Thursday, July 9, 2009

#13 Changes in Behavior

Out of the blue, Jack has begun pitching fits, screaming at his brother, and refusing to cooperate. He's always been pretty sweet and benign, even in protest, so this change is dramatic. At the pool yesterday, a little girl touched his toy fish and he screamed at her "Those are MINE!" I intervened and made him apologize to her, but soon after we had to leave the pool early (with much screaming and crying) because he kept yelling at his brother, who really wasn't being offensive at all.

Jack is basically acting like a three-year-old wrapped in a six-year-old body.

Tthe little girl at the pool who touched the fish thought they were hers because she has, it turns out, the exact same fish. Nick collected our fish while I got Jack, screaming in protest, out of the pool and ready to leave, and the little girl, who was probably three, walked over and started pulling our fish out of the bucket. I said to her (kindly!) that they were our fish and we needed to leave but she could play with them next time.

Her mother walked over, and said, "We have seven fish, and they are missing." She had to speak loudly because Jack, standing next to us, was SCREAMING "I want to stay!" over and over in a high-pitched, panicked voice. I said, "We have seven fish, too, and I'm pretty sure these are they. How odd." She picked up and examined our fish closely, one at at a time, and gave off body language that indicated she thought I was lying and trying to steal her $2 drugstore fish from under her nose.

I left Jack standing at our table refusing to put his shoes on and screaming, and started looking for the other fish (they are brightly colored and easy to spot at the bottom of the pool). The lady went over to her pile of pool stuff and finally yelled out, "I found ours!" in a tone which indicated we were off the hook this time but she'd keep her eye on us. No apology, no kindness, no sympathy, no nothin'. Jack was still screaming, I made him put on his shoes, and we left.


I hope consistent, firm discipline takes care of this in short order, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure of ANYTHING where Jack is concerned, as I'm sure many of you can understand all too well!

Have you experienced these sudden changes in temperament and behavior? How did you handle them? Did they respond to discipline? What sort of discipline did you use?


Carrie Wehmeyer said...

The older Spencer gets, the more he responds to our discipline. We use the same techniques with him as the other kids, with the addition of beating a quick retreat from public places when he starts to freak out. He is eleven now, so you've got plenty of time to experiment. LOL.

PS You got off easy with the fish lady. People often look at us like we "won't control our kids". It's as if they think our kids are acting as crazy as they do by choice, theirs or ours. We don't even go to the Children's Museum any more because there are too many snooty soccer moms there.

Penny's teacher turned us in to CPS twice because Penny's fingernails were too long for her taste and because Penny would scream all the time at school.

JoLynn said...

We have changes every now and then. They are usually tied to a growth spurt of some sort... odd! Just another "one step forward, two steps back" part of autism, I guess.

We have to give Max "hold me down" time outs. Sometimes he asks for them! I think, when he has an all-out meltdown, he craves the feeling of physical pressure. We, of course, do not smother him or hurt him. We simply must restrain him. We do not want him to hurt himself or others, and we cannot allow him to think being destructive of things in the house (flipping over chairs, pulling photos off the wall and throwing them, throwing drinks and plates and utensils from the table) is acceptable behavior. So sometimes seclusion and pressure are our only choices. He will not stay in your typical "time out"... unless I wanted to add a padded room to my house...