I was talking with my mother this afternoon and she mentioned an interesting conversation she had with Gavin yesterday.
Gavin is prone to just sorta say whatever he’s thinking and out of nowhere he’ll involve someone in a conversation he’s been having in his head. Most people find themselves quite confused because Gavin assumes that they have been listening to his internal thoughts and so speaks with them as though they should know what he’s talking about. The reality is that they have no clue as to what he’s talking about.
Anyway, Gavin kinda did this to my parents yesterday.
Out of nowhere he started talking about his meltdowns. He told them that he hasn’t been having them and went on to explain why. He told mom that he’s not melting down anymore because I told him that if he did, he would lose his Teddy Bear or his favorite blanket. He doesn’t want to loose either of those things so he’s just not melting down.
To me, this is very telling. The fact that he’s choosing not to meltdown because he fears the temporary loss of a physical possession. This demonstrates an enormous amount of control.
Again, Gavin’s situation is unique in the sense that these meltdowns are a manipulative tool as apposed to overstimulation or sensory seeking.
My parents explained to him that while that’s great he’s not having the meltdowns that he needs to remember that he should not be melting down because it’s a better choice and it scared his little brothers, not just because he doesn’t want to loose a possession.
I have been having that very same, fruitless discussion with him for many years. I’ve realized that simply because Gavin is a teenager doesn’t mean that he grass that concept. In fact, Gavin’s intent for doing the right thing is always because he doesn’t want to face the music afterwards. It’s never because it’s the right thing to do. I think it’s important that we still reinforce this positive message but at the same time know it’s not likely to stick.
Once I realized what drove Gavin, it made it a bit easier to address the behavior.
I still hope that he someday understands the meaning or right and wrong and can actually use that to guide his decision making process. I would love to see Gavin upset because he hurt someone and not just because he’s being held accountable for his actions.
However, I’ll take what I can get, at least at this point.
**Thanks for reading**
-Lost and Tired
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Posted via WordPress for Android. Please forgive any typos as auto correct and I don’t see eye to eye.
Gavin's response is actually the typical thought process of young children in the initial phase of developing their self-control. Everyone at first required some kind of external motivator in order to behave a certain way. Many learn this at an early age and are able to make the motivators internal after a while (i.e., "because it's right"). Gavin sounds like he's still at the early stages and could still develop that self-control based on internal stimulation. However, there are plenty of adults that do not have disabilities that still require external motivation to do things. Stick with what's working but also provide a lot of praise and preferred stimulation that does not require anything beyond yourself or your family. Good luck!
I work in a behaviour group home for adults with Developmental diabilities and behaviors.
I have seen some interesting stuff over my time
I also work in a class with childen with autism
Here are some thoughts
Though Gavin has a certain amount of control over his behaviors. Which appears to be true by how he conducts himself. I’m sure there will also be some things he cannot control. There will be a time he needs to “let it go”. We all have an outlet. We all learn how to self regulate.
He needs to find a way to learn when he is to loose control and try to control on his own.
One of my residents “vents” in his room. He will yell many things of what he wants to do etc but has learnt stay in your room.
He is not to be scolded for doing it as its his way to control him self. Of course there are days he looses complete control and we deal with it accordingly by approved behaviour plan
Not sure what would work for Gavin but some way to learn when he is getting angry. Then a way to let it out. In a way you allow
I think I mentioned the “5 point scale before.”. You tailor it to him.
It’s great he is begining to understand some of it. But theRe will be a time he needs to “let it out”
To release the stress.
You are right — that is a very interesting conversation! He's quite a kid if he can have those conversations.
I wonder if the right time to approach him with the "it's better for the family if no one is scary and out of control" message is when he has been successful at controlling them. Then it's a congratulatory message: "Hey, you know what? You helped make our family feel more cosy this week. You did that! That's great!" kind of thing. He avoids the meltdowns to keep his stuff, but you reframe his good behavior in a way that allows him to feel really proud of what he did for his family. Then maybe he can begin to see the family as the motivation as well as the stuff.