This time of year seems to be the most difficult for all students, they've been cooped up inside, they haven't had outdoor recess in months and though it's finally, usually, warming up, the rain has started. Add to that the fact that March has few, if any, days off from school (and Easter isn't until the END of April this year) and the kids are going CRAZY!
For a child with special needs, it's even worse. They react to how the other students are acting and that makes their stress level (and behaviors) go up...a lot.
At our house, Kid Jedi is acting up more. He's not listening, he's having a difficult time following directions and he's chewing on the sleeves and necks of his shirts. Now the chewing on shirts is a common thing in our home, he says it's to exercise his jaw (or teeth depending upon the day), but this time of year it gets a lot worse, and this year is worse than last year. One day a couple of weeks ago, he came home with a different shirt on than the one we sent him in to school. And yet another one was in his backpack, so he went through 2 shirts, and the one he came home in was really wet too.
In some cases, you could send your child to school with a chewy, or even have the provision for chewing gum added to your child's 504 or IEP. But a chewy is too conspicuous in a mainstream classroom, and our concern with one that goes on the end of a pencil is that Kid Jedi would then chew on erasers. Gum is something that Kid Jedi has absolutely no interest in chewing (I guess his shirts taste better).
It would be easy to just have him wear short-sleeved shirts if, like last year, it was just the sleeves that he chewed on, but with him chewing on the neckline or buttons on his shirt too, it isn't as easily remedied. We do a lot of redirection, but as soon as he stops, he starts all over again. We do understand that this is really a sensory and stress issue and that First Grade is a lot more difficult than Kindergarten, but I can't afford him ruining all his shirts.
Well, we'll either find a solution, or Kid Jedi will be wearing the same few shirts to school every day until he stops chewing on them. Oh, and his aide has already banned one shirt because of how much he chewed on it!
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