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.
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:
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?”
“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)
“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)
“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….]