Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Rollercoaster Heads Down Fast

At the beginning of the school year, I wrote that life is a rollercoaster with our son. Since then, I’ve documented some of the difficulties and some of the successes regarding Kai’s performance at school.

A recent high point came when he reached Level 2 a few weeks ago. I noted then that, while it was a great milestone to achieve, it did not mean that he will be perfectly behaved from that point forward. At the time, however, I didn’t realize how quickly the rollercoaster was about to drop.

After a month without a major incident, Kai has had five in the past week and a half. While the school will not officially reclassify him back to Level 1, he has lost all of the privileges he earned for reaching Level 2.

His latest major incident was brought on yesterday when he got impatient and then could not control himself when he had to wait for the teaching staff to set up a craft station. When the staff tried to explain that the materials were not yet ready, he yelled and did not stay in his area. He was given two reminders, and then asked to take a timeout when he continued to be disruptive. At that point, he bit his clothing and tried to bite some of the staff. Kai’s inability to wait is something we have been dealing with, sometimes with a bit of success, for a long time.

At home, when we asked him about his day at school, he told us that he wanted to turn all of his classmates into zombies because they spit at him and tried to bite him. We were astounded at his story. He often has trouble describing the events of his day, but what he does tell us almost always turns out to be true when we can later verify it with a teacher. So, we were wondering if there was any truth to this fantastic story. But, soon after I received an email from his teacher that described what really happened. Apparently, in the story he told us, he was projecting his own poor actions onto his classmates.

It is the first time that I can recall Kai telling such a blatant and outrageous lie. On one hand, I know that is what happens when kids get older. But still, it is disheartening to see a part of his innocence begin to fall away like that.

Of course, he was not allowed to play his favorite video game last night. The punishment was not so much for his behavior at school as it was for not telling us the truth about it.

The rollercoasters at amusement parks have a lot of ups and downs, but, in the end, you end up right back where you started from. During these difficult periods with our son, it too feels like we are not getting anywhere.

But, I know that is not true. Our son has come a long way and will continue to make progress. Some things just will take longer to deal with.

And, we can’t allow ourselves to stay discouraged for too long. We’ve got work to do.


  1. Yuji, I admire your resiliency. This cannot be easy. But I think it also takes courage to discuss this. As the father of a special needs child myself I find reading your blog offers another window and gives me a sense that we are not alone in this. Keep up the great work - and hang in there. May Christmas and New Years bring great things to you and your family.
    Best regards,
    Dave Baeckelandt

  2. Hi David,

    Thank you for your kind remarks and support.

    Yes, I think sometimes we all get so caught up in our own problems that we don't remember that others are in similar situations. The support of other parents who have kids with special needs is particularly treasured.

    Have a very merry Christmas! We wish you and your family all the best in the new year!



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