Wednesday, June 11, 2008


When push comes to shove, often the Rooster pushes and shoves. It's not something I think he has the development to control just yet, or that I can force through my own control. I am surprised to have an aggressive kid, and I'm surprised that I've learned to roll with the punches, so to speak. I understand people who say they have a zero tolerance policy for hitting, because I sort of thought I would, too. Hitting? Consequence. Consistency. Zero tolerance. Every time. Eradicate hitting. I'm a total pacifist, and I'm a teacher, and I'm from a family that hit too much when I was a kid. But that is all about me, and parenting my special needs rooster turns to be more about who the rooster is than who I am.

Once the rooster came along, so did the eventual realization that his nervous system does not work like mine, or yours, and consequences don't have a chance of chinking the ism.

Don't get me wrong; we don't allow hitting! We don't condone it or give the rooster a free pass. We don't make or take excuses. It's just that the tolerance level needs to be a tad higher up the scale than zero for a boy who doesn't always even comprehend why he's hitting, who he's hitting, or what consequences mean. Sometimes he gets lost in his fear, his panic, his frustration. Sometimes he's had it with therapies, medicines, doctors, sleeplessness, diets, ists and all.

After an excellent day in which he managed his first dentist appointment, a consultation with an herbalist, potty training, visiting the neighbor, and all the usual business of life, he got grumpy toward his sister this evening. Some pushing and mild misbehavior ensued in a struggle over toys and turn taking. I intervened, but on the gentler side, cutting him the kind of slack that seems appropriate to me in situations like that. I separated them, talked to him about his behavior, distracted him a little from what seemed like his impulse to follow his sister back out in the yard for round two.

While he took a chill on his bean bag chair, he started to talk. He said, "I have words stuck inside me. I don't know how to get them out."

Now, this is the rooster quoting a book, or "scripting" or echolalia if you want to talk on autism's terms.

But the rooster knows whereof he speaks. Sometimes he hits because he doesn't know how to find the words. Sometimes he finds the words from his memory bank full of books. So sometimes he acts out and I don't get all drill sargeant on him. I don't always know if I'm doing the right thing or not. But sometimes I do.


Niksmom said...

Oh, you do, you do!

"I have words stuck inside me. I don't know how to get them out."
I think this is the crux of so much for many of our all the sensory issues, etc. But the inability to communicate about all those other issues can just push them too far sometimes. xo

Anonymous said...

"Not getting the words out when they are desperately needed", that seems to me like that essential problem in my 14-year-old autie daughter. Whenever we need words to find a solution to a (major) problem, she clams all up and not a word gets out.

She won't obey when she's "told" to do something and she won't talk when she's asked to contribute to a solution. Any suggestions for a way out of this???

Anonymous said...

With regards to hitting, I understand this practice, this raising the tolerance level, extremely well.

You are right that you are RIGHT about this.