Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Walking The Walk Is Harder Than Talking The Talk - Living With FASD

Many people with FASD can, "Talk the talk, but cannot walk the walk." 

For instance, let's say I tell Joseph he may play in his play area, but he has to stay there. He will agree, even repeat the instructions back to me, but 5 minutes later, he is out in the shop. I ask him what I told him to do. 
"You said I may play in my play area." 
"What else did I tell you?" 
"You said I have to stay there."
"So why were you in the shop?"
"Lia wanted me to get her bike."

"Who do you obey, mom or Lia?"
"I must obey you."
We go over the rules about obeying mom, he agree's to them, apologizes and .... guess what happens? You guessed it, he is soon off on another deed of kindness. Once more we go over the rules, he says them back to me, only to repeat and repeat this scene in a myriad of ways multiple times a day.

Another rule we have is, when we are away from home, he is to play quietly. Otherwise he will interrupt people to offer bits of advice that aren't relevant to the conversation. Some people smile and nod their head at his comments, others engage him which only increases his chatter, which in turn increases his dysregulation, Before we visit someone we go over the rule's, he can relay them verbatim, using the exact word's and phrases we use, but without fail, he doesn't follow through.

When we go shopping, he is to hold onto the handle of the shopping cart. I remind him, he agree's and as soon as I turn my back, he walks off to look at something that caught his attention. "I just wanted to see what it said on the cereal box!" Is his excuse when I reprimand him. "What is the rule when we are shopping?"
"I have to hold onto the cart."
"Is that what you were doing?"
"No, but I just wanted to see...."

I tell him to sit on the sofa and read his new book and seconds later he is off the sofa, looking for Kiana's book because he overheard her ask me if I know where it is. 
"What did I tell you to do...."
"You told me to stay on the sofa but, I just wanted to help Kiana and now you are scolding me for helping!"
"It is kind to help people, but it is more important to obey mom." I remind him for the umpteenth time.

Joseph does a lot of talking as I shared in this post entitled: Incessant Talking - Yammering - Excessive Verbiage. When we are driving he tends to verbalize everything he see's, which in turn triggers a memory of something he heard or saw, which reminds him of something he once did. If we don't tell him to sit quietly, he will talk nonstop, something his siblings do not appreciate! We always listen to an audio book or music, because that helps keep his mind busy and he sits quietly so as not to miss out on the story. There are times however, when he simply cannot be quiet no matter how many times we remind him to stop talking. That is when we tell him to close his mouth, look out the window and tap his hands on his knee's. That usually works. The only thing I can figure out is that it is the addition of a physical activity to the command. Again, he can talk the talk, but walking the walk is so much more difficult.

This used to look like blatant disobedience and caused both him and us no end of grief. We gave consequences for disobedience and he felt wronged because he didn't feel he had done anything to warrant the consequences. Once we understood that in order for him to be moderately successful, we needed to provide structure and support, things went better. We no longer give him a box of toys and expect him to play appropriately without getting dysregulated by the toys with lights and noise, instead we give him something like Lego's or matchbox cars. He can have fun and doesn't become so overstimulated he is unable to follow the rules we have put in place.

If you are wondering why we have so many rules, there are many reasons, but basically it boils down to a safety issue. Joseph seems to be drawn to mischief and can get into trouble or hurt himself within moments. If I know where he is, I know he is in a safe place and he won't find things which he can turn into a dangerous object. I know that just because Joseph can tell me what he is supposed to do. But even though he knows the rules, that in no way means he will be able to follow through. 

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