We had therapy tonight, and some interesting things happened. First of, for the most part, everyone got along well. That’s always something worth celebrating. While it wasn’t perfect and Gavin lost his cool, he also worked through it pretty quickly.
The issue with Gavin today happened as a result of Gavin struggling to understand some basic concepts.
The kids were playing monkey in the middle with one of those soft, indoor frisbees. There is limited space to play, and in order to keep things, boundaries needed to be established. The person in the middle had to stay inside of the established lines, and the people not in the middle had to stay outside the established lines. It’s a very basic and fundamentally simple concept that everyone agreed on prior to playing.
At one point, Gavin reached over the line to catch the frisbee, violating the rules. He then tried to send Emmett into the middle because he felt that he had intercepted the frisbee and was therefore out of the middle.
Emmett of course, refused because Gavin had crossed the line to get the frisbee. Everyone witnessed him do that, and there was no denying it. Gavin chose to deny crossing the line, even though every single time he demonstrated what he did, he was crossing the line.
In Gavin’s mind, you’re only crossing the line if you cross it with your feet. That’s simply not correct, at least in regards to this particular example because the agreed-upon rules clearly stated that no part of the person could cross the line. As I said, it’s pretty simple. Trying to get Gavin to grasp the concept was an uphill battle.
He got very upset and at one point was actively looking for something to hit.
Having said that, in this particular instance, he ultimately chose not to hit anything and even practiced deep breathing. When that wasn’t enough, he removed himself and sat down on the far side of the room while he cooled off.
Those were all very positive actions he took and I praised him for making such awesome choices.
About twenty minutes prior, Gavin had become upset and went over to the steel stanchion post and hit it with his hand, as hard as he could. When I called him on that in the moment, he said he didn’t think it was a problem because he hit it instead of punching it. I explained to him that he still made aggressive, physical contact with the metal post, whether he hit it or punched it. I also explained that he could hurt his hand either way and that it’s not okay to do that.
Throughout the entire time, Gavin never totally lost it. You could see him winding up but he never totally let go. I recognize that it wasn’t easy for him to chose that path and he demonstrated that he could indeed make better choices.
We have a long way to go but he did a good job managing his anger tonight and frankly, I’m proud of him.
In this family, we do look for or expect perfection from anyone. What Gavin did tonight showed that he can control himself, at least to some extent and he can also use calming techniques without being prompted. 😊
Wow. Back off, people. How can you possibly know whether a therapist is good for someone else’s family? And to make an accusation of self interest? Don’t you KNOW how committed a therapist has to be to maintain a practice like this for years?
I’m unclear on the therapy…occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, play therapy? Because I would be interested in what the therapist thinks about Gavin’s hitting behavior. I mean not directly, just hoping there is good guidance there.
I’m also curious what Pattie thinks about the hitting. Furthermore, have you and she sat the other kids down and explained that while Gavin might look like an adult, he has the mind of a child? It seems that everyone is expecting Gavin to behave in a more mature and grown up manner than he can. Him going outside the boundary but thinking he didn’t is a very little kid way to act. To be honest you might do well to treat Gavin like one would a person with dementia; stop trying to force the behaviors or memories that you want to see and instead work within their limits. As for Becky’s question about therapy, I am also curious what it does for you all. I have asked the question before but haven’t gotten an answer. Pattie has been seeing your family for YEARS yet it seems like you are still spinning your wheels in so many ways, and to be completely honest it sometimes seems like she is less about helping your family by giving you the tools to help with your situation and more about padding her retirement account with Medicaid money.
I also wondered why they played monkey in the middle at almost every session. That is kind of a not nice game and I wondered what it has to do with therapy
I’ve wondered that one too. It’s a game designed to pit two against one and make someone feel left out or ganged up on.
The game is fine and it’s not mean. They enjoy playing it and they’re autistic and like to do the same thing over and over again. It has nothing to do with therapy but they have fun. We use the situations that arise as teaching moments.
It’s play, behavioral and cognitive therapy. She’s very, very good. Sometimes there just aren’t any fixes. All we can do is learn to better navigate life.
I know that many of the issues your family faces can’t be ‘fixed’, but does she not teach you tools to help navigate your life? I always found it curious that Pattie didn’t see it coming when Lizze left. I feel like she should have seen signs that something was wrong and not been so floored and surprised when it happened. For someone who has been seeing your family for well over a decade, she really missed the mark on that one, and from up here in the cheap seats, it seems like either she is not giving you the tools, or she does give them and you ignore them. Just my completely unsolicited 2¢.