Monday 12 March 2012

Irritability Explained and the Language Barrier

Alex has been irritable for the last week, having a lot of trouble settling down, following directions and managing his chores and work.  He’s been very whiny and aggressive.  We go through periodic phases like this and while we usually have theories on what’s causing it, often we don’t know.  In this case we wondered if it was anticipation of the schedule disruption of March Break or concern about changing to a new school.  It could be the change in weather.  It could be something we can’t detect, like a headache or stomachache.  It could be lack of sleep.  It could be some sensory trigger which we don’t notice, like a light buzzing or the furnace ticking.  You get the idea.  There are always a ton of possibilities and most of them we can’t do anything about.

In this case, further symptoms have granted illumination.  This weekend he started running a fever.  Which means the difficulties of the last few days were probably the start of him getting sick.  You can’t rule out the other problems but it adds a little more certainty to the myriad of possibilities.  Hopefully his mood and compliance will improve as he starts to feel better.  At this point, he's reached the difficult stage in recovery when he feels better enough to be aware how miserable he is.  We had a lot of acting out while we were at the doctor's but they were able to confirm this is likely just an infection and not something which needs antibiotics.

We've also noticed that the last of his baby teeth has loosened.  Loose teeth have consistently brought on bad behaviour.  With Alex's oral sensitivities, I imagine it would feel horrible, like your whole mouth falling apart.  Again, hopefully knowing that will give us half the battle.

On another unrelated noted, I discovered Nathan’s closest friends from this year will be switching to French Immersion next year.  Since Nathan already has some speech and auditory challenges, we decided against putting him into the program.  He’ll do better only having one language to deal with.  But it means now he’ll be separated from his friends.

I’m fairly confident he’ll make new friends.  He made these friends fairly quickly after all.  The challenge is that once he’s got a friend or two, he stops looking for more.  And he can get quite jealous and possessive of his friends since he gets anxious about being left alone.  We’ll have to work on continuing to expand his playgroup so he doesn’t get so nervous.  And he’ll still get to see his old friends on the playground and we can do playdates together.  But it’s not the same as having them in the class.

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