I am so happy right now, I could DANCE!!!! And I am not really a dancer...
I have been really focusing on AJ the last few days, making him a calendar and then making him a book with his "Plans". I talked to my friend Carrie, http://schoolrethunk.blogspot.com/2010/10/daily-schedule.html who learned this technique of making plans from a sensory program she had her son enrolled in. Basically, a Plan is something visual that you make for your child, that has all the steps required to do something...anything that needs to get done. It helps kids who can't necessarily keep it all in their minds or who let their emotions get in the way of their thinking. It also helps kids who need to know what is coming.
So here are a few pics from AJ's book. He decided to call it "Austin's 'Making Good Choices' Book":
Page One is a weekly schedule that says what time we are going to eat, when he gets up, what days and times he showers....'nothing' things to me, but things that have consistently caused problems for our day to day life. The morning is on the front of the page, and the afternoon and evening are on the back.
Page Two is his plan for getting up in the morning. I am sending him to bed with a little timer that has a clock on it and by his book, he knows what time to get up. Then he refers to his plan, and follows it step by step, til he gets to the end of the plan. I can't tell you how much more smoothly our mornings have been going, as we get this more firmly set into place.
There is also a plan for bedtime, and one for showers. It seems crazy to me to have to list out each little step - but hey, if it works, I am good!
We also have a consequences page and a page that (I hope) is going to help me teach him not to interrupt. We will see how it goes!
The last thing in the book is a few blank pages that I can write on with Vis-a-vis...for days like today...and hence, my reason for dancing!
This afternoon we took Sweet Girl to art and then made a quick grocery store run. Every 5 minutes I kept changing my plan for the afternoon. As time passed, AJ got more and more agitated and combative. We finally got home, and I sent them outside to play and he kept stealing anything that Jalapeno tried to play with and was basically terrorizing the back yard. I brought him in to put him in his room and he lost it. He started hitting me and screaming...all the behaviors we were seeing before we started with The Plan.
I grabbed him up and snuggled him in my lap so he could not hit me any more, and told him that I understood that he was disappointed about the changing plans but that hitting and screaming was not the way to deal with it. I had him apologize to me, which he readily did, his anger already gone. Then he and I got his book and sat down and I wrote out for him what was going to be happening for the rest of the day. I gave him the timer/clock and he very happily and calmly went down to the playroom until it was time to go get SG. Now, you must understand that in the past (as recently as Monday) an explosion like this would have lasted for 1-1 1/2 hours, with lots of consequences, time out and yelling...none of which either of us wants.
All of these happenings have really made me pay attention to my child this week. Yelling "knock it off!" from my chair in front of the computer just does not work with him (or the other kids either, to be honest), and though I am wondering how all this will look when we are in a bit more "normal life mode", seeing such quick results makes me want to stick with this, even if it is hard. I have hope again, that I will be able to take this child out in public without a scene every time we leave the van...hope!! It is a beautiful thing!
I am so thankful that God heard my cries for help and has given me tools to use that really help me to be a better mom to my child. I have hated the way I have been feeling toward him, and so appreciate this chance for a do-over! God is good...ALL the time!