Saturday, January 10, 2009

Put your hands in mine.

Okay, so my new strategy to introduce new foods to Jaysen?
Yeah, not working so far.
It seems either there is no motivation enticing enough to battle that demon, or the sucka punk outsmarts me.

We've also had some regressions-
He hasn't taken a tape to school in a couple months. We return from break, and he suddenly can't go to school without one. I semi-expected that, so I'm not freaking out, but Thursday he tried dragging his suitcase full of tapes to school. I put the kibosh on that plan and allowed him to take two with him. He conceded, but the last thing he said to me as the school bus doors shut, was "I hate you".

He also has displayed some strange behavior. Yes, stranger than usual.
Jaysen often gets frustrated- usually when he's doing something that doesn't go according to his plan, especially computer games. He gets frustrated to the point of self-harming. It's gotten to the point that he has a choice to calm down, or he has to turn the computer off.
He will sometimes choose to turn the computer off, so it reinforces my belief that he sometimes needs it to be okay to stop what he's doing.

Lately, he has been so not in control that he will be at the point of screaming, pounding his fists into his head, red-faced, and tell me he can't stop because his hands won't let him.

The first time he told me this, I was really pissed. I told him he will stop, and I turned the computer off. Meltdown.

The next time he became frustrated to that point, he was bawling, and started yelling at his hands.
"Hands! Stop!" "Stop it hands!"
He was crying so hard, and kept screaming that they wouldn't listen.
I asked if he wanted me to make his hands stop.
He said yes.
I took his hands in mine, said some mumbo jumbo, and voila! Made them stop. He took a deep breath and thanked me.
Strange yes, but everything was fine after that.

This last time, same thing, except my magical hand-stopping powers didn't work.
He stopped for a minute, then said "Oh no! They won't stop!"
I suggested he sit on them.
He did.
A few seconds later, he cried that they were lifting him up from the chair.

He tried to "stop his hands" by banging them on the corner of the desk, digging his nails into the backs of them, and biting them. Biting them!

I am at a loss.

I don't know what's going on, but I do know that frustration is something that Jaysen cannot yet control.

On another note-
Tonight, he told me "there are a million people in here" (pointing to his head).
With my most nonchalant tone of voice, I asked him who they were.
"They're all Jaysen's. There's a hundred million Jaysen's in there."
"Oh? What do they do?"
"They work all night. They work hard... day and night."
"Do they help you?"
Um... okay, as long as they're helpful, I won't freak?

I know he's trying to tell me something, maybe explain what Autism's like?
We've been discussing Autism more lately, because I eventually want Jaysen to be at the point where he will be able to effectively self-advocate.
Maybe he's starting to process our discussions?

Has anyone else ever experienced things like these?

This is me.
Not freaking out.


LAA and Family said...

Wow, what you are talking about here is amazing. It gets really interesting when your child can start telling you about what he is thinking or feeling. I think it's great when he can express these things in words rather than get all frustrated and act out or scream.

Regarding his hands, have you tried getting him to hold something in his hands when he says something about them not being able to stop.. like a squishy ball or a wad of putty or play-doh?

I'm trying to figure out the whole thing about trying new foods as well. I had to do this with my NT kids also and I just overcame that hurdle a few months ago. Negative reinforcement works wonders with them, but I don't use that on Samuel. I have tried reinforcing his efforts with sips of soda but not much else. We'll move on eventually. I'm taking all these things at a slow pace I suppose!

Sabrina said...

My guy has said some weird things similar so when I read this i was like WOW! Dominic came up to me for like a week he wanted to cut off his hands. Freaked me out because honestly I could see the kid try to cut his own hands off. He kept telling me though he wanted to see what was inside and that they hurt him, etc. It was a bit strange.

As far as his head, that's a good possibility. Hopefully he can explain more so you have some idea what's going on in there!

Mama Mara said...

Ditto. My son has said many of these things to me. To be safe, I had him evaluated by a neuropsychologist to rule out (the almost unheard-off) child-onset schizophrenia (which was, of course, ruled out). But the whole voices thing led me to put him on psychiatric medications, which have helped.

I also have seen OT techniques (deep pressure, weighted vests, etc) do remarkable things for sensory overload and self-harm behaviors.

That's what's working here. I am interested in seeing what works for you and Jaysen.

Sara said...

This might sound weird but maybe you could try gloves? (baseball ones might work for Jaysen) He could wear them when he plays the computer or video games and then he could take them off when he's done so his hands would know it was time to stop?

Bonnie said...

Hi, a little tip that your post brought to mind was tell hime when he gets frustrated to either squeeze his hands together or rub his legs (like upper, front thighs)instead of hurting himself or hitting. My sis who is the OT shared these with me and they have been helping Casey a lot as he's had some outbursts as late (hormonal?). Casey often says he hears voices in his head, but I think it's just a bunch of crap that he can't purge after too much tv or computer. Maybe Jaysen is trying to say his brain won't shut off, I know that's how Case is, but I don't have any tips on that one yet!
I agree it's good to start talking about Autism if they can understand. I unfortuantely been told my the boy himself that he is not Autistic and it's for babies! Yeshhh.....Good luck!

kia (good enough mama) said...

Oh, what a handful, for you and for Jaysen. :( MY heart is breaking for him. I don't have experience with this. Just wanted to lend support. It sure sounds like he's doing a good job of trying to help you to understand what he's going through...

Ashley's Mom said...

My Ashley has exhibited similar behavior. I've tried finding various coping techniques that will help her, but really haven't been successful. What I try to do is defuse the situation before it becomes what you describe. For instance, I limit time on an activity that might lead to frustration.

I gradually try adding more time to the specific activity in the hopes that she might defeat the frustration monster.

Things go pretty well unless there is extreme overstimulation. For example, if we have lots of folks over, I have realized her frustration threshold is going to be much lower than normal. Tiredness, hormone issues, and hunger can also lower the frustration threshold.

This parenting thing is really like detective work, isn't it?

Nicki said...

Poor Jaysen, that must be scary for him to feel that he doesn't have control over his own hands! Maybe he could try sitting on his hands when he feels like he can't control them? That way the whole rest of his body weight will be on top of his hands, and maybe he'll feel like he can stop them. Plus sitting on your hands is a deep-pressure feeling that can help kids calm down.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Sounds frustrating and scary for you and Jaysen. :( Sorry the plan for introducing new foods didn't work out -- that's a common story in our house. It's very hard to find something my son loves more than he hates food!

Jessica said...

I'm a tough mom with my kids when it comes to food. My kids aren't allowed to get down from the table until they take at least one bite of each food. We call it the no thank you bite. If they don't like it, at least they tried it. I do the same as you and gauge the reaction to the foods.
They are really into Yo Gabba Gabba and there's a song about "try it, you'll like it" and I sing that to them as they try the foods. Not sure if it will work for Jaysen, but thought I'd share.

KC's Blog said...

Poor kiddo, he must be scared to death feeling his hands won't stop. S.I.B.S. are heartbreaking to see, we had to put K.C. on Risperdal and it helps but doesn't stop the behaviors completely.
It sounds like Jaysen has alot of thoughts zooming in and out of his head, maybe he feels a bit overwhelmed?
Praying for you and Jaysen.

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

Nigel has also experienced problems with his hands and not being able to slow his brain down (which I think is what makes him feel like there are voices in his head). But he wasn't able to express these things until he was around 11 or 12, so it's good that Jaysen can tell you what he's experiencing. With the hands, it could be a fine-motor issue. Nigel has some fine motor problems, and writing manually actually makes his hand hurt, so he used an AlphaSmart keyboard when he was in elementary school. It helped a lot with his hand issues. I hope you're able to figure out something for Jaysen. We have to be so much more vigilant with our ASD kids.

Marshella said...

We've experienced some of these with Deklan, but to a smaller degree. He loves playing the computer but gets extremely frustrated too. He screams and hits his head and throws little fits. He also knows that when he gets to this point he has to either calm down or get off the computer. I've not had the hands thing though. Sorry. He has told me about the voices in his head before though. Only when he said it, it was kind of funny the way he put it. He told me he had 99 people in his head. I know I didn't help, but know that you have lots of support. I know it's been awhile, but I'm back this time and have new pics up. Visit when you can. Good luck with Jaysen.

Queenbuv3 said...

My son recently had a period of self injury that was horrifying to witness. He was biting chunks, yes, drawing blood and leaving holes in the backs of his hands, when he got frustrated or angry. Luckily, after many different methods he rarely just shakes his hand in front of his face when he gets really frustrated. And recently will start with that but then end up crying. I've heard that anger is really hurt feelings so crying is probably the more healthy response. We were bandaging his hands daily, putting fingerless leather gloves on him to protect him from himself. I even bought hoodies with thumb holes because the cuffs covered his hands and he liked wearing them. They made a social story for him at school about not biting himself. I made him a necklace that he fidgets with that seems to help. They also gave him more sensory things to do throughout the day. We would probably be able to eliminate all hand shaking if he had a way to communicate his feelings. When he gets really angry I try to get him to say,"I'm angry" and tell him I know he is angry and that its ok and try help him calm down.

When your son goes to hit himself give him the same thing every time that he can squeeze or hit to help redirect the hitting away from himself but give him the release he is looking for. It sounds like he might have enough verbal skills to be able to learn how to verbalize his feelings instead of exhibit them physically. Maybe it is some primal thing to express anger through their hands. When someone is really threatened or angry they usually hit with their hands or use their hands.

I hope you find some solutions. Good luck and God bless : )