Happy Father’s Day ASDads! Hope you’re enjoying the day and loving your kids while on the autism spectrum, but getting some time for you. Definitely want to give you a shout to tell you how much you’re appreciated and remind you how much you mean to your kids and family.
Two stories this week. Both the boy and the girl had some episodes.
My son has a DVD player that he likes to watch videos on, but his favorite part is that he can start over shows by pressing a button sequence. Stop, Stop, Play starts the show over again. He will do that for hours on end. The same show, or he’ll switch to any of a dozen other shows and do the same thing. Usually this action calms him, but early this week was the opposite. I had to change out his DVD player
My son has severe OCD with his autism and it took over to the point where nothing calmed him. When I tried to impede him from starting over the show, he fought, bit, scratched, cried and just couldn’t be consoled or transitioned away. The OCD was too much.
I just couldn’t take it. Seeing him out of control, fighting me just to go through the sequence needed to start the DVD over, it was heartbreaking. Again, the helpless feelings were there.
Then there was anger. Not at the world, but that we couldn’t have a way for him to maintain his own time the way he has for the last couple years. I want to break him of that OCD target.
So I changed out the DVD player with Apple TV. Now we set it to shows on the Disney Channels that he likes—or doesn’t. He just has to get used to the different situation that’s out of his control. To his credit, he has adjusted well. He’s had very few tantrums and likes some of the shows that he’s watching. Thankfully there are very few commercials. He HATES commercials.
Don’t be afraid to change things up. Be ready for consequences, but this time, it has worked out. And I’m very thankful.
Oh you thought it was over? Nope. My daughter, whom you may remember is very high functioning, but on the low end of the autism spectrum. Her problem is behavior. Well, let’s call it what it is–attitude. OK, many 10 year old neurotypical girls have attitude problems, but Rosie’s is particular. She can’t be on the iPad too much.
She has her iPad and watches gamers play a few different games on YouTube. I didn’t know that was a thing until I heard that other kids do that, too.
Well, she has ABA a few times a week and this week, she was horribly rude to her therapist. School’s out for the summer so she had the iPad all morning and didn’t want to give it up when it was time.
During ABA I heard name-calling, screaming, “I Quit”, “NO, NO, NO” and other proclamations of defiance. The rule is she has to be a good girl in ABA to get her iPad privileges. Well she lost the iPad for two dull DAYS after that performance.
At first Rosie was devastated. She kept asking for a second chance, even though she had been on chance 34 or something.
It’s so shocking because she likes her ABA therapist. The good news is when Rosie isn’t on the iPad she finds other things to do. She paints, plays w/ her toys, her favorite is her millennium falcon airhog drone. Even better, she goes in the backyard and plays with the dog or flies her kites. She’s so much more constructive and active with her time when she doesn’t have her iPad.
That was our learning.
So this summer, my wife and I are going to severely restrict iPad time for Rosie so she’ll be more active. She loves doing all those other things, but the iPad is addictive. Once again, breaking a behavior is a key to better times.
Sometimes it’s tough being an ASDad, but the little wins are worth it. Happy Father’s Day guys!