We had been moving along at a nice clip. Moe was doing well, sleeping better and most of his aggressive behaviors had all but disappeared. He has recently begun answering "yes" and "no" with a head shake or nod and was verbalizing with intent more often.
Then things began to fall apart. Starting right before the new year, Moes started waking a lot during the night. He stopped trying to talk (though he is still pointing and nodding). And then some of the aggression returned, the kind of keep coming at you, scratching and hair pulling, we hadn't seen in months.
Just long enough for me to believe it was gone for good.
This is when it gets hard. When it starts to feel like all our hard work, both mine and his, has gone out the window. When I question everything, when I wonder if it is time to double down on what we're doing or throw in the towel and start over.
The hardest thing is not knowing why. Certainly the sleep and behaviors are linked, but what is the root cause? Is this just a temporary setback because Moe isn't feeling well? Is he not sleeping because he's processing all he's learning and beginning to understand? Are his behaviors a result of increased frustration at having more to say and being unable to say it? Or is this a real regression?
The weekend was tough. I dreaded Monday. I absolutely hate taking Moe to speech therapy when he's so aggressive. When he's misbehaving during ABA, I feel like that is what they are, at least in part, there to work on. They are behavioral interventionists. But during speech, I just feel bad. (Our SLP has an ABA background so she in unfazed. This is all me.)
But Monday's speech session was one of his best. He really participated. He had no negative behaviors. The rest of the week has been good so far. A little bit of hair pulling and scratching, but much less frequent. And he's working hard again.
So what does it all mean? I have no way to know. Maybe he's just testing us, seeing what he can get away with, like any five year old might. All we can do is go back to the techniques that have worked in the past, continue to help Moe learn to communicate and move forward.