A house divided.

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:

This was a school morning.  One that we were late for (yet again!).  This was at least an HOUR after she had been awake.  She is in the basement in her swing.  She has the lights off,  and head phones on (you can’t see them) and she is traumatized by the chaos in her brain and in physical pain from the sensory input that she is unable to process correctly.  I took this picture because her teacher at that time kept expressing his frustration that she was late so much.   I showed him this picture and told him “I can bring her in and she can be a BODY in your room but you are kidding yourself if you think she is teachable like this.”  Then I showed him what  she looks like AFTER therapy. After I help her re-organize her brain.  Sometimes people need to see to understand.

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