xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: Autism contradictions

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Autism contradictions

I'm currently sitting downstairs in the TV room with Child 2 and I can hear coming from the kitchen the unmistakable sound of a chair being slowly dragged across the room. This only means one thing: there's something (probably cookies) on a high shelf that Child 1 wants and he is in there bringing the chair over to it so that he can climb up and grab it. The fact that he went in there by himself without saying anything means that he knows that whatever he's going for, he's not supposed to have.

Two things go through my mind in a time like this:

1. It's 5:15, he can't have cookies, we'll be having dinner soon. If he had asked me, I would have said no, which he knows, which is why he didn't ask me. He's being sneaky and devious, in addition to eating crap right before dinner. That's bad! I should go in there and catch him in the act.

2. There are many things involved in this kind of action. First, he had to spot the cookies on the shelf, which is a few feet above his head. That shows that he's paying attention to his environment. Second, he had to realize for himself that he wasn't allowed to have them and consciously choose to not ask me for them. He's thinking, he's weighing his pros and cons, he's (correctly) predicting the probability that bringing attention to his cookie plight will mean he won't get them. Third, he figured out, for himself, that dragging the chair over to the shelf and climbing up on it will enable him to pull down the box. He figured out the steps involved in getting the cookies down from the shelf, he worked out a plan and he's carrying it through, without any assistance. I remember, in ABA, working on these problem solving skills with him. Look, the cookies are on the shelf, what do you need to do in order to get them? First, get the chair, etc. We did that kind of thing again and again when he was 3, 4 and 5, I honestly never thought he would get it. And, yet, here he is, right now, dragging a chair across the room in the kitchen, all by himself, and getting the cookies down.

I'm pretty proud of him, actually. Good work, Child 1!!! Of course, I can't tell him that so, instead, I'm going to sit here and listen to the chair and let him get his cookies, even though it's 5:15 and we're having dinner soon.

UPDATE: It was a near perfect plan, but he neglected to return the chair to its proper place. I wonder how to tell him that without actually telling him that?


Nobodyspecial said...

I'll have to admit Jill, that I am not that kind of parent. One thing I remember when having our first child was all the advice I got for free from other people who wanted to tell me all the rules about raising a child and how to do it best. And just as the old saying goes, free advice is worth every penny. After that, I always would tell new parents, friends who were about to have their first child that the only advice I could give them is to take no ones advice.
Sure... cookies close to dinner is a no,no based on the usual parent guide book on what is supposed to be bad. But screw that. I've sat and ate candy with my kid instead of dinner, I've had a beer with my son, I've walked through a head shop with my kid admiring the artistry of the bongs on display.
And you know what? When there was an opportunity for my kid to go out in the middle of the night with his friends who later got arrested... he was not among them.... So... screw everyone else. Go and celebrate that cookie grab!! Damnit Jill you both worked hard, really hard to get to the point when he could successfully steal, con and lie by omission about his intentions! I'm almost in tears with pride. When my kid was in 2nd grade he convinced the teachers that I was an abusive tyrant who would stand over him berating him while he did homework... so they exempted him from doing any...damn... that was one of my proudest moments when I was called into the school office and had to explain to 3 adults that they had just been conned by my son.... I'm getting choked up just remembering that little grifter.

Unknown said...

Considering that, most of the time, nobody ever listens to what I say around here, I have to at least maintain the illusion of control, and one rule is that you have to ask first before getting food. I'm sure that will change as they get older and I can trust them to do these things without making a huge mess. In the meantime, I can't openly celebrate his blatant violation of one of the very few rules we have here, but I can do it privately!

yvonne@attractedtoshinythings said...

I just found this. That is AWESOME!!! I'm all about celebrating the ways our kids show that they're learning. Like the time I was working with a 2 year old kiddo with CP. He looked at me and clearly said, "I'm gonna kick your ass, motherfucker." Now, Mom was mortified and tried to apologize but I excitedly said, "OMG!!! Did you HEAR that? HE USED A COMPLETE SENTENCE!!! He used adjectives, nouns, pronouns and a verb!!! WOOHOOO!" Then I high-fived the kid. That was an awesome session.

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