Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Spring Regression, Summer Transition

Did any of you experience a regression with your child during the spring? I can’t tell you how many people I know had chaos bloom in their children when spring hit. It’s like all of our kids drank the same water and spontaneously started freaking out. It happened in my house, times two! It’s a miracle I survived. Seriously.
The boys fought like rabid animals when they were at home. I got phone calls home from teachers several times a week. One of the most interesting calls home was when I found out that Prince Charming told another classmate to “kiss my boobs.” Yep. My little boy. I was mortified. Luckily, the teacher found the humor in the situation and knew that there was no way he would have learned it from home.
Prince Charming was also becoming obsessed with bodily noises like burping and passing gas. He was becoming a major distraction in the class because he couldn’t stop giggling about these things. It even got to the point that he had to stop mainstreaming completely for several weeks. He was making good progress between Christmas break and Spring break, but then things ground to a halt and he moved backward very quickly.  
Prince Charming also had a much shorter fuse. He even started toe walking again, which he hasn’t done in a really long time. When it came time to do homework or other less-than-favorite tasks, he had no stamina and I could count on it always being a battle.
Monkey’s issues with honesty cropped up and peaked. You may recall several posts devoted to his issues with lying and stealing. Things were crazy with him for a while. I wrote, “Telling the truth is hard,” followed by, “Telling the truth is hard (continued),” and then, “Telling the truth is hard (revisited).” I also wrote “Locking things up,” to outline one of our biggest issues with Monkey and what our solution was.
To this day, I cannot tell you what the exact trigger was for the regression and huge increases in negative behaviors. I wish I knew for certain! There are a lot of parents out there who would also like to know what happened to their kids once Spring sprung.
There was only one thing I could figure was different. Due to our financial issues we were unable to afford the same vitamin and supplement schedule for the kids. I had been weaning them off of fish oil because it was so cost-prohibitive. When I ran out, I ran out. There was no money to buy more. So, the kids went without for about 2 weeks or so.
When I figured out that this could have been a possible trigger for their Spring regression, I talked it over with my husband and we agreed to buy fish oil with our credit card. We had been trying to severely reign in our spending so we could attempt to get things back under control, but we knew that we had to try something. I bought several boxes and put them back on their larger dose the following morning. My boys take 2,000mg (or 2 gm) each per day. That is a large dose for an adult, much less a kid. We go through fish oil capsules like it’s going out of style.
I gotta tell you, after about a week of including fish oil back in their diet we noticed that their behaviors were starting to calm down a bit. It wasn’t a magic bullet, but I could tell it was truly helping. Every little bit helps! By the time the last week of school came around, our house actually started to feel almost “normal” again. It’s like the regression crisis was passing and it felt good to recognize the change.
Now school is out for the summer. Crap. Can you say transitional issues?
For lots of families, summer break is a time of carefree, lazy days. They look forward to the fun of summer. For a mom like me, it’s a nightmare in sunny clothing. Summer transitions are always hard. Typically there is a period of time that I can count on behaviors to escalate. This kind of trend has lasted up to 2 months before. However, it seems that their transitional time is decreasing which I hope will continue.
Last year we were fortunate to be able to put the boys in a summer program that is geared toward children with autism. It followed an IEP model that is goal oriented and also applied some ABA principles. It was something they attended 3 mornings a week for 6 weeks. It was grand. It was phenomenal. My kids made progress. My kids were happy. I was happy. They had their best summer to date when they were in that program.
It was expensive. Putting 2 kids into the program was REALLY expensive. We could not afford to give them the same opportunity this summer, despite our intense desire to do so. So, I’m back to the position of trying to come up with stuff for them to do this summer so they don’t kill each other and so that I don’t want to kill them. The police frown on that kind of thing, you know.
They’ve only been out a week so far, but things are going fairly well. The jury is still out. But, there haven’t been too many yelling matches, and the boys are minding for the most part. I can only hope that things continue to go well and that we have a banner summer. {{saying a quick prayer}}
Was spring a difficult time at your house? Do you look forward to summer break? What things do you have planned? Please share your ideas and survival tips in the comments below.  
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