Monday, 26 September 2011

Warning: I Take The Term 'Bite Me' More Literally Than You Meant It!

Ah yes, the literal thinker.  So many arguments I've had with Dayton, then realized mid way through that we were having two different arguments - LITERALLY.  I can't even begin to tell you the arguments Dayton has had at school with his educators, and upon having Dayton tell me his side of the story, then listening to the school's side of the story, it turns out that they too have had two different arguments.  Unfortunately for Dayton, those misunderstandings ended up becoming physical for him because of his sense of being misunderstood, bullied and not given a chance to explain his side, and therefore completely frustrated.  The only left for him to communicate in order to get anyone's attention was to use his body like a weapon.

Taking wording literally is quite common in children and adults on the autism spectrum.  Forget having autism, think of your own autistic moments...  I remember my past employer at a local college telling me:  "Lou, we're going to move pharmacy again," meaning changing the program, and of course as I was the expert in the field, he wanted my help.  Instead my response was:  "But we haven't even found a suitable spot in the building to move the program this time, and now you're saying you're going to be moving my class again?  What about the lab, the sinks, the hoods..." and then I realized what he had meant by his comment, and felt like a total moron.  Great.  His look of disapproval did not help my downward spiraling confidence as an expert at all.  Ugh!!!

Now think how difficult this is for our kiddos on the autism spectrum.  To have to live with this every day, risk being ridiculed or looking dumb.  I suppose it is easier to just not participate in school activities or become the class clown.  Or do both like my babe does.  Sure, it gets him in trouble, but the reward of getting in trouble is much nicer than his peers ridiculing him.  Poor kid.

"Dayton, stop pushing my buttons!!!"
"Buttons?  You have buttons?  Where are your buttons and how many of them do you have for me to push?"  Then he starts shoving my shirt up to see if they're on my belly, walking around me to see if they're on my back..."  "I see your belly button, what happens if I push it?"

"Dayton, I got a bone to pick with you."
"Really?  Awesome!!!  Where are the bones?  Are they human bones, animal bones...  Ooooohhhh, please tell me they're dinosaur bones!!!"

In class one day:  "Class, draw your 'sneaker.'
Dayton:  "I don't wear 'sneakers, I wear 'skater shoes.'"  Now you can see the potential of a teacher thinking he was being defiant or refusing to do work here, right?  Yup. 

Teacher:  "Dayton, did you rip that back pack?"  This incident happened two years ago...  The teacher and his aid were standing across the room from Dayton, watching him stick his finger into a back pack that already HAD a small rip in it.  When Dayton stuck his finger in it, he pulled down hard, making the rip larger.
"Yes, yes you did, I saw you do it!"
"No I didn't!!!"
The two of them were having two different arguments.  Dayton's argument being there was already a rip in the back pack, the teacher's being that he ripped it further.  Furthermore, I see no point in questioning a child if you saw he did something inappropriate.  Choose your words carefully and be literal if you want him to answer a question, and don't bother asking questions you know the answer to.  This incident resulted in Dayton pulling desks out of the way to get away from his teacher as she approached him (big no, no.  Now you're intimidating and threatening him) as well as his aid who was coming in for the kill.  Apparently the principal at that time decided to join in on restraining my babe to the floor, and another large, male teacher came in to 'help.'  The daycare owner came running to see what was happening because she heard my baby scream, and watched Dayton fight off the four school staff.  She evicted Dayton out of daycare as a result of seeing this.  Awesome!!!  You can see my frustration, can't you?

At home, playing wrestling on his playstation with his buddy...  Buddy gets mad with Dayton for beating him in a game and tells Dayton:  "BITE ME!!!"
Dayton scoots over to him, bites him, then goes back to his seat and keeps playing his game.  His buddy is crying and holding on to his arm...
"Why did you do that Dayton?"
"Ummm, because you told me to."
"Ugh!!!  You told me to bite you, so I did!"
Oh dear...  Buddy hits Dayton in the arm.  Dayton plows him one in the face.  Huge fight.  Name calling.  Buddy's sent home, Dayton's confused and his feelings are hurt.

Expressions of speech are a nightmare for most kids on the autism spectrum.  A dare from another child is never looked upon as a dare.  A dare to Dayton is to do what he's told so his "buddy" will like him.  He wants to be included and just doesn't stop and think about the consequences.  Besides, even if he did, the most important consequence for him is acceptance, not his mother's wrath.  Or the principal's.  Or the teacher's.  Know what I mean?

Consider yourselves hugged!


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