Alright, so a lot happened yesterday. I figured now that the dust is settling I could kinda recap what took place yesterday. Basically, Gavin began hurting himself again on Wednesday morning. In doing so, he violated his behavioral contract he agreed to on Sunday night at Akron Children’s Hospital. We returned to Akron yesterday morning as per the instructions given to us on Sunday. We spent about 8 hours being interviewed and processed. Gavin was admitted because he was a danger to himself and a danger to his younger brothers by his example.
While this is the outcome we were hoping for it’s bitter sweet. I say bitter sweet because this was a last resort and we don’t feel good about not being able to help him at home. However, he is getting the help (hopefully) he needs over the next few days. The downside here is that we still don’t really get a break because we will need to be up there pretty much everyday to meet with staff and form a plan for his return home. While Gavin is there, he goes to school and participates in group activity. He learns better ways of dealing with frustration and anger. This “may” help him to avoid hurting himself in the future. The reason I said “may” is because we aren’t entirely sure where all this aggression is coming from.
There are 2 schools of thought on the matter. The first is that Gavin has more control over these actions then we think he does. Personally, I reside in this camp. I think Gavin has a large amount of control over these behaviors. I have demonstrated in the past that he can turn it off on demand for the “right price”. You may have read my previous posts regarding Gavin and purposful meltdowns. A while back Gavin would meltdown 5 or 6 times a day. During one meltdown in particular. he went on for over an hour. Lizze was downstairs trying to help a terrified little Elliott Richard feel safe while Gavin carried on. Finally it got to a point where I just NEEDED him to stop. I had this weird feeling that he was doing this on purpose. So on whim I told him that if he stopped I would get him ice cream. It was like someone flipped a switch. He stopped dead in his tracks, stood up and said “okay” as he calmly walked out of the room. I was speechless, having never seen anything like that before. At that moment I KNEW we were being played. I spoke with his specialists about what had happened. They ALL agreed that if he was truly out of control, he wouldn’t have even heard me, let alone been able to stop on a dime, get up and calmly walk out of the room as if nothing had happened.
The second school of thought is somewhere in the middle. Gavin has more control over these things then we give him credit for but at the same time is prone to these types of outbursts. How much is outside of his control is not known. I do sometimes vacation here because at times it does appear that Gavin is trying to stop but simply can’t. These times are few and far between but they do happen.
All this information while important to know does nothing more then muddy the water. We still don’t know anything for sure and so we have no clear plan of attack. This is EXTREMELY frustrating and makes accountability VERY difficult. We can’t hold him accountable for things “outside” of his control. But what if those things really aren’t “really” outside of his control at all? What if he smart enough to know all of this and therefor uses it to his advantage. You may read this and say something like, “how could you say that about an 11 year old boy?”. All I can say is that you HAVE NOT SEEN the things that I have. Even his doctors say, “if I hadn’t seen this myself, I would NEVER believe what he is capable of”. It’s comforting to know that we don’t have to fight the uphill battle of convincing his doctors that we aren’t crazy and this stuff is actually happening. They have seen it first hand and so we are ALL on the same page.
Regardless of which school of thought you subscribe to there is one question we are all searching for the answer to. What is his motivation? That is the million dollar question that on one but Gavin has the answer to. As I have mentioned before there is concern about sociopathy, however, we are still a long way away from knowing anything for sure. My hope is that if Gavin truly has NO control over these behaviors then the help he is receiving at Akron Children’s will help him to better cope with stress, anger and frustration. Hopefully, he can find a better outlet then self-injury….
The 'tweens are tough even for kids that don't have documented issues. When I read that eleven to thirteen is the most unreasonable age, it sort of encouraged me, when I saw what was happening to my both my NT kid and my Asperger's kid. When they have Asperger's and other related stuff on top of that, well everything just comes to a head. Hormones have such a crazy effect on them emotionally. You know, maybe it is weird, but sometimes when I was that age, my mom would just shrug and say to my Dad: "She's a teenager." I would feel better-like maybe it wouldn't last forever. Maybe he will get easier to help when his body gets used to adolescence.
Ok… so I have a question about where Gavin's aggression is coming from… probably better postulated to Patti… but I'm gonna throw it out there (and you may have already asked it). COULD the aggression be his way of dealing with the things he SAW before? As in perhaps for some reason the things he witnessed happening to Lizze and the subsequent abuse afterward at various hands (not by either of you but you know what I'm stabbing at here) be bubbling up and due to his "emotional maturity" being what is – he has no better way of "coping"? I hope you are following what I am trying to spit out here…
Nikky I’m picking IP what you’re putting down. You don’t know how much I wish that to be the case. Maybe that sounds weird but it that would be something we could address. I have often wondered if that’s part of the problem. No one seems to know for sure. I have sat down and talked with him about those things but he isn’t interested in talking about it so we don’t push it. However, it may be coming from a darker place and ifthats the case there may be nothing we can do. You do raise a good point.