Thursday, December 18, 2008

School Vacation Week and Anticipating a Problem

Do any of you have trouble motivating your child to do things other than laying around the house in their pjs, watching too much TV and eating waaaaaaaay too much for their own good. If this is your kid (too) please tell me some of your strategies in getting them to get showered, brush their teeth and get dressed… and leave the bloody hell house…

We already use a social story but it’s the dragging and pulling and “working her” for hours that is the problem. The star reward system doesn’t work in our house…it only works at school where it’s extremely structured.

Then if we do eventually get Meghan out and drive to our destination, she won’t get out of the car—she’ll stay put if she doesn’t want to go in. She’s what you call stubborn, determined and sometimes even ((scary as hell.))

For instance, next week we have two events that we have to attend. One is my birthday lunch that I am inviting my family to enjoy with me at one of my favorite restaurants. The very last time we were there, Meghan scared the waitress, I won’t tell you what she did because it was kinda gross and very hard to write… but all of the food that the waitress was holding on her tray went crashing to the floor. Then she threw her coke in my father’s lap for no reason and then she tries to dirty her hands—anyway she can with food—so that I have to take her to the ladies room (for the 5th time) and that’s even scarier because she likes to clog up the toilets and make a flood—really, I will be in the same stall with her and be fighting her off from the toilet paper—people must think we’re nuts… At some point I just motion the bartender for a martini... and just start drinking the hard stuff.

And Christmas day we go to my parents’ house for dinner. If Meghan doesn’t want to stay there or is all done with the visit and we are not, then this clever girl starts breaking all things that are glass, porcelain, even china throughout the house. Last year, she starting plucking the glass ornaments from my parents’ Christmas tree and smashing them on the floor—how’s that for an attention getter? She’ll even go into the bathroom and unscrew the light bulbs and smash…I certainly don’t want to have to leave after her behavioral performances, to show Meghan that this tactic of hers will not work, but I can’t have her breaking things.

Do we sound dysfunctional? And I really have to say that moments like these really do make me appreciate my son, because he is so easy in comparison and I am really lucky and glad to have him.

I know this is a tough one, but any ideas to help make this week’s school vacation not so hard, loooooog and martini-drinking worthy?


Em said...

Well, we do have trouble getting him to do things, go places, get out of his pj's. Fortunately, when we do get him there we aren't faced with destructive behaviors. Those haven't cropped up in other places for quite a few years. But he can certainly be sullen and angry and argumentative and suck the life out of any event.

What is out trick for getting him to go? Just telling him he has to and there is no computer use until we return. He loves using the computer. So he'll go...but it ain't pretty.

And I don't love martinis. But I do love me some Sam Adams.

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

Holly, you are far braver than I. When Nigel was like that, I just wouldn't take him anywhere unless I absolutely had to, because it was so hard to deal with. You amaze me for attempting it with Meghan. The only thing I can suggest that worked for us was the portable DVD player. I would take that to people's homes with his DVDs and he focused on that for a while. It's so hard to be isolated because of our children's behavior. I hope you're able to find something that helps, at least for a little while. I'm pulling for you!

Holly Nappi Collins said...

I think that's a good idea, a portable dvd. We actually dont have a portable one, but I will buy her one for xmas. Thanks for the ideas...and as Em says, i will sucked down some Sam Adams too!! ;)

Christina said...

I can relate. Only when my boy doesn't want to be somewhere, it's an all out free-for all. Anything within his reach gets tossed against a wall as hard as it can. He hasn't yet figured out glass can shatter -- mostly because there is NONE around our house for just that reason -- but I can imagine the day that he does!

We do what Tanya said. DVD player all the way. We have one in the car too, so if we need to remove him from his environment (and then calms down in the car), he can watch in there.

Sometimes all the people and the expectations are just too much.

autismfamily said...

I would wait to do the birthday dinner when Meghan was back at school. She is sending signals on not being comfortable in these surroundings and I would not endure it or put either of my kids through it.

Can your parents come over for dinner instead of going there?

Over the years I have heard of people trying to force an autistic child into our world instead of trying to be in their world.

the holidays are for everyone and some give and take might be necessary.

For us it is just another day where my kids can be comfortable in their own element instead of pressure and high expectations.

You need to adapt lifestyle to accommodate the child with autism.