Just not feeling well

Sometimes challenging behaviors occur when an individual is just not feeling well, and has no other way of expressing. Adam, a young man working in our ShoeboxTasks workshop, is not verbal; however, he communicates with some signs and is able to follow visual picture/word schedules very well.

Several weeks ago, Adam was upset when he came to work and his job coach could not figure out why.  The upset began as they approached our shop, which is unusual, because he really likes coming to work.  He responds well to the structure and, if anything, the repetitive work has a calming effect upon him. Despite our encouragement for him to begin working on packaging some of the activities, Adam did not calm down.

His job coach decided that maybe they should leave and go back to his other work location where he has a quiet room. She took out a pencil and paper and quickly drew a picture of her vehicle and also a picture of Adam in his quiet room. Once these pictures were presented to him with the message, “Go in van, have quiet time”, his tantrums stopped.  He and his job coach gathered their belongings and they were gone.

On the following day, I learned that Adam had come down with the flu. In retrospect, his upset behavior makes perfect sense, but at the time, we could only speculate on the reasons for it.

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