Monday, September 13, 2010

Small Steps Will Still Get Us There

Some of you know that Kaylen has been having trouble adjusting to Kindergarten. She has been looking forward to going to school since Kelton got to start three years ago, and has spent much time at the school because of Casey's work with PTO. The girl knows the school and the people who work there "inside, outside, upside down." We expected the transition to be easy....but her separation fears got the better of her. Last week, we tried letting her "tough it out." By Friday she had spent days in tears, traumatized by a variety of unexpected events, including "The Spitter," and could not pull it together enough to go to school. She was a wreck, and was not just manipulating us. She is really upset because she WANTS to love school and she just can't seem to make it work. This weekend Casey and I spent time figuring out what is wrong and how to help her.

People at her school who know her said she needs some special services and can tell this is some sort of disorder. Casey spoke with a few people, we emailed, read...and have put a lot of information together. Our little one has always had some sensory issues and now it appears that she has Separation Anxiety Disorder which is intensified by her Sensory Integration issues...well, hard to know which came first, probably the sensory stuff, since research indicates it often starts with NICU kids, which she was. So, we have to deal with both....but we came up with some coping strategies, particularly one from a book - telling her that she has a Brain Bug that is telling her lies - like that she won't see Casey again, and she won't have friends. She has to squish that bug.

Today, we had a successful short day, she felt proud of herself, and together with her teacher, school counselor and principal, we came up with some strategies to empower her when her senses get overwhelmed. So, hopefully, rather than her eyes tearing up like faucets, she can remove herself from the classroom long enough to get away from all the sensory stimulation, calm down, and come back to class once she feels better. She seems to really appreciate that we understand how she feels and that we are trying to help her overcome the signals her body is giving her about being afraid.

She will get there and be successful....the path is just not quite the one we expected to be taking. That's parenthood for you!


Lynilu said...

The path is filled with many obstacles, for sure. And every time you think you've figured it out .... poof!

Poor little girl. Hope you can all hang in there till she is able to find her footing. Don't you wish you could just hug it away?

Mimi said...

Thank god the teachers are willing to help.....what if all of the kids would have gone through that would of been a mess......give her a big hug for me.....hopefully buy one month this will be all behind here and can't wait to go to school....again thank god the two of you can and will work together for her......

EH said...

This is really interesting for me, because my 3 year old has always had a hard time with transitions (one night in the NICU - born at 35.5 weeks - not sure that counts as a "risk" factor) and separation anxiety. I think the kids with the good imaginations have it so much worse. :( I like the idea of using a "brain bug" to squish when P's older, because P hates bugs.