Remember when I said I had written a post recently that included a bunch of words like “bad” and “attitude”? And remember when I said that I had deleted said post? Well, I’m glad I did. There have been developments.
Let’s go back to a couple of months ago when Jay began coming home and reporting on one student in his class who was constantly getting “red faces”. We’ll call that student, Jesse. So everyday, Jay would pull out his folder and proudly show me his green face and then say “Jesse got red face today.” Poor Jesse, according to Jay, was always getting red faces.
Then about a month ago I heard Jay with some new scripts. They would pop up whenever he was doing something that he knew he shouldn’t do. The words didn’t match the behavior, but it was clear that he knew he was being troublesome. “Jesse, go sit down”. “Jesse, no hitting”. “Jesse, no running”. “Jesse no screaming”.
Additioanlly, if you recall, last November a certain fellow student had dumped a tub of yogurt into Jay’s hair. Yup, it was Jesse.
I’m assuming that Jesse is non verbal because Jay very recently started making these unintelligible sounds … Kind of like … “Dah”. I had no idea where he got if from and asked him a few times what it meant but I wasn’t given an answer. He would just say it again – “Dah” – And then move on. That was until 2 days ago when he kept saying it over and over. Dah. Dah. Dah. I asked him again what he was trying to say. I asked him to show me. I got nothing. I asked Ace if maybe it was from a show they had been watching. He assured me it was not. I went back to Jay with my questions and that’s when he told me “It’s Jesse”.
I asked him not to make the Jesse sounds anymore and encouraged him to use his words. He smiled and ran off.
Not long after that, Jay was giving me some of the attitude that I was going to complain about last week. He was being very defiant and throwing things and stomping around. I crouched down in front of him and said “Jay, sweetheart, you’re not being nice. We need to be nice to each other. Where are you getting this attitude from?”
Once again … he singled out Jesse.
This changes things. The unwanted behaviour is not “badness” and it’s not a reaction to anything sensory. It’s purely learned. Up to this point, whenever Jay has followed the crowd, I’ve seen it as a good thing. It’s always been him joining in to play or picking up new interests such as super heroes. With this new angle, I will have to figure out how to teach him when it’s OK to follow the crowd and when it’s not. That should make for an interesting ride.
None-the-less, now that I know the reason for Jay’s antics, I can more easily re-direct him. He understands when I say that he’s not being nice and he will tone down the attitude when I bring it to his attention. He even has gotten to the point now of catching himself mid-attitude-giving and saying/asking “Don’t do Jesse?”
Now, while I’m thrilled with this development for us, who’s really been on my mind are Jesse’s parents and Jesse. I know I’m jumping to a lot of conclusions about their life and I may be assuming a lot of false things. All the info I have was received from a child who struggles mightily to communicate. Here I was, all set and ready to complain about Jay and he’d only been giving me “attitude” for a few days and it wasn’t even consistent. Using nothing but the information I have, it seems that little Jesse is quite the handful a lot of the times. I really just hope that parents and child are getting the help and support that they need.