Sara started a new school this Fall and to say that it is not going well is an understatement (I will write more about this another time). At a recent I.E.P. meeting the team was discussing how much school she has missed (more about this later also!) and someone asked “What does this look like at home – when she is not at school – what is she like at home?” And I wanted to kiss her. But first I internally kicked myself in the ass for forgetting to bring in a picture that I intended to share with the team to show them exactly what that looks like.
So I replied that when she is not in school that she is unteachable. That she is basically ensconced up in my bedroom in sensory deprivation. It is dark, the blinds are drawn, she has a fan on to block out any “noise” of the house, she has the T.V on and she spends HOURS (days actually) in this “fog”. I assured them that she is not binge watching iCarley or channel surfing. In fact, she is typically watching home renovation shows. She “watches” show after show after show. Even if they are repeats.
Then I said something in that moment that I had never even realized myself until I heard my voice saying it. I said “Our house is divide up into three levels and depending on which level she is on I know how she is doing. If she is on the main level I know she is doing well, that she can tolerate the sounds and chaos of life and that she is in a good place. The basement is her sensory room. If she is in the basement I know she is struggling and doing therapy to meet her needs. If she is upstairs – she is in a bad place and is unable to participate in life or even advocate for her needs.” And just like that I realized that I do in fact use her position in the house as a barometer of her head space.
And in case you are wondering about that picture…here it is: