Thursday, July 28, 2011

Asperger's and Child frustration

I was going to make this blog about sensory issues and getting school supplies, but something happened. It's going to have to wait for next time.

My son is showing me that he can be sneaky, but that's not the issue either. It did lead to what happened.

Last night, my son told me he felt tired and wanted to go to bed early. That's not an unreasonable request. If he's not feeling well, he should get some rest. So I said "okay" and we did all the night time things you do before you go to bed. Then I tucked him in and that was that. Well, that's what I thought anyway.

An hour or so later, my son called frantically from his bedroom and I went to see what the issue was. As it turns out, he had slipped his Nintendo DS into bed with him and now it was broken. He gets limited time with video games to keep him from sinking into them and never coming out. This isn't the first time he's pulled the 'sneak it into bed' for extra play trick either. And who didn't sneak a comic book and flashlight into bed at some point in their childhood?

He broke the DS right at the hinge because he became angry with it. It ran out of power and turned off in the middle of his game. He got angry and in that moment of child frustration he must have wrenched it in his hands to break it.

The consequences for this are clear. He gets to tell his mother what he did (this was a Christmas gift from her) and he will have to use all his allowance to replace it. This will take a long time. The Ipod and DS were already banned from being in his bed from the last sneak episode. Now they are banned from his room altogether for supervision's sake.

Generally, the rule is this: if he breaks it in anger it doesn't get replaced. That's a fine rule for most toys. But now I find myself faced with the expensive ones that have a bit of investment. I also find myself worried for him. I worry about him learning to control the spontaneous rage that we can be afflicted with at a moment of frustration. I went through the same thing at his age. It has taken me into my adult life to learn how to control it. I don't want that for him.

This impulse behavior is not uncommon in our spectrum children. The only way to deal with it is with direct consequences and to point it out specifically to our kids. We have to teach them about that specific impulse and what it means. That is the only way, by making them specifically aware of it, that they may eventually learn to control or stop it.

Are you having a similar issue with your spectrum child? Feel free to post in comments. Your email is private and you will not be spammed.


Anonymous said...

My own son is not on the spectrum but I have been working with children with many different diagnoses for seven years. The impulsive behavior your described is common in children with any type of developmental delay. The most helpful approach I have found is to bring it to their attention and let them know it is not appropriate as soon as they are old enough to understand. Then you need to give them an appropriate way to express what they are feeling. For example with the anger; it is not okay to break things but it is okay to write down how angry you are, or to draw a picture of how you are feeling.

Hope this is helpful!
-Kaylee Steiff

Thewildeman2 said...

Hi, Kaylee, you are absolutely right, that is an excellent plan of action and we do practice this as well over all. As I've communicated with families on the spectrum, this has been a problem that comes up often. So I'm really just validating and giving a place for families to know they aren't alone. I love your comment and I am glad to have it here for families to read! Thank you.