We had a Leo team meeting today. Me, Supervisor M, Supervisor E, Therapist V -- and Leelo, because I couldn't find anyone to watch him. Having him at our table was fine -- he was willing to do activities during the meeting's first 45 minutes as long as I kept replacing them, and let him count out and eat occasional goldfish.
I received a lot of careful and welcome reminders regarding interaction with Leo --backing off on verbal prompts for activities where the goal is independence (eating slowly, post-toileting hand washing), no verbal interaction during self-injurious behavior but, after a beat, immediate praise of praise-worthy actions, e.g., "You're sitting so nicely! Good job, Leo!"
And we talked about whether he's having his annual November behavioral spiral. He seems less engaged and more giddy, and he's been having toilet accidents at school. The stinky kind, not the wet kind. Every day this week. It's a huge, consternating surprise to us all and especially to me, because it's been so long since he's had a toileting accident of any kind on my watch that I stopped toting backup clothes or wipes. I do think it's a mostly intentional behavior, because he can hold it when needs to -- for instance, for the 30 bathroom-free I-5 miles between announcing his need to go, and reaching Coalinga. Wanting attention, wanting post-bathroom reinforcers, having trouble with transitions, a sensory layer we've not perceived fuzzing up his internal signals? I don't know if I'd feel comfortable sending him to a new school -- even for one day a week -- if he's having toileting issues.
He's having beyond-stim issues as well. They've piled up slowly, so I wasn't alarmed until Supervisor M gently pointed out the frequency of Leo's spins, his need to trace certain paths between our car and house, and his empty rather than processing based echolalia. She wants us to confer with Leo's behavioral psychiatrist. I suggested that his OCD-like behaviors might be rooted in how much he's grown over the last year while his Risperdol dosage has remained constant, but she quietly reminded me that Risperdol helps with aggressive, not patterned, behaviors.
So it looks like we might be having a November after all. So far it's a milder version than the aggression- and depression-fests of past Novembers, but a November nonetheless. Not enough of a November to derail Leelo's planned Christmas trip to his grandparents' home for the first time in four years, but enough that steps need to be taken, and the worry furrows on my forehead are deepening.