After days of conflicting behavior reports, a great weekend, and the Worst Day Ever at George's "regular" school, I decided to corner the preschool director (who often works directly with George and is a very honest person, tells it like it is, good or bad) and get to the bottom of this mess. Why is George having so many difficulties all of a sudden? How do I balance the reports I get from the different teachers? What can I do at home to help him succeed at school?
After an hour of discussion, this is what it all comes down to: George was doing GREAT. The teachers had a GREAT support system built into his day (picture schedule board, good/rotating choices, timers to help him know how long to stay at each activity or how long he needed to wait for a toy, etc.) And again, he was doing GREAT. Then, the teachers got complacent. And stopped using the support system tools.
See, with a "normal" kid, once they understand routines and behavior requirements, you generally don't need to keep reminding them. You don't have to tell them their activity choices or rotate their choices for them, they know where they can go and what to do there. With kids like George, it's like they built a really cool playhouse on top of a bridge. A playhouse where he felt very comfortable and knew how to maneuver safely. Then they demolished the bridge. Without the visual cues and structures in place, he would race through his daily routine (that he quickly became bored of) and then run spinning through the room, looking for something new; but not knowing how to appropriately get it, do it, share it.
Add to that his still emerging verbal language abilities, and you have a big, manic toddler throwing tantrums because he doesn't know what to do or how to express his confusion. His newfound love of attention for being silly didn't help things much either!
SO, as of yesterday afternoon, picture schedules are back in place. Timers have been pulled out from cupboards. New choices to stretch his imagination and verbal skills are available.
And you know what? When I picked him up yesterday, the teachers and children were all smiling, I was flashed several thumbs up, and my boy was happy. Told ya he was just trying to tell us something! Moving on.