"Loose tooth. Stuck." Charlie himself said these words last night. We had been watching YouTube videos; he kept asking for another one and another one and I felt, heard, saw his agitation level rising to the roof and gently shut the lid of computer.
At first I thought Charlie said "YouTube" and was asking for another video. He repeated the phrase and I echoed "loose tooth," whereupon he said, starting to grin, "Loose tooth" and "stuck."
I thought back to how he's only been brushing the right side of his mouth. I thought about how the school nurse and his teacher made a big deal Tuesday about how he wasn't eating anything (though he did on Wednesday, so that could have been because he's gotten so choosy about the contents of his lunchbox). And as I looked at Charlie, I wondered how long had he been pulling his mouth into that configuration as if something was bothering him in there? And what about his wanting to eat (soy/lactose free) ice cream for the past four days? And waking up crying, knocking his forehead and crying so suddenly out of the blue, for the past few days---we've divined from anxiety about changing schools, yes (Charlie has called out for "school" while crying/knocking), and now, it seems, from something else too, possibly?
I could be wrong. I may not ever find out, as the tooth (if there is a loose one) might be swallowed or otherwise disposed of. But Charlie's words reminded me, there can be quite legitimate reasons for puzzling behavioral manifestations.
I guess I kind of tried to indicate that in Jim's and my statement of parental concerns, in nothing that "It is necessary to evaluate the effects of wearing a helmet (with a face mask and straps) on Charlie's behavior and communication, and to begin discussion immediately of a plan to fade the use of the helmet at school." Certainly it would change my behavior if I had to wear a large blue plastic item with a full plexiglass mask on my head for six hours of the day and, too, seeing me (seeing you; seeing anyone) in such would change the behavior of other people around me (around you; around anyone).
And certainly yesterday's IEP meeting/"IEP amendment" etc. meeting was mostly a matter of me reading the statement Jim and I had put together. (There was some ad libbing of course---years of watching Jim lecture and speak, and years of teaching, have taught me how to do that.) (In noted Charlie's changing food choices and appetite, I included the all-important example that he often turns his nose up at French fries these days; if we get him McDonald's fries, we end up eating them.) Charlie's case manager wrote down the requests for a BCBA to observe him monthly and for monthly clinic meetings. And the special education director said that it had indeed been inappropriate for Charlie's teacher to discuss placing Charlie at a place like the Bancroft Lindens Neurobehavioral Stabilization Program in our home while on a home visit, and not at an IEP meeting.
A few words that said a very very lot.
Yes I recorded the meeting.
And yes, I'll be looking for a discarded tooth in the sofa cushions.