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Friday, April 29, 2011

Hazing

I pity the caregivers that enter our home. They don't know it, but our older son uses them for sport. There's little more he enjoys in the world more than fresh meat.

Don't be fooled by the fact that he has little speech. And, true, he often doesn't engage in our world. He prefers his own and sees no reason to adhere to our rules of society. However, mark my words: he is NOT dumb.

New caregivers--respite, res-hab, behavioralists, etc.--come into a new home with manners. They don't come on too strong. They are nice, and their voices are so...sing-songy. He just loves that. And, he loves it even more when the workers are a little timid, unsure of whether to touch him for fear of upsetting him. He has those people right where he wants them.

The well dressed females with their clicky little heels, the nerdy bookworms with the great credentials but little field experience--he eats them for lunch.

I used to be so embarrassed by it.

A few years ago, one very mild mannered guy came into our home. Our son knew on the spot he had the upper hand with this guy. On this man's first hour in our home, our son had fully stripped three times, escaped the house twice and had urinated on anything he could. I saw the ornery smile on his face. Every move was calculated to make the man sweat.

Then there was the book smart behavioralist that came to our home to show us how to keep our son from escaping our back yard by jumping over the fence. He was a stereotypical nerd. I believe our son enjoyed that.

The behavioralist devised a plan where our son would earn a dollar store plastic toy from a reward basket any time he refrained from jumping the fence. We went to the back yard. Son began pacing. Behavioralist walked with him. Son quickened his speed. Behavioalist followed suit. Son seized opportunity to bolt and jump fence. And the chase began! Usually, I join in to help, but, I must admit, this was entertaining to watch. Over fences, through brush, back over our fence only to jump it again--oh what fun!

"Waaaiiitttt," the behavioralist was saying in a sing-songy voice. "you are losing your tooooyyyy."

Oh, dear fellow. He doesn't even know that HE has become the toy.

Sigh. What's a nonverbal kid with an active brain to do? He can't sit and have a conversation with the guy at this point. He doesn't have or even care to have what we deem to be appropriate play skills to join in a game with him. So, I guess he makes up his own. He looks at people, sizes them up and then goes in for the kill.

Yes, it is terribly rude, but he operates to his own set of standards. I do reprimand, and I do try to make him understand the weight of his actions; however, he operates in a different universe with a different perspective--and he is not yet motivated to leave it for ours.

Some people may take away a favorite stuffed animal or put a toy car out of reach to punish an action. Me? I go for the jugular-the red Dirt Devil upright. I will put that thing up on top of the fridge, thankful that I have high ceilings, and yet, he will still sit back and smile, looking very proud of himself.

Give him time out? Send him to his room? Well, social isolation is not exactly punishment to a child who has autism. Social engagement would be more of a punishment for him!

So...it's all a process.

And, I must also admit, part of me likes his spunk. Without it, I don't think I would ever have had need for the Mom Cave.

Life without a Mom Cave is just no fun. TGIF, everyone!!

1 comment:

  1. I have been a victim of his shenanigans....but I am also highly amused watching him go after the newbies, LOL

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