This week, Toots’ teacher sent home a note for the class which included this:
On Tuesday afternoon, about an hour before school was out, I got a call from the school office. He had an eyelash issue. School personnel cannot stick their fingers in a student’s eye and neither can the tutor. He was rubbing his eyes, and turned a clump of eyelashes under the lid where they were stuck. So, I drove to the school and “right side outed” them and he went back to class.
He’s been tired. Really tired. The new school is very good but it’s seven hours per day. He had 3 hours in kindergarten.
The night of the eyelash fix, Toots was unusually quiet, especially for a child who vocally stims nearly all the time. At home, he played for a bit and then laid down with half his body under the bed. I asked if he was okay. No answer. Asked if he was tired. No answer. Asked if he wanted to go to the doctor and got a very soft, “No.”
He did perk up again within the hour and played some online racing games just before he announced that he was going to bed. He laid down with his head at the foot of the bed and his feet by his pillow and passed out right away. He slept through the night.
Wednesday, I got this text from Toots‘ tutor:
My son is not really very verbal about how he feels. In fact, it is a rare occasion, that he tells me anything about his physical state (hot, cold, pain, sick, etc.). So, I was surprised that he would have said he “hurt”. That alone was troubling because it had to be pretty bad for him to find words to express it.
My son has epilepsy, though it has always been confined to sleeping hours per his EEGs. Anything that is related to head pain makes me worry. The autism makes it very difficult to get information from my son. So, the fact that he was verbalizing about his head heightened my fear. Combine the epilepsy, autism and his asthma, and you get one worried mom.
I brought children’s Tylenol to the school, gave him a dose, and left him with his tutor. All the while, the paragraph from the teacher’s letter remained in my mind as a possible explanation. When I picked him up at the end of the day, he was sweaty and tired from PE. He was talkative, excited, and wanted to go for a walk at home and so we did.
I wanted to chalk the headache up to being tired and stressed. Toots travels 60 minutes a day just to get to school and back home. Four out of five days a week, he has 1-2 hours after school working ABA programs in our office. When he gets home, he has to do homework. It’s tough. Especially when he has a mom like me who knows how good his work can be when he tries.
And so, it played itself out. Even with my “different” worries, he was okay. And so, the first grade teacher was right. “Drama” came with his first hard week.
But, my lesson for the week was that I recognized that he has to try harder, work longer, hold himself in more, and make entirely new friends without the natural communication of other children. He’s such a hero. And while other kids might whine or complain, Tootles just smiles.
Yes, he’s learning a lot in first grade, but then again, I am too.