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Sunday, October 25, 2015

One Kid. One Task. One Strategy.

"Dad," Bubs 2 hung his head over me as I woke up the other morning. "For lunch, I want a pickle. Oh yeah, I want more chips too." He informed of his lunch menu before I even had a chance to yawn and stretch after a night's sleep.

I got up and prepared both bubs lunches for the day. I added a pickle and "more chips" to Bubs 2's lunch, because I had his little voice in my head telling me to do so.

He loves pickles and so does Bubs 1. I do too. Bubs 1 told me to get some pickles a few days earlier. I did. We did actually. On our way home from picking up Bubs 2 at his preschool, both bubs' and I discussed pickles.

We pick up Bubs 2 and strap him into the car. We head back home. "(Bubs 2)," his brother said, " Dad is bringing us to buy pickles."

 "Yeah. Yeah! That's a good idea!" exclaimed Bubs 2. "Dad, let's buy three jars of pickles," Bubs 1 told me. "Yeah! That's a gweat idea!" Bubs 2 chimed in again.

It was an uneventful car ride, which is always a good thing. Sadly, we only bought two jars of pickles.

I have said this before and I'll keep saying it again and again. Bubs 2 is a piece of cake. He has his terrible three moments, but I know that I can rein him in. Like other neurotypical kids, Bubs 2 can challenge his mom and I all day sometimes, but nothing to the extremes that his big brother goes to. 

I had a "Bubs 1 epiphany" today. Or, I should say another Bubs 1 epiphany. I have to start numbering these epiphanies, because they are almost weekly now. I also need to write them down (like on this blog), because it's hard to remember them all.

I am programmed to use the same method to solve a problem. A pretty straight forward approach. It's like following a recipe or using the old-school payphones. For the latter, just drop in a quarter and it works every time.There's no need to guess or try another way.

Bubs 1 doesn't operate like that. In staying with the payphone  metaphor, Bubs 1 sometimes takes quarters. Sometimes he only take dimes. Sometimes he only takes nickels. And sometimes he only takes pennies. He just never tells us which coin he accepting on any given task requested of him.

I recently told Bubs 1 that I'm giving him 40 seconds to get dressed. This is on the heels of multiple other failed strategies for him to get dressed. Most of the latter were met with Bubs 1 doing everything else but getting dressed. I thought of this idea from a past article, which encouraged allowing Autistic children additional time to engage a task. The article didn't say to count out loud, but I did.  I walked away from his bedroom counting so not to micromanage (although I was). 

It worked!

Although this strategy doesn't work for other tasks I want Bubs 1 to complete, it does, at least for now, seem to work for getting dressed/changed in his bedroom. I attempted to apply this same strategy so to get him started on his homework (which has always been a monumental challenge), but it backfired. Instead of jumping to his homework, he just screamed to the top of his lungs. "Dad! Stop counting me! I won't do this if you count me!"

Note to self: to get Bubs 1 dressed/changed count to 40. To get Bubs 1 to complete his homework, don't count to 40.

Well, I just ate the last pickle from the last pickle jar in the fridge. It's a quiet victory, but I will take it.

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