Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A question...

Here's a new question for the group. Is Deklan playing me? He's an intelligent child and he basically knows right from wrong. So when he decides he wants something and he knows that I will say no - is his meltdown on purpose? Does he act out and kick and scream just to get what he wants or does he really not understand? He's very complicated.

I take my daughters to a therapist who has helped a great deal with the girls' tempers and understanding why they get so angry at times. Mostly they get mad at me for taking Deklan's side. Which I do not always do, but they don't understand that. Anyway, when we were in her office yesterday, Deklan wouldn't listen - he wanted to play with her toys and she wanted him to sit and listen to what she was telling the girls. He was so defiant. She used a restraint procedure on him. Basically she wrestled him to the floor, held his hands behind his back, and restrained his legs. It didn't hurt him at all - even though it was extremely tough to watch. In order to get up, he just had to comply with her rules. He didn't. We ended up, literally, carrying him to the car while he was kicking and screaming. She went back to session with the girls while I kept him in the car. I've never gone to the extreme she did with the restraint, but I do have to hold his hands and brace his feet to keep him from hitting and kicking me. I did this yesterday in the car too. The fit lasted the whole session - she walked the girls out to car when it was over and Deklan was still kicking and screaming. She felt the fit had nothing to do with autism. If that's the case then he's just being a brat and I have to figure out how to take care of it. If it's not the case and this is part of the autism then what do I do? The therapist (I think she's actually a psychologist) says he'll end up in trouble with the law if he keeps that up. So, again, here's my question... Is he playing me?


mommy~dearest said...

Wow. I've got a few things here. It is possible that Deklan could be manipulating you, but to what degree? Does he react that way because you said "no"? Maybe. Does it go overboard because he doesn't know how to express his frustration in a more appropriate way? Maybe. Could it be both? Maybe. I don't think it's necessarily that cut and dry.

With Jaysen, I differentiate "temper tantrums" and "meltdowns" by a couple things. If he's just having a temper tantrum, he will scream, yell, hit, say mean things, cry, etc. All the wonderful things that accompany tantrums.

A meltdown is a bit different with him. A meltdown will present with all of the above trimmings, including a red face and glazed over eyes. He will not be able to stop. His voice takes on a deeper tone, and he loses most language. He will need assistance to calm down.

Bottom lines- with my son, you can stop a tantrum, but not a meltdown. He is in control of a tantrum, but not a meltdown.

Now- I have some concerns with the psychologist! Why did she restrain Deklan? She restrained him on the floor face down? For not listening and wanting to play with toys? Sweetie, are there bunches of details missing, because this doesn't sound right to me. And I don't like that she made that comment about him ending up in trouble with the law. What the heck is that to say to a parent who's seeking help? If the "fit" had nothing to do with Autism, why did she feel the need to restrain him? Does she restrain all her kids that have tantrums? Personally, I'd find a new therapist.

Sorry if I'm overstepping, but I've been down the "road of restraints" with my son. It hits close to home.

Marshella said...

The restraint was a little concerning with me too. I've never seen her do it before. My thought is that she must do it with more aggressive patients. Did I miss anything? He wanted to ask about a toy he knew they had, I wouldn't let him until after we saw the therapist - he should have only been in with her for a few minutes to listen to some new "family" rules that I set, then he could have went back out and play in the lobby. When we went into her office he started playing with her toys. I told him he could play after we talked, he didn't actually respond, I told him to come sit down by me, he didn't respond, she told him to come sit down, he didn't respond, she pulled him over, he pulled away and went back to the toys, she asked me if I could get him to come sit down, I tried getting him to look at me and listen, pulled him by the arm, then he pulled away and started pulling away from her, she asked if I had ever tried restraint, I said no, she said ok if i try it?, I said I guess, and then she restrained him. I think that's pretty much it. Does that change your opinion? When I was holding him down in the car - because I had to and he was on his back, not his stomach, and he was trying to hit and kick. And, come to think of it, he wasn't talking to me - he was doing his sounds without opening his mouth and I was trying to calm him down. He only calmed down after the girls came out and we were trying to get him to get in his car seat to go home. He calmed down enough that he told me he wanted something to drink so we went to the pop machine in the building and got a pop. He didn't tantrum again until later in the evening for another reason - his dad took care of that, I was done for the day! Thanks for your help - I feel completely lost on this one.

mommy~dearest said...

Wow. She "restrained" him for not listening? So technically, she didn't restrain him- she used physical force to get him to move.

Restraint has its own purpose, and she is not an ethical therapist if she is using physical force on Deklan just to get him to listen to her. Stopping him from hitting and kicking is one thing, but why would she be aggressive toward him (and yes, it is an aggressive move) for just not listening? Because she wants to win the power struggle? Ugh-that makes me so angry. I would totally report her to her supervisor. That's an abuse of power.

(In your next post) I'm so glad to hear that there is another option, and someone with experience is willing to meet with you guys. I think you will notice a big difference.

Good luck!