Friday, May 11, 2012

A Huge Milestone

My son’s therapeutic school uses a level system to measure students’ progress. When children first enter the school, they are classified as Level 1. When they reach Level 5, they are deemed ready to begin transitioning back to their home school.

Progression from level to level is determined mostly by quantitative measures of behavioral performance. To attain the next level, students must achieve a specified average on their daily point sheet that measures things like following directions, staying on task, and having respect for staff, peers, and property.

Students also must not have more than a specified number of major incidents for a set period of time that increases with each level.

Kai achieved Level 2 way back in November of 2010, about ten months after he started attending the school. It was a major milestone, and we were hopeful that it was a sign of progress.

But for most of the year and a half since then, he has not come close to attaining Level 3.

Kai’s behavior at school had deteriorated. For many months, he had a major incident nearly every day. The staff at school tried to find ways to get his behavior back on track, while we at home sought help through medication, among other things.

For the longest time, it did not look like progress was being made.

But, a couple of months ago, things started to improve dramatically.

Kai started doing much better at school. His major incidents became rare, instead of routine.

And though we knew that he had been doing much better at school, we had not given the Level progression any thought. So, it came as a bit of a surprised when Kai told us at the beginning of this week that he would make Level 3 if he went the whole week without a major incident at school.

We were excited about the possibility. But we were also a bit wary of getting carried away with our hopes. After all, a whole week without a major incident is no sure thing for a boy who was having one or more a day for much of the past year. If he achieved it, it would be because he went two months without more than two major incidents.

Each day this week, after he got home from school, we opened Kai’s backpack to see if he had had a safe day. And, until today, each day he had. We breathed a sigh of relief each time, and got a bit more hopeful by the day.

Late this morning, we spoke with Kai’s therapist at school.

No, it wasn’t bad news.

She invited us to attend the school’s weekly Community Meeting. Our son would be honored for achieving Level 3.

Of course, we wanted to attend.

And when we got to school, we found Kai helping his teacher set up for the meeting. He was smiling and in great spirits. They said that he could sit with us during the meeting. He was beaming the whole time.

During these meetings, there are a number of announcements. Kai’s progression to Level 3 would be one of the last, meaning that he would have to wait, something he has difficulty with. But, this time, he waited very nicely, mostly holding our hands the whole time.

And then it was his turned to be honored.

His therapist called him up front, announced his achievement, and handed him his certificate. Our son had achieved the milestone that appeared unattainable only a couple months ago.

Congratulations, Kai! Well done!

We could not be prouder of our son. It is truly a happy day for us.


  1. Replies
    1. Awesome it is. :) Thanks, Betsy!

  2. Good for Kai, and for the both of you. Now, to what do you most attribute it? Is it his new medication? Is he maturing? What ever it is, I am sure you will wish to make it his new behavioral baseline. I know how heartening it is to see such progress. Kai deserves great praise. I know he must be very proud...almost as proud as his parents are. :)

    1. Shiroi, I think it is a combination of things. Finally getting the medication to help instead of just causing side effects has definitely made a difference. I believe that it has helped keep his anger in check, which then allows therapy and all the lessons at school to be learned more easily.

      Yes, he is very proud of his achievement!

  3. Hurray for Kai and congratulations to the three of you. That's great news!!



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