Sunday, August 23, 2015

There Is No Spoon

Or maybe there is.

This is supposed to be happy picture right?

It isn't.

We've been trying to help Bennett's behaviors, the problematic ones, through modification.

Today we were following a schedule, it's fairly new for Bennett at home but he seems to enjoy it. I'd always believed he was OK with things more loose after working so hard all day but now I can't even remember why I thought that made sense. Maybe because of the whole "Square Peg, Round Kid" thing from a couple of blogs reluctance, common among my gender, to accept the circumstances as they were.

There were always the meltdowns since the surgery. The aggression, the scratching, the biting, the hitting, throwing, the abuse of himself, that's the worst. I never attributed them as much to the Autism as I did to the fact that almost half his brain was gone. I'm trying to find a balance, I have been all this time.

I'll tell you, there are days, like today, I don't feel like I'm cut out to be his father.

At some point today he became zeroed in on that red spoon. It became all he wanted.

We tried leading him, encouraging him toward something else. Nope. Spoon. Even when it was out of sight. Even giving him the spoon for reinforcement as an icon on that schedule that he worked for was not acceptable. He would lose it at some point during the reinforcement and I had to make the spoon gone. Meltdowns order of the day. After a while, to give him the spoon in any situation would be to reinforce all the negative behavior. Can't do that.

It was exhausting. Diversion attempts, distractions, everything, just nothing could help. Tried ibuprofen all the usual things to see if he was hurting, the this the that. Nothing helped at all. He hadn't banged his face into the iPad in a long time. He was doing that a lot today.

I was in pain already, that isn't new. But it was intensified by the stress. Splitting headache. Super neck pincher. Arms and fingers stuttering. Legs on fire. Gut in chaos. It was early yet :) Here it is after 2 AM as I write some of this and I can't find any position that doesn't feel like I'm being stabbed.

I'm scared he is headed into a cycle. He's done that before. Please, God. Not now. There's something else up with him, something I have to write about, got the news 2 days back, but that will take too long. Another post. But a cycle into behavioral upheaval is the last thing Bennett needs in his life today. I need more time to figure more stuff out.

Have to be careful. Negativity is beating the shit out of me tonight. Because today I feel like I failed him. I did fail him.

I gave him the fucking spoon. I just couldn't fight him anymore.

The entire day...lost in an instant. I reinforced all of his negative behavior with a giant cheap red spoon from the dollar store.

If I sleep tonight, I need to wake up tomorrow with fresh resolve to move past it, come up with some new ideas and...I don't know, figure out how to get him to forget about that stupid spoon.

Or integrate it in some way so it doesn't become a barrier to progress.



  1. This is so hard -- all of it. I hope you can make the time to replenish yourself.

    1. I slept badly. It's 1:15 afternoon thankfully Jen covered for me while I made up for some until around 20 minutes ago. And now. Coffee. Thanks for the concern. I am worried he's about to cycle in to something again. Hopefully I'm better prepared for it today than I was maybe a year ago.

  2. Sometimes when things like this happen in our house, it's best to write it off as a bad day and hope for a better tomorrow. Please don't think you are reinforcing negative behaviors, think of it as giving you both some peace. Rules go out the window with autism kids, sometimes peace is all that matters. Not trying to be trite, I have a son at home with issues very similar to Bennett's. Peace isn't always an option, however when it is we jump on it.

    1. I appreciate that advice, I don't find it trite. I did go to bed with the attitude of get it off my chest, say what I need to say. Today I feel OK. Worried slightly over how we manage a schedule for him if the violence escalates. My mind will start questioning stuff like "Are we making it worse by forcing this new thing into his world right now?" Second guessing games are tough.

      Tougher is not knowing what he understands. As I type this, Jen is doing a task from school with him. He goes to a private school, all ABA all the time. He is supposed to ID the letter B out of the letter A and K on a piece of paper. Printed letters. Very clear.

      Out of 10. First run through he got 5 out of 10. Second run through 2 out of 10. What does that MEAN? The next one with numbers 1,2 and 3 radically different but waitasecond...I gotta test a theory. Back in a bit.

  3. Trust yourself, your instincts and your creativity.


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