"MISS KAREN IS NOT MY HEART ADULT!"
I love this student. This middle schooler has autism. He needed me to know through his outburst that he was far from happy with the situation. So he boomed that Miss Karen is not his heart adult. In other words, he is angry at Miss Karen. It took me a minute for his meaning to sink in.
I call my students my heart kids. He clearly understands what I mean when calling him that. The fact that I adore him and he is in my favor means he is in my heart. At this particular moment Miss Karen was definitely out of favor.
Transitions are difficult for people on the spectrum. Let's face it, change is tough on all of us. The truth is most of us just bottle it up inside. Yesterday was a rough day for several of my students coming back from Thanksgiving. Travel can be a nightmare with all its noises, crowding, and change in routine. Others have regrets for past Thanksgivings with family for meltdowns. Generally holidays are challenging. Then after a 5 day break they need to get readjusted to routines at home and at school. Facing the very real fact that in just 3 short weeks we will break again for an even longer disruption for the winter break is not a positive.
To add to his frustration, there was a brand, new substitute in his favorite art class. This is a class where he shines. What would have been acceptable with his teacher was shut down by the nervous sub just trying to follow the lesson plans. Conflict. When Miss Karen, his aide, stepped in and told him to follow the rules~he blew. Now my room is on the other side of the wall from his art room. Earlier one of my other heart kids had melted into an extremely loud puddle so I thought it was that kiddo blowing again. When I rushed over I was surprised to see this student completely undone. He got even more wound up when he threw a keyboard. Regret.
When we made it back to our quiet, safe room he was still hollering but by then it was all about how stupid he was. He had instant regret for his loss of control. After he was able to calm down and think he told me that Miss Karen is not his heart adult. Circumstances aligned so that he got overly frustrated. His reality was if she would have just let him do what he would have been allowed to do with his teacher this wouldn't have happened.
He is my heart kid. She was not his heart adult. At least not at that moment. Later when we went to the book fair with a $7. gift card in each kiddos hand I was the one who blew it. To me this looked like such a sweet gift. To him the book fair was overwhelming with all the toys, posters and books. The librarian told them they could only get books with their donated money. This restriction along with the varying book prices had too many variables for him to navigate. Another blowup. An extremely loud blowup. Poor guy. All these factors were more than he could handle. Although he didn't verbalize it, I am pretty sure by that point I was not his heart adult either.
A true heart adult would have done a better job seeing the day through his eyes and help lay out the day with less hurdles. Tomorrow we will try harder to earn back the right to be his heart adults. His courageous walk through life earns him the right to be my heart kid each and everyday.