Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Update on Caffeine

It will probably come as a surprise to some of you that even though I am decidedly not anal-retentive, I am somewhat logical when it comes to tracking data. I keep track of things to see if I can find a pattern. This is how I was able to isolate what food items trigger Master J (HFCS), how I track real estate patterns and how I figure out what behavioral modifications work and which ones are just a waste of time.

At Master J's school (and many others it seems) they have a discipline method based on flipping colored cards. Everyone starts the day on green. Acting out gets your card flipped to yellow. Continuing to act out gets your card flipped to red. Persisting after that point is generally not advised as it usually ends badly in the principal's office.

We will recall that while in the fine Nebraska school that Master J attended previously, he was on red most days. Right around 90% to be exact. And he visited the principal's office on a daily basis. Since moving to Sunshineville, he has visited the principal's office once. He still struggled, but he was on green more often than red. His break down of days looked like this in February:

Green Days - 8 = 44.44%
Yellow Days - 5 = 27.78%
Red Days - 5 = 27.78%

Total Non-Red days = 72.22%

Not bad. Certainly the majority of children are probably doing better than that. But for him, compared to his previous school, it's a bunch better.

Starting on March 8th, which was a Saturday, we've been giving Master J caffeine in the form of coffee. I give him 1/2 cup of coffee with his breakfast every day and send him in with another 1/2 cup to drink with his lunch. There are fewer days in the March breakdown because spring break took up five days of it but it's still a decent sample:

Green Days - 12 = 70.59%
Yellow Days - 2 = 11.76%
Red Days 3 = 17.65%

Total Non-Red days = 82.35%

Much improved I think. It should be noted that both yellows were in the first week of March, prior to going on the coffee regime. The three reds were all in the week directly following Spring Break. Now obviously, it's not perfect, but I don't believe it needs to be. Because it is progress. And really, it's huge progress over his previous school. In fact, if we look at Nebraska at 90% red and compare it to March's 82.35% non-red, he has almost completely switched the numbers around.

So, as unconventional as some people might find what we're doing, it seems to be helping at least somewhat. We'll see where we're at when we get to the end of April. I'm hoping it continues to improve. We'll probably really know the results some time after he finishes college (or garbage truck driving school, whatever). But for today, it seems to be going in the right direction, and that's all I hoped for when we started.