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Regression Session December 27, 2010

Filed under: Matthew,special needs — Elizabeth @ 11:15 PM

Christmas break.  No rushing out of the house by 7:20.  No packing lunches.  No rushing through breakfast.  I kind of thought the boys would be driving me crazy, but honestly, I have been enjoying the freedom of staying in our pajamas all morning.

Until….about 3 days in.  I began to notice some old behaviors of Matthew’s creeping back in.  Pre-melatonin behaviors as I thought of them, although they haven’t been as severe as they were.  Most notable is the baby talk.  His language has regressed.  He is quicker to tantrum and more irritable.  As he plays he is more prone to walking by a bin of toys and dumping it over and moving on rather than actually playing.

Huge, huge annoyances to me, especially the baby talk.  There is something incredibly grating about a 3.5 year old who can talk, but who chooses to spend his day saying “nyeh, nyeh, nyeh, nyeh”.  I have even consulted my inner Dr. Phil to try to figure out what Matthew must be getting as a payoff from these behaviors.  He gets no positive reinforcement from me in regards to the baby talk, so I’m at a loss about that.  But I have to think that at some other time in his life, it was a tool that he used…..with success.

Today, Jason and I took the boys to our local science museum.  I really only like to take them when I have another adult with me because each boy has such a different approach when we get there.  Matthew finds one thing he likes there–it varies from the water table to the pretend market to the oversized Lite Brite–and he spends almost the entire time at the one exhibit, tantruming if he is ever removed from the area.  Isaac, on the other hand, never spends more than 2-3 minutes in any area and runs around like a crazed lunatic.  Even when he is in one area, his eyes are twitching all over the place and he’s asking what we can do next.

Anyway, I was stationed with Matthew at the enormous Lite Brite for a good 20 minutes.  I would comment on his artwork and he would respond with “nyeh, nyeh, nyeh, nyeh”.  (He gets away with this in the eyes of the other parents and children in public because he is so very tiny.  I believe that people take him to be a younger 2 year old due to his size and the way he acts in public.  So a lot of times, I imagine when we are out and about, it looks like we are asking a lot of him.)  Anyway, when he would want Lite Brite pegs that were out of his reach he would point and say “nyeh, nyeh??”.  I said, “No, I will not get those until you ask me, Mommy, could you please get me those pegs?”.  After a few times, he was shocked into asking me with words.  He wasn’t happy about it, but he was speaking.

Later on, we went to another floor of the museum and Matthew climbed in a tornado simulator.  Another child climbed in with him, and Matthew began talking to him, “nyeh, nyeh, nyeh”.  The kid stopped, narrowed his eyes at Matthew, and said “WHAT?!?!?!”.

My heart stopped and I saw Matthew hesitate.

And then, he began to speak.

Water dripped on me.  I can’t reach it.  So high.

He finally began to talk like he normally does.  Like I know he can.  This kid shamed him into it—peer pressured him into it!  Finally, somebody other than me called him on the baby talk!!!!  This kid is my hero!

So why has he backslid so much over this Christmas break?  Is it being away from the therapies he receives?  Is it just a break in the routine?  Does he only do so well in school because he is basically pressured into it by other kids?  And oh my goodness, what is going to happen to us over the summer?  I know there are other mothers out there who have kids with special needs–do any of you notice any regression like this over the holidays when your kids are away from their regular therapies and routines?

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3 Responses to “Regression Session”

  1. Kristen Says:

    We are dealing w/the same issues here. Although we had a great Christmas and the kids had lots of fun, we’ve had backsliding too, especially w/sleep and tantrums. Honestly, its so hard to pinpoint the cause(s) behind Buddy’s behavior issues, but I think its mainly the change in routine and schedule. As much as he’s enjoyed all the special treats and activities of the last few weeks, the change in his predictable daily life is unsettling for him.

    Really hoping both are boys get back on track quickly once school is back in session.

  2. Grace Says:

    peer pressure…haha! as a teacher i see regression a lot after long breaks…i think a lot of it is just the change in routine and kind of “letting go” of all that’s expected of you when you’re at school. not sure if that has anything to do with what’s going on with matthew, but i think it’s great that you are holding him to the expectations that you know he is capable of!

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    I wish I could help you here, but we’re in a pretty unique situation. For one, we’ve seen a great deal of regression in Ingrid post-surgery. For a while, she was this lovely little subdue creature, and then several days later, Adam and I looked at each other and said, “it’s like we’re back at day one with her.” And my goodness, it’s been trying. But like I said, our situation is kind of different b/c the surgery I see as more of a traumatic sort of experience that she’s now recovering from, and holiday break is hardly traumatic. Although, I wonder now if it is… our kids are certainly all very much creatures of habit. And for the stability to be rocked in the lives of our little ones AGAIN (after being ripped from foster families, their culture, etc.) is just too much for them, no matter the circumstance. Does that make sense?
    But the other reason I feel like I can’t address your questions (which apparently I am regardless) is that Adam and I both work from home, and the girls stay home with us 100% of the time. So the holidays have been very little break in our routine, save for three days or so where Adam and I have both been around, all day. But it’s really been no different than a weekend for us.
    Ok, I’ve blathered enough here.


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