Thursday, August 17, 2006

Andy had a bad day yesterday

Andy rarely has bad days at daycare (school is another story) and his bad days at daycare when they do occur are usually just normal kid stuff. The staff there really has trouble at times believing that he has autism.

Yesterday he was acting like he does when he has just a tiny bit of gluten (a lot of gluten produces bad tummy aches) - just being overall naughty - little things set him off into a major tirade - he gets angry and runs away and there is no talking to him - and he usually throws things - he cries easily and loudly - he has low self esteem and gets frustrated easily. I don't think I am describing it very well, but it is not a minor melt down, it is major. Not a pleasant thing to experience at home - really not cool in a room with 30 school age kids who wonder why he is acting like such a toddler.

The behavior continued at home all last night. It was too much. I shut him in his room for a period of time trying to get him to calm down and Dan retreated to the basement to try and calm down as well (Andy's episodes get on both of our nerves, but Dan has to remove himself from the situation - and that is OK - once Andy is calm, I take my break and Dan distracts him with a new activity).

So the detective work begins - what could be causing this behavior? I question everything he ate yesterday. I question if anyone shared food with him - he assures me he would not take food from another child. Wednesday is Dairy Queen Day at his daycare - he didn't have Dairy Queen, did he? No, he had his fruit cup that I had sent in. I re-read the labels on all of the foods that he had consumed at home looking for the culprit. Everything appeared to be OK.

Sometimes I never figure it out - but most times I do - it just takes awhile. I figured that I would question the daycare staff in the morning at drop off - his lead teacher is on vacation this week - maybe something slipped by.

Then bingo - the culprit is identified. As I was supervising his bedtime routine, he holds his hands out for inspection and tells me - "I played with play doh today" He goes on to tell me that he washed his hands really good afterward - do I see any play doh left? Yes, I do - under the nails. I determine that he did not use a nail brush and that he played with this play doh before he ate lunch (and he still eats mostly with his fingers). I ask him if a teacher assisted him with his hand washing or inspected his hands afterward. He tells me - No, Tracy isn't there this week and I just did it myself. Upon further questioning he reveals that he didn't tell the staff on purpose because they tend to "worry too much about those things and probably would not let him play with play doh again".

I will talk with the daycare this morning and send another nail brush in. And I guess I will rethink allowing Andy to play with play doh that is not gfcf. I just like him to be normal whenever possible - he has to have his special foods, but he shouldn't have to have special play doh as well. I may have to make up a batch of gfcf play doh tonight.

I will also talk to Andy today about how he acted yesterday and if he likes acting like that - and point out to him that the play doh was probably the culprit. I will let him help me make the decision - do we ban play doh? Make gfcf? or wash his hands better. He always is more likely to follow the rules when he has helped set them.

Life just isnt' fair for our kids.

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