Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Long Story Reasonably Short A.K.A. The Head Injury

Friday afternoon I was treating one of my fav-o-right kiddos. He’s 5 years old and the most beautiful boy you’ve ever seen. He has eyelashes and porcelain skin that all women would kill for. He’s the kind of kid you look at and know he’s going to break hearts when he’s older.

Unfortunately, he’s also one of my most severe children. He suffered severe brain injury (frontal lobe) directly after birth. He has no impulse control, frequent seizures, Autism, an unusual form of Tourrettes with ticks and vocal outbursts and on top of all of this, he was born profoundly deaf. He’s had a cochlear implant, but only recently has it aided him enough to enable some sounds to get through.

It’s not unusual to see him in a foam helmet, for his own protection, because when he’s angry (which is frequent) he’ll bash his head against any surface available to him. If he wants to leave a room and can’t get out, he’ll bash his head repeatedly against the doorknob. If he’s locked in his restraining chair and wants something you won’t give him, he’ll bash his head into the tray.
If he wants outside, he’ll bash his head against a window. You get the idea.

Poor *Greyson spends a great deal of his day locked in that chair. Mostly because he’s a danger to the other kids and his two classroom teachers have 11 other children with severe disabilities in the room. They don’t have the time, patience or resources to be one-on-one with him at all times - which is what is necessary. He is into absolutely everything before you can blink. Especially if it’s mechanical or a form of plant or flower.

*Sarah, one of his classroom teachers, had received flowers from her husband Friday for her birthday. *Greyson saw them delivered and immediately started pointing at them and signing "want". Knowing he would destroy them, we placed them on a high shelf and signed "No. Not yours. Teacher’s." He may not understand all of it, but the word "No" is well known to him. He got angry for a bit, but then calmed.

Since I was one-on-one with him, and because I can’t stand to see him in that chair, I had unlocked him from his chair and we were venturing around the room pointing to objects as I was signing and saying their names and trying to get him to mimic me. We got within sight range of the flowers and he started pointing and grunting. I signed "No" and began to pull him away to another section of the room. He lashed out and began flailing and screaming. I knew I had to get him back into his restraining chair before he harmed one of the other children, but he was refusing to walk. I lifted him in front of me and he instinctively wrapped his legs around my waist. But now, he was on level with the flowers and began pointing with a renewed vigor. I took one hand from under him and signed "No."

Needless to say, that wasn’t what he wanted to see. He began bashing his forehead into my own. I quickly shifted him to my hip, but he did not stop slamming his head into me - I’d only succeeded in directing the hits to my temple and cheek. But, I couldn’t put him down until I reached the chair - to which I traveled as quickly as possible.

I felt the headache forming before I even had the strap around his waist or the tray locked onto the chair. What I didn’t anticipate was the bruise it would leave. The left side of my face looks like my boyfriend used it as a punching bag. I’m black, purple and green from upper temple to the bottom of my cheek bone. In other words, I’m HAWT!

It wasn’t *Greyson’s fault. He was confused, upset and lacks impulse control of any kind. It was my own fault for not having a better plan of action and not having placed him in his helmet the moment the flowers were delivered and he was denied them. When he sees something he wants, even if he seems to forget about it for a bit, he continues to go after it. I like to think I’ve learned my lesson in that respect. I treated him with a newfound respect this afternoon and always had his helmet close at hand. I prefer not to injure either of us like that again.


jason said...

My goodness. Hope you're okay.

Hearing about kids like that sure puts things into perspective.

Jon said...

Damn. That has to hurt. I'm sure it's fun explaining the bruises to everyone. Maybe you should just direct them here?

Bejeweled said...

Wow. I must give you kudos. You have to be a real kind, caring and patient person to deal with severe problems like that. Go on, give yourself a hug. You deserve it!

TC said...


Burg said...

My sister is handicapped and in the same type of school.. Another boy in her class pulled another girl from her wheelchair last year and it slammed her head into the floor. He was agitated by the sounds she makes. He's a very big boy, over six feet tall, and isn't supposed to be that close to the other children. It was a scary deal..

Glad you're okay.