This question seems to be answered for me by my own daughter’s behaviors over the last year or two. It wasn’t until we had a neutral party who could view her behaviors both in school, and out, that we were able to get some back up on our theory.
Here is a case in point;
Last Thursday, Nove had a meltdown at the end of the day when she couldn’t or wouldn’t complete some work before playing with her new found friend (the para teacher’s daughter). It turned into a kicking, screaming, walk down the hallway. Nove couldn’t explain to us at home what had happened until the next morning after she refused to go to school. Then, she could only explain a little bit of the issue.
So, yesterday (monday) she came home from her dad’s house with a stuffy nose and big bad cold. Now, normally, I wouldn’t attribute the cold with the meltdown since they were several days apart, but I don’t know for certain when she actually presented with the physical symptoms since she was with her dad for a few days and I didn’t see her.
But, we saw the same behaviors several times throughout the year last year and had back up from one of the case managers who was made aware of the situations. He was able to see it happen several times before school was out though none of us usually “see” it until she actually presents with a runny nose, fever, or other physical symptom.
Think about it this way, when you get a cold, you feel tired, achey, run down. You can tell someone what you feel. Kids with Autism or other special needs probably can’t. They often have verbal or communications delays or impairments, so when they feel run down, they may not be able to tell anyone what that feeling is. They may not even be aware that they don’t feel good, but only notice their frustration and anger levels are pretty low.
So, do your kids act out, melt down, or otherwize fall apart when they first begin to get sick?