The Wonderful Problems.

Next week will be 90 days since my son started his anti, “sleep-seizure” medication (with a second med used with Alzheimer’s patients that was added in shortly afterward).  In that short window, I can easily say that I have seen the most rapid and pronounced growth in my son, in his life.  Part of that may be him getting older, partway through kindergarten, and progressing through EIBT (his behavioral therapy), speech and OT.  But, I feel that a huge part of it, is the result of competent, medical intervention and appropriate medication.

The MRI of the brain...

My son has a physiological (though silent) seizure disorder.  Simple as that.  I don’t know how the meds work but they are supposed to stop the seizures that are centered in the language portion of his brain.  I have been told that, after a year, when he is retested through the EEG, the seizures may be gone and he may not need the meds anymore.

And changes are happening rapidly.  The most obvious change is that he has not been grinding his teeth like he’s chewing through concrete lately.  This is a major difference.  It did not happen with the first dose of medication.  It has taken some time.  Sometimes, I will still see a little jerking in his sleep but I will jerk in a dream too.  I don’t know if that is seizure activity or not.

More importantly, he continues to improve in his response to more of what we say to him.  He is talking more.  He is saying more.  But all that wonderful goodness is not what this post is about.

This post is about the wonderful problems I am having.  Wonderful problems?  Oxymoron?  Not if you have a child with autism, whose communication and responsiveness is increasing.  We’re creeping into an area I know nothing about and I’m not sure but, dare I say it?  I think it’s called a “typical” problem.

In the strange and rapidly changing world of my son, there are some exciting and heart-melting wonderful progressions in who he is.  He is emerging.  He is blossoming.  And it is beautiful.  But within this bounty of beauty and new-ness, are problems that I did not know I’d ever have.  This is what I mean by “wonderful problems”.

In all simplicity, the problems with his renaissance are:

Cussing;

Lying; and

Intentional Disobedience.

Now, clearly this is not the kind of disobedience, cussing and lying that comes when, say, Mel Gibson is arrested…  This is 5 year old, sneaky, little boy cussing, lying, and disobedience.

Clearly, the cussing part does NOT come from me.

It comes from Daddy.

You see, T’s Daddy has always been what T’s Big Sissy would call “an instigator”.  A troublemaker, rabble rouser, or a disturber of stuff that comes out of the rear.  And therein lies the cussing problem.

When Daddy plays video games with our son, Daddy sometimes, gets excited and says, “Get that s***!” in reference to the bad guys.

Spongy little Tootles soaks it right up.  Before Christmas break, I’d heard the little guy repeat it maybe twice over a couple years.  Right at the tail end of Christmas break, he was very excited about new Wii and DS games he received as gifts and was (and is) playing a lot.  And the exact phrase has been uttered, under the correct circumstances, with the correct meaning attached.

Did I mention that he attends a private, Christian kindergarten?  One where they have Bible study during the day?  That kind of kindergarten?

No, he hasn’t said it there yet, to my knowledge, but, of course, given his tendency to get excited and blurt things out, I’m a little nervous.

To top it off, I tell him “it’s a bad word” and not to say it.  He looks me right in the eye and says it.  Smiling.  And laughing.  In fact, I even gave him a time-out (yeah Aaron*, I know) and took away the Wii when he said it.  After the time-out, I asked if he understood why he got it.  Yes, you guessed it.  He used the bad word to tell me he shouldn’t use the bad word.

So now, I’ve advanced to a good old threat to wash his mouth out with soap if I catch him using the word again.  He’s actually been contemplating this one.  I haven’t heard the word all day.  (Probably just jinxed myself!)

The second problem is one which some say ASD kids don’t have, and that is lying.  Personally, my experience has been that my son has always had the ability and did “fib” on a few rare occasions.  However, recently, his lies have increased 100 fold.  His favorite untruth is to tell me is that he does not need to use the toilet while jumping around, crossing his legs, and walking like he’s holding a monumental pee.  On average, 80 percent of the time, any question related to using the toilet yields a lie.

I’ve told him it’s a lie.  We’ve discussed lies by examples.  I’m not sure he gets it.  Here’s an example of our conversation:

“Is mommy a boy or a girl?”

“A girl.”

“So, if mommy tells you she’s a boy…”

(he cuts me off)  “Mommy is a boy!”  (Laughing)

“Is mommy a boy?”  (and, by this time, I’m regretting this example)

(Laughing) “No!”

“So, if mommy says she’s a boy…”

(Laughing still) “Mommy is LYING!”

“Do you have to go poopy?”   (He’s just gone so I assume – not)

“No.”

“So, are you telling the truth or lying?”

(whispers) “Lying” and laughs.

“No,” I say, “telling the truth.”

He repeats – “telling the truth,” while laughing.

Guess there’s a social story in my future, right?  Anyone know a good story for the subject of lying?  And for those of you with typical children and these problems, how do you handle them?

Finally, I give him a warning when he gets too excited that he will lose a toy or a game if he screams or cusses.  He will look at me and yell, “NO!”

Hmmm…  Time out?

Truly, these are really new and “good” problems.  Nevertheless, they are still “problems” that need solutions.  So, if anyone has any good advice to share, I’m all ears…

[*Aaron does not believe the time-out has any power….]

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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10 Responses to The Wonderful Problems.

  1. kcunning says:

    Oh, time-out can have massive amounts of power, if it drives the kid crazy enough. Both of mine HATE it with the passion of a thousand suns (my daughter once asked if she could get a smack on the butt instead. I declined the trade). However, when I worked in a daycare, it simply didn’t work with some kids. We had to find something else that worked. My son, now too old for time-out, once got to witness me take apart his DS with a jewelers screwdriver (he said something snarky about dinner. Never diss my dinner).

    And I totally get you about suddenly having normal-kid problems when treatments start taking. Not long after my son started talking, he started talking back. “We put him in therapy for *this*?!”

  2. Lizbeth says:

    I’m not endorsing what I did because although it did work, it instilled a fear of God in him that I didn’t realize until later and it had HUGE ramifications. In my defense, I told him this BEFORE he was diagnosed and I was DESPERATE.

    I caught ALex lying and it was a good one. Funny, I forget what it was now, but at the time it was a whopper. Like T, he was on a lying bender. It had to stop. So I sat down with him and told him all about The Boy Who Cried Wolf, BUT I changed up the story so it was about him and the towns people were myself and my husband. Bottom line–if you tell a lie, mommy and daddy may not believe you and not help you. He took it to the worst possible extreme and then became terrified, and I mean TERRIFIED, that he would get hurt, stuck, whatever and we’d look on and not help.

    Like I said, it put an overnight stop to the lying but he was attached to my hip and was scared to death for about three months.

  3. blogginglily says:

    soap?? wow.

    Sounds like awesome progress, Karen! I mean, problems notwithstanding. 🙂

  4. Lana Rush says:

    First things first – Three Cheers for Tootles! (sorry, Mama!) I secretly love it when Lily acts “typical” (even if it’s a not a good behavior) because it gives me hope that something “typical” is buried deep down inside that little body. And motivates me to keep working to “get it out”.

    Next – check out http://www.doorposts.com for something called an IF..THEN chart. I used this with my big girls and it worked wonders for them AND for me! Even if you don’t purchase a chart, it might give you some ideas for how to word and show T actions and consequences.

    Last – instead of soap, if our big girls were SUPER bad (usually speaking very ugly to each other) we made them drink something “ugly” – carrot juice. (or V8 or something we knew they wouldn’t like at all) They would’ve rather had stuff taken away or gotten a swat on the bum than drink this stuff. We only broke it out twice, only made them consume about a tablespoon but oh, the drama. Effective….. And the threat of the nasty juice lingered for weeks!

  5. These are wonderful problems. I remember when I was a teacher and there was a boy with Aspergers in the school. He was generally really quiet, but one day he acted up and got in trouble with some of the boys who had befriended him. All of the teachers and therapists who worked with him were quietly celebrating in the hall that he was acting like a normal middle school boy!

    That being said… good luck with this stuff. 🙂

  6. I am really right there with you, minus the cussing, but with similar “bad boy” stuff, and nothing I do really seems to cure it, and your conversation about lying describes me trying to teach him about any of the “typical” naughty things he does. You could try the coin jar idea I wrote about in my blog today and just use it for the cussing or the lying. I like Lana’s idea about the juice, but I know with Parker, realistically we’d never get it in his mouth. GOOD LUCK! Keep us posted!

  7. Broot says:

    Yes, my MIL always told me “if your children are being stereotypically naughty, Rejoice! They’re exhibiting normal, expected behaviour!! My sister will never do those things no matter how much my mother wishes for it.” Good luck!!

  8. Karla (Mom2MissK) says:

    My dad used to make me write lines for lying, and knowing that T likes writing about as much as Little Miss, I’m guessing this would be a big deterrent! (with the added bonus for mama of some free OT!)

    I also like Lana’s idea for visually communicating penalties. It ensures that all the rules are fairly communicated!

    Good luck and keep us posted with this one, Karen!

  9. eof737 says:

    His actions are not cause for concern… Honestly, I’d say don’t put ,much focus on the words so he can move on to new ones… It all sounds like a child asserting and learning new boundaries… No? 😉

  10. This post was so exciting!! I’m so glad you get to deal with this new set of problems!! I also loved a lot of the ideas/tips in the comments. I’m afraid I don’t have my own to add, but I can offer badly hidden giggles at T’s new antics!! 😉 Good luck with keeping a straight face!

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