This was a good week. I feel like I am breathing again for the first time since summer began.
We have demanded a lot from Moe this summer in his home-based ABA program. For the first time, he is in a truly individualized program, one that meets the definition of "intensive." He's doing well, but also telling us his limits. He's learning not just skills that he should have been learning in school, but learning compliance as well. They are spending time cleaning up "junky behavior" (like grabbing everything) and keeping him focused. Moe needs to know that when he has work to do, he has to do it - or let us know that he needs a break. He always has an out, but that escape cannot be with bad or aggressive behavior.
Moe is doing great. He has a fantastic team who believes in him. Last week one commented that they can't believe Moe's rate of learning. This is especially interesting since the school district has tried to make the case that Moe's lack of progress is due to his slower rate of learning. It just shows how important it is to find the right program and the right teachers.
Unfortunately, with the change in routine, Moe's sleep demons have returned. This seems to happen with each major change in routine as, I believe, Moe processes the changes. The combination of his difficulty falling asleep, accompanied by night wakings, takes its toll on the entire family. We are trying to find the right combination of dose and timing of melatonin and behavioral approaches to helping him fall asleep and stay asleep.
Moe spent some time testing us with escape behaviors and aggression, but I'm learning some techniques to deal with it, and Moe is learning quickly that he gets what he wants by being calm and asking nicely (which in his case is any communicative attempt with eye contact), and not by acting out. This last week was good, though, and although the weekend ended with a bit of hyper, manic behavior (he is still Moe after all), he seems to be finding some regulation again.
We are only three weeks from the new school year, which brings with it big changes for us. Moe will be going to a new school, and I suspect there will be a bit of a transition once again. The school is a good 30 miles away, so we will be commuting as well, and I am more than a little anxious about how we are all going to handle it. I've had long commutes before, and they are taxing. But this was the only program we found that seemed appropriate for Moe, so we do what needs to be done.
Looming over us, of course, is the fight we are in with the school district, a fight that has been placed temporarily on hold as the teachers and administrators are now on their summer break. This has given us some time to regroup and focus on what is important, which is of course, what is best for Moe.