Yesterdays meeting with Devlin’s speech therapist went well. We’re designing a new communication binder with new board maker symbols that will expand on his communication abilities and hopefully open him up to sharing more of his thoughts as well as his needs. So far we have really been focusing on the later and while I appreciate how important it is for Dev to be able to ask for drinks, to play with certain toys and to move from the living room to his bedroom, I’ll really enjoying him being able to say if he likes something or if he finds something gross or silly. He’ll also finally be able to share negative thoughts such as ‘I don’t like that’ as well as thoughts that are positive like ‘I love you’ which he’s never had the option for before.
His new binder will be a lot thicker than the one he has now, but I’m hoping that this will encourage him to use the binder to communicate more. Right now he does it occasionally and he uses his vocal cords to display his displeasure with something, meaning that he screams and cries when he doesn’t like something and while it’s a healthy and easy way for him to let me know he’s not happy with something, it doesn’t get across exactly what he’s displeased with and he is very loud and disruptive and hard to calm down when he gets like that.
He screams a lot at school and he’s very disruptive when he behaves that way. He doesn’t do it very often at home, mostly because at home it’s not as structured as school. He’s got more freedom to choose what he wants to do and he’s not stuck to a rigid schedule like at school. At home he can say ‘I want to paint’ and he gets to most of them time. At school he’ll say ‘I want to paint’ but if it’s during gym class or reading time then he has to wait until free time or art class and that’s when he screams.
I make him wait for some tasks at home and he doesn’t scream here, although on Sunday he had a little temper tantrum and I’m not sure why. I tried playing with him, reading to him, I put his favorite show on TV. Nothing made him happy. I put him on the floor in his bedroom and he kicked the door shut and continued to scream.
I picked him up and tried to feed him and give him a drink and when that didn’t cheer him up I put him on the floor in the living room and he quieted down, but only long enough to wriggle his way into the bedroom where he kicked the door shut and proceeded to throw a fit and scream. I ignored him, I told him when he was done screaming I’d be back to talk to him. He screamed for about 5 minutes and then he stopped which is when I grabbed him and held him on my lap and read to him. He was quiet after that.
It’s hard to just leave him to cry like that. It takes all my strength to not rush in and try to console him, but I’d already played that game with him and now he was just being miserable.
I realize that he’s special needs and the temptation to coddle him and treat him with kid gloves is very hard to resist, but the thing is, if Sean or Ceilidh had acted like that I’d have done the same exact thing. I wasn’t neglecting him, I was keeping tabs on him and making sure he was safe.
I think it’s important for Devlin to learn that he can’t always get what he wants, otherwise he’ll always expect to get everything he wants when he wants it and how he wants it, and I don’t think that’s doing any good for him.