This morning was rough. I think I mentioned it in a previous post, but Kyan is in a rough patch. He hits people. DRIVES ME CRAZY! we have been working on this for over 8 months with basically no progress. It is so FRUSTRATING! He hits kids at church. He hits me, Brandon, Kynsie and Braylen. Last week, he hit a customer's child. And what can I do? I CAN NOT prevent it. Nothing deters the behavior. So I am forever trying to be within arm's reach if other kids are around so I can step in and intercept the hit. I SO wish a spanking or time out was the answer. My life would have gotten a lot easier months ago.
Thankfully, Kyan's teacher has come over a couple of times after school to help us implement a system at home that should help reduce his stress. It is her belief, (and now mine) that much of his problem is that he thrives in school because it is very well-structured and scheduled. When he gets home, having 2 siblings and no physical schedule to follow makes life a bit harder to deal with. He doesn't know what comes next, and that makes him anxious and more likely to lash out over little things. Plus at school there are 5 adults to 6 kids, much better odds than at home. Kyan also has a hard time self-soothing and can't regroup when he gets upset. So we have to find ways to give him language to use, guidance to cool down before he snaps, and structure.
To give you a 'for example' if you tell him that you are going somewhere, you need to be ready to go that instant. Not in 5 minutes. If you back up and say "oops! we have to put on shoes first", he LOSES HIS MIND, and then can't regroup. So we are trying to implement a picture schedule, kind of like a day planner for kids.
Here's a few pics to show you how it works. I will try to post our actual schedule once we get all of the parts completed.
In the first picture, under 'our schedule' in this picture there are little white squares that have 'icons'.They are pictures that symbolize something to the child. For home, there is a house. For take a bath a child in the bath time. For eat there is someone eating. Go to school is a school building. For No School Today there is the same school with a line drawn through it like a no smoking symbol.
Kyan's teacher laminated a folder for us to use as our board and I have attached velcro to it, and she printed and laminated lots of icons. The ones we have are working nicely and the kids all like the schedule system.
We have found that we need some more icons and we need pictures of me, Brandon, Barbara, Patty, and Yolanda. We are fortunate to have our schedules worked out so that the kiddos nap in their beds every day, but caretakers revolve. So, we need a clear way to let Kyan (and Kynsie) understand who comes when. By doing this, it helps them understand more clearly what comes next and reduces stress and anxiety and hopefully in turn will reduce the hitting and tantruming. Evidently Kyan's frustration threshold is extremely low, and once he gets frustrated, he gets into a tailspin. His teacher says, and I believe that language is the first thing to go when he gets wound up. Even though he gets the meaning of certain words when he is calm, that DOES NOT mean he understands when he is over-the-top upset. So the picture cuts through that frustration and helps him get the message. In short, it overcomes the language glitch caused by frustration.
I am out of options because everything I have tried has not worked, so I am diving into this schedule thing head first. Some days I feel like a need a special degree for being a parent to a child with Autism. Honestly, today I felt a bit of despair. We jump one hurdle and new one appears on the horizon. I feel like a hamster on a wheel. Always running, but getting no where.
In addition to the new schedule implementation, I (and hopefully Brandon) will be attending a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) conference in April. This is run by doctors and scientists who specialize in biomedical treatments for children with autism. I am REALLY excited because Dr. Kenneth Bock M.D. will be speaking there. This conference is the place to be if you have a child with Autism. Super informative! The downside is that it is not cheap, but I want to give some nice Kudos to a program of theirs. It's called Angel Fund money. I am so excited because Brandon and I are being given Angel Fund money which greatly reduces the cost of the conference. Ours is being sponsored by: