And God Laughs
I told God my plans and He laughed. So now I am living, laughing, and loving according to His Plans.

A Budding Grafitti Artist

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Kevin was a child whose developmental delays were clearly a result of his home environment and not a result of any intrinsic disability. He, and thus we, reported abuse on numoerous occasions but no one listens to a three year old boy with speech delays and a fear of strangers. Kevin was prone to extreme rage which he could not identify nor figure out on his own how to regulate (this was an IEP goal for at least two years). He also lacked impulse control. One day we had been coloring with markers for art and I had put the bucket of markers out of general reach, but still within reach of a climbing child I would discover. The children were playing nicely in centers when all of a sudden Chrissie came running up to me and announced "Kevin is drawing on the walls!" I looked and sure enough, Kevin was using a brilliant blue marker to decorate the imaginative play area, drawing on the walls and the table and the play kitchen and a few dolls. Calling him over, I asked him what he was doing. With an angelic face he answered "Graffiti." 
"Kevin, we do not have graffiti in my classroom. We respect our things."
"I sorry."
"I am glad that you are sorry but that was a bad choice. What happens when we make bad choices?"
"[things] we don't like."
"Now you are going to have to clean up your grafitti,"

I filled a small bucket with soapy water and plopped in a sponge. I then supervised as Kevin scrubbed away every mark of his graffiti. The problem was he seemed to be having fun cleaning, so I decided that we would extend our grafitti removal project. So with bucket in hand we went to the two other special education classes and did some more cleaning until it was not fun anymore. Each teacher also played along, acting horrified that Kevin would write graffiti on his classroom walls and toys and talking about what a bad choice that was. When we walked back to our classroom, Kevin barely cleared the ground with the bucket he was lugging.
"Kevin, do we do graffiti at school?"
"No ma'am!"
"What happens if you do graffiti?"
" You clean it. And clean more."
"So are you going to draw on my walls again?"
"No Ma'am!"

After that day Kevin turned into a marker monitor, making sure they all had their lids on and that none left the tables. He always reminded me to put them away in the cupboard after we used them. And he never wrote on anything other than paper and appropriate materials again. :)
2 comments:! Kevin was so fortunate to have you as a teacher, even for only 2 years - the effects of which I expect lasted him a long time. Just said a prayer that he found other wonderful teachers to help him along in life.

Perfect, Bethany. And thank you!


PS be sure to tweet this post!

clever boy, clever teacher. =)

lately i've been making rhema clean some of her messes. i have to hand-over-hand her, and i think she's getting it.

Job 8:21

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."

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Wild Olive

Wild Olive

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Creative Victory

This is Me

I am a thirty year old enigma who has defied every expectation ever placed upon me and refused every definition created for me. My greatest passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families. As a special education teacher I broke all of the unwritten rules to make sure that my kids received the services they needed and had a right to receive. I have never been so proud to be reprimanded before in my life. Now, due to unpredictable twists in life, I am learning first hand what life is like when you rely upon a wheelchair for mobility. I am a medical puzzle with the pieces slowly being identified and put together, and my medical bills alone could fund a small nation. It takes a village to keep me alive. :) However, I am not defined by the genetic misspellings. I am a teacher, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a dreamer, a reader, an amateur photographer, a writer, an advocate, a star gazer, a world changer. I am stubborn, situationally shy, quick to use humor and wit to make others laugh or cope with a situation, sarcastic, fiercely independent, giving, compassionate (sometimes to a fault), protective of those I love, defiant of arbitrary boundaries, perfectionistic, self conscious, self assured (yes you can be both!), articulate and occasionally dramatic. And that is just what I could fit in two sentences! :)

Who's On First, What's On Second, I Don't Know! (Third Base!!)*

Simple Vocabulary Definitions for those who may not speak fluent medical :)

Undiagnosed Progressive Neurological Disorder- This is the diagnosis that is believed to make everything else fit together. It explains my frequent infections, my muscle weakness and dystonia, my dysautonomia, my cardiac issues, my inability to regulate blood pressure, my dysphagia, my ataxia, my severe fatigue, my extreme nausea, my gastrointestinal dysmotility and IBS like syndrome, my unbelievable migraines, my sensory changes in my arms and legs, my vision issues, my hearing loss (so much for blaming medication), and so much more. Going back to infancy and childhood, this would explain the severe apnea, the significantly delayed motor skills, the reason why I could never keep up with my peers in physical activities, the neurogenic bladder, the malfunctioning thyroid, and my frequent illnesses and vomiting. This is the diagnosis now being used since the DNA testing for Mitochondrial Disease came back odd and I can not afford the expenses of a workup at the Mayo Clinic. We are treating symptomatically.

Pan-Dysautonomia- "Pan" means that it impacts many different systems of my body, "dysautonomia" is a failure of my autonomic nervous system or the part of my brain that does all of the automatic things that do not require conscious thought like telling your heart to beat, regulating your blood pressure, adjusting your body temperature, maintaining balance in space, digesting food, hunger and thirst, etc. It is believed that I have had this from birth based upon my history of symptoms, including severe life threatening apnea as an infant, but the cause remains elusive at this time

Dystonia- abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, including painful spasms, that primarily impacts my feet and lower legs and is now starting to be a problem in my back

Ataxia- difficulty maintaining balance and coordinating/executing movements

Dysphagia- difficulty swallowing due to any number of causes including muscle weakness and poor muscle coordination

Adipsia- the absence of a sense of thirst

Other Medical Issues- Lupus Anticoagulant (autoimmune disease that causes me to tend to form blood clots and has already caused two deep vein blood clots and one mild stroke), Migraines, unknown connective tissue disorder, abnormal gastric motility, allergies, history of v-tach and severe sinus tachycardia, changes to my echocardiagram that include leaking valves and a new murmur, low blood pressure, ataxia, untreated PFO (small hole in my heart that increases the risk of stroke), chronic lymphadema in my left arm, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Narcolepsy/Idiopathic CNS Hypersomnolance (believed to be a result of the dysautonomia and my brain's inability to regulate the sleep/wake cycle), mild hearing loss, malformed optic nerves, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pernicious anemia, vitamin deficiencies

* Title comes from an old Abbot and Costello routine that I chose to memorize in 6th grade and absolutely love.