Saturday, October 23, 2010


Alex has had the most struggles with the beginning of the school year. A lot of the reason I wasn't posting was because of that--we were trying different things and I was hesitant to post until we had figured out what was going on.

We still haven't figured things out. :) :)

At the beginning of the school year, Alex started having "emergency" bathroom runs during school. And then he started having accidents at school. It has taken a lot of guessing and trying and...well, everything, to determine that this is not physical or a medical condition. Once we figured that out and implemented some controls at home (i.e., giving him the choice to pee in his pants or the toilet, but him also having to deal with the natural consequences of that--thanks, Diana!) all of a sudden all of the accidents at home went away. His teacher has not been willing to let him deal with the natural consequences so he is still doing emergency bathroom runs at school. But interestingly enough, only at about 3 pm, so just in case she doesn't let him go and he decides to push her on it, he only has to sit in wet pants for 15 minutes.

Smart boy.

So we've had a lot to get a handle on with Alex. I'm not sure why this popped up all of a sudden (and I do mean all of a sudden) but such is life. Other than that, Alex is doing well at school. His biggest struggles are in math but he is one of the top readers in his class and he LOVES to read. We're working a lot on his reading comprehension but a lot of that is starting to click as well. He is still excellent at spelling. It's been fun for me trying to figure out how to help the boys learn things because they learn so differently. Alex is a visual learner so when he is learning the states (all 50 of them) we write the names on the states--it doesn't work for him to write a number that corresponds to a list, or to do a puzzle of the states, etc. But for Tim (who as I mentioned CANNOT spell) he needs things hands-on, so I have been cutting up his spelling words and he has to put them in the correct order. His grade on his spelling test last week doubled after doing that (and it was still a really bad grade--that's how bad of a speller he is! LOL).

In other news, Alex has started counseling with a fantastic therapist. She actually has a couple of years experience counseling orphans in South Africa, so she understands more about Alex's background and some of the grief issues he deals with. Alex is doing great, and he's adjusting well, but we still feel like he has some trust and bonding issues related to the many changes that happened over the course of a couple of years in his life. We want to give him whatever help we can to become a whole, happy little boy and he LOVES going to see his counselor E. She's seeing a lot of the same anxiety as we do (stress over schedule changes, etc.) and I'm really hopeful she'll be able to help Alex learn some good coping skills for that.


Diana said...

Glad something I said was helpful :-). My next question regarding this issue is what is going on at 3:00 that is stressing him out? If you're seeing a pattern to what is happening, more likely than not, there's something going on at that time that is really triggering him.

There is NO shame in therapy! NONE! Nor should you even have to try to justify your reasons for having him there. My best advise would be to physically participate in the sessions as much as possible, even if that means you only observe them through a 2-way mirror. They will be much more powerful and helpful and meaningful for your whole family if you do. Hopefully your therapist is also trained in expressive therapies such as play, art, sand, etc. That's where my kids really started to move and heal.

Courtney said...

There's nothing at 3pm that's triggering him. :) :) It's a control issue for him (he gets to leave the classroom by himself when he's allowed to go to the bathroom extra times). But if she happens to say no, and then he pees in his pants to prove to her he really had to go, he only has to sit in it for 15 minutes (which he really doesn't want to do). But she hasn't been letting him go (as far as I know) and he's been able to wait to go until we get home without any problems. The actual "trigger" for this was it was a way for him to get out of doing his seatwork. But once he was allowed to pee in his pants a couple of times at school (and deal with the ensuing consequences) he decided that wasn't such a great idea, and that the threat alone was much better. ;)

Yep, I was an active participant in his last therapy session. They do lots of art and play therapy, as well as sensory stuff. :) I'm not at all ashamed that Alex is in counseling, but I do want it to be clear that he is not harming anyone in the family or himself. He is not aggressive in any way, we just feel like he needs help learning to process his emotions related to his early years. Thankfully, he was not subjected to anything we would characterize as abuse, but he was neglected and abandoned, and we need to help him learn to accept his past AND his present.