I’m feeling a little better than I was a few days ago when I wrote this post. Things haven’t gotten easier, but I guess it feels better just to get it out. Colin is no longer in First Steps now that he’s three, so we aren’t seeing his developmental therapist, occupational therapist, or psychologist at our house anymore. Everything is based at his ABA school now. I think it helped me more than I realized to be able to check in with them regularly and talk about what was going on.
We’re still working on the time-out thing. So far, it’s not that it’s made his behaviors less frequent, but that I am taking the emotion out of it for myself. Last night was rough, but somehow it felt a little more manageable. He has five time-outs in four hours for hitting or kicking, but I had a plan for when he did it. Yes, my blood boiled a little when he was in time out and he got up, banged his head on the wall, flopped to his stomach, laughed, etc, but I knew he would eventually stop. He doesn’t like being excluded or ignored, so he has the motivation to comply eventually. We’re also keeping a data sheet for his school to try to see if there is some pattern to his behaviors, some common antecedent, etc. So far I don’t see much except that he has the most trouble in “free play” time (which I pretty much already knew), but we’ll keep trying.
I did get some feedback through the comments or private e-mails that I wanted to share. This especially made sense to me:
What I have learned is that rules are simply not internal for [my daughter]. She knows, she is (usually) pretty good about following them when you are in the room with her, but the minute you turn your back it as if the rule does not exist. She can be punished over and over for breaking the same rule, yet will continue to break the rule.
On a good day I am able to look at it this way. We follow some rules because we believe in them. We believe that if we run a red light it is dangerous, we believe red lights exist for a reason, thus we stop at all red lights. [On the other hand] most of us have one or two (or a hundred) streets where where we think the speed limit should be raised. On those roads we follow the speed limit only because we want to avoid a ticket. We do not feel an internal motivation to follow that speed limit. For my [daughter] ALL rules are like a road with a too low speed limit. She may follow them if you are looking, she will not follow them because she feels an internal reason to do so.
Someone also suggested that the emotional maturity may be more developed around age six. FAS kids just do things at a different pace (some people suggest imagining that a child has the maturity of s child half of his or her real age). So, I guess I look forward to six, when the problems will be different (but hopefully not more difficult).
And, I try to think about the positives – the funny, happy adorable boy that my son also is. He is not just FAS.
I will try to remember the good that goes with the bad. When he was puking from the medication, he made it into the sick bucket all but twice. He was so proud of himself: “I frew up in the basket, Mommy!” Then he wanted to dump it in the toilet himself and was proud of that accomplishment, too. When he didn’t have anything left to throw up and was dry heaving, he looked at me and said, “Mommy, it’s not workin’.” Pitiful, yes, but a little bit funny, too.
I will also try to remember just the good, like the drive to school this morning. Every time he gets in the car lately, he asks to hear Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time,” and I indulge him. He sings along and dances in his carseat. This morning was no different. Then he saw a school bus and he said, “Mommy, I’m gon rid school bus when I get bigger,” like he always does. As we got out of the car he saw two airplanes, and he was so excited to tell everyone, “I saw two airplanes up in the sky,” when we got inside.
I just need to try harder to remember those things.