Wednesday, April 2, 2008

crash prevention

I've mentioned that Bug is going to OT (Occupational Therapy) without getting into it much. But yesterday I had a good conversation with the social worker there. I'd recoiled when they first suggested I speak with her. I felt that they must have misunderstood the issues. I also felt that speaking to her about Bug's behavior was a waste of time; I'm quite familiar with behavior modification techniques. I taught Special Education Preschool for ten years and in those ten years I worked with some doozies! I figured that the processes didn't really apply to Bug because we were here for sensory issues that are causing behavior problems, not manipulative power struggle behavior.

But, she had some great points. First, no one ever sees these outbursts but us and maybe my mom occasionally; he's a teacher's pet at school. If he can behave himself out and about then he can contain himself at home if he has the right incentive. So, go back to using time out, even if it makes him angrier at the moment and increases meltdowns for a few days or weeks. But give him the option to use the strategies we're teaching him at OT first. Second, she said that when we provide him with drums and pillows to punch we're encouraging the outward expenditure of energy. He needs energy directed inward - the deep pressure we've been learning.

So, I tried to explain to Bug what we're going to be doing around here (in addition to bracing for a series of meltdowns like we haven't seen in a while) and I found a way to depict the whole issue to him, myself and others:

He's the car. Happy when full of gas/energy. Not happy when running low on gas. Cars on the highway that run out of gas crash.
1. When he feels like he's running low, he needs to fill up. He has a repertoire of activities which are supposed to refuel him.
2. However, if he doesn't fill up on his own, and since he's driving straight toward the Mama and Daddy cars, we're going to try to prevent him from crashing by helping him refuel. We, too, have a repertoire of techniques for this.
3. If he doesn't stop to get more gas alone or with help, and therefore crashes, we will get our tow truck and remove him. By whatever means it takes.
4. When he is refueled and calm again, he can get back on the road.

Now don't you wish you could apply this to actual drivers?


  1. What a great analogy. I hope that it works for you to help him understand how to better drive. :)

  2. ACTUALLY, I wish I could just put other drivers in a Time Out.

    "HEYYYYYY...talking on a cell phone and cutting me off and almost causing an accident?!?! YOU pull over and THINK about it by yourSELF for a few minutes. Yes, you WILL be late. No, you can NOT talk on your cell phone during the time out."