to go through the stages of doing so. It took me about a year to teach Axel. Abel is a whole different kid and I don't yet know if he will respond the say way Axel did, or to the same corrections while in school.

  9. I used to think "all behavior is communication", and then I learned when it is neurologically based, sometimes it is NOT!

  10. I thought the article you posted about FAS was inspiring and enlightening.

    One suggestion would be to print it out and actually give it to his teacher, so she can read (and absorb) it at her leisure.

    I think teachers today are often overworked, and are unable to hear what concerned parents are trying to tell them. Giving it to her and letting her take her time over it might help.
    You are an amazing Mom.

  11. He sounds very challenging but I love your attitude to look at even the smallest things as progress. Everyday is an adventure here too. It is tiring and the biggest challenge for us is Jackson's unpredictibility...never know what he will come up with next. ;) Love your honesty and determination to fight for your little boy.

  12. Praying for Little Guy's continued adjustment, for wisdom for you and the school, and peace for all! Hugs!

  13. Christine, you might find a partner in walking this road with you and helping you learn how to navigate FAS with others by contacting

    Most of her adopted kiddos have FAS.

  14. So glad to hear that you are "real" and that everything in your house is not "perfect" and that you don't want people to become "shocked" when they come to visit. You sound a lot like me!

    Our school's teachers don't understand fasd, either, and it has been an uphill battle for us. I hope that you do better with your teachers'
    educations, communication, etc.

    I would love to know how you got your child to be still and quiet while you are doing your family devotions!

  15. I have 2 kids with FASD. I am also a teacher. Most teachers do not know or understand FASD. How many kids would be in the special ed class compared to the regular class? You might want to consider the special ed class only b/c fewer kids and a more structured routine might be less stimulating and more predictable for Little Guy. I agree with the commenter who suggested getting rid of food dyes. A gluten free, dairy free diet often helps too. I know how inconvenient it is, but for my daughter it diminished her impulsivity a great deal.

  16. Hi! When I was having concerns with the school district I discussed the issues with the teachers and the special education supervisors. But at the same time I was discussing the issues with the school district I was also consulting with the private educational attorney my husband and I hired. In the end the situation worked out but it was a very expensive process ,Pat

  17. Thank God you are his mother! You are inspiring.

  18. Thank God you are his mother! You are inspiring.

  19. Could it be a sensory issue? I have a few friends who have kiddos with sensory issues and keeping clothes on is a problem. Our kids have autism so it is perhaps different on some levels but sensory issues can cross many fields.

  20. Sounds familiar! If you feel like it's the right placement for him, insist that they try to make modifications and accommodations before thinking about changing his placement. My kiddo is similar, and we really felt that he needed typical peer models and insisted they try. It was a (very) rough year, but he made SO MUCH progress. We'll see how this year goes...the biggest issues that we've run into with behavior at school are a) low/inconsistent expectations and b) the expectation that there is actually a reason/trigger behind his behavior (sometimes, it's like his brain just shorts out).

  21. Our teeny tiny daughter who is almost 8 flipped over a 6 foot table while camping a couple months ago. I am there with you! If you ever need to talk I am here. I think we may have so much in common with our 2 little ones.

  22. I know a family that is very experienced with FAS. Eight out of their 11 adoptive kids have it to varying degrees. All are learning. Some are in public school, some are home-schooled. The family is always open to contact and to sharing advice from their years of living with this disability. They might have some pointers for you about how to address Little Guy's behaviors and handle IEPs etc. You can contact them through their blog here: If you want, you can just tell the mom (Stephanie) that Viviane sent you.

  23. It irks me to know that the school does not treat Little Guy's FAS as it should be treated. As the mother of a child with autism, I know how often FAS and autism can mirror one another regarding symptoms. It's sad that schools often look at the actual diagnosis of a child, rather than looking at what a child NEEDS.

    Little Guy clearly, without a doubt, could benefit from ABA therapy. If it were my family, I would push every door I could to demand that the school provide it and if that failed, I would see about getting Little Guy ABA through private insurance. Honestly, I don't know where my son would be today if we had not found ABA and been able to provide it to him through our insurance. When he began at four years old, he couldn't speak in simple sentences, let alone answer a question. Two weeks of ABA later and he could do both. Today he can not only speak, answer questions, and convey his needs, but he can also carry on a conversation - and those are just how far he has come verbally through ABA. I attribute 95% of the strides he has made to ABA therapy.


I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.