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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bad Autism Day

I am wrung out and could really use a drink. A big drink. Special needs parenting is not for the faint of heart, some days. David has been tantruming for hours over the stupidest little things.

I'm working so hard with David to teach him how to control himself. When he flies into a rage that might lead to a meltdown, I need him to learn how to recognize when he's getting out of control. I take a tip from Disney, and I'm using their show "Special Agent Oso" to help me out. David loves the show and it's premise is great. Every episode, Oso has a special assignment - usually something like helping a kid tie their shoes or learning how to color a picture. Oso has to follow "three special steps", and they even sing a song about those three special steps that David has memorized and sung a thousand times over.

So I've started trying to drill this in when he begins screaming or throwing toys, working himself into a rage over something (which, unfortunately, is usually his sister). I say "You need to calm down and follow your three special steps", and then I make him repeat them with me:

Step 1: Stop screaming! Stop throwing things!

Step 2: Three deep breaths!

Step 3: Use your words! Why are you angry?

I think this is the most direct way to handle it, and to teach him to handle himself. Stop the bad action, take calming breaths, use words to communicate your anger instead of screaming or throwing things. It's slow going, and I'm still having to intervene more often than not, but I'm hoping eventually he'll see it as a routine, and be able to self-manage.

Until then, maybe I'd better stock up on chocolate and wine.

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