Wednesday, May 9, 2007

hey...you missed me?

So it's already been a loooong week... I don't even know where to start...
So I will start with the good...
I have a child I work with that has profoundly deaf parents. She is a hearing child, but due to her living in a deaf household, she has all the characteristics of a deaf person...she does not speak, nor does she sign, which is very unfortunate as she really has no means of communication.
Every time she enters my room she tantrums. She can be having a nice day, she will smile and laugh with me in the classroom, but the minute we enter the playroom she cries.
Months prior, she did not make a sound when she tantrumed...imagine that...a tantrum with no noise...she slapped herself, scratched herself, kicked her feet together, but didn't make a sound...I've worked with her on helping her find her voice...modeling a tantrum, screaming and all...imagine that, I'm teaching a child to tantrum when most mothers are trying to shut them up...
So my little one went to her mothers native country for two weeks...her first time on the plane, first time meeting the large extended family. Mom reported that she was really good on the trip...a direct contradiction to how she is at home...oppositional and defiant...Mom happily reported that she slept during the flight...RED FLAG RED FLAG...
my little one was totally overwhelmed and shut down...withholding her feelings to the point of sleep (that's why when you sit in a difficult class you fall asleep, you're not bored, but totally overwhelmed...that's why babies fall asleep in the nosiest places i.e. concerts...it's too much for the nervous system)
In the classroom on monday she talked me up...laughing and all...I wondered what awaited me once we got in the room...ahh, she didn't fail me...we entered the room and the tantrum began full throttle. She SCREAMED to the point that the veins in her neck stood out...that was HUGE...she kicked, threw things, and broke a ball...this went on for about ten to fifteen minutes...I streamed calming music through my bluetooth, sat next to her, just letting her know I was there...I needed to clean her face so I sat her on my lap and began to sooth her...wiping her face, rubbing her arm, and making soft clicking noises...she closed her eyes, relaxed against me and clutched my shirt...I could feel her begin to sooth herself, she would start to sob and I could feel her taking big breaths...she fell asleep, not because she was tired, but because she was drained...I told her we needed to go to class, and she was not ready...I gave her a few minutes...then told her we had to go again...she stood up, and as I was getting ready to stand up (I was on my knees) she opened her arms and gave me a huge spontaneous hug around my neck...she didn't have the words to say thank you but her hug said it all...these moments rarely happen, but when they do, it melts your heart!!! I asked her if she felt better and she nodded her head yes...we went to the bathroom and wiped her face with cool water...on the way to the classroom she held my hand tight, and looked in my face and just smiled like the sun after a thunderstorm...

3 comments:

LilacBlue80 said...

Hey Prof... I actually did miss you. It's been intersting to see life from your point of view and I hope you keep writing.

kablina said...

Wow. Great description of this little girl's situation.

When you describe what it took to bring her to peace, it sounds so logical. But when I think of what it *took* to help her, well, that's wonderful. Now I want to ask questions about how/what her family is doing to complement the work you are doing, but of course don't know how much you can tell...

You do good work.

professor said...

Thank you...This work is very hard, due in part that the families very rarely do anything to help the work process. One has to instill in the child something that they can take, and keep with them always. Its the simplest thing that stays with them. Having my little one close her eyes and regulate her breath to self sooth may be the only thing she gets out of our sessions together, but she will have that always.