7.18.2006

Rigidity and Tantrums

I can't get over the most dramatic change Adderupp has effected in Leelo: his relatively easygoing tendencies have been replaced by a stereotypical autistic demand for routine. Sandals must be placed on his feet by first opening both straps! Mali must not take off her shoes in his presence! We cannot approach his classroom without going up the elevator, or there will be a room- and hallway-clearing tantrum!

Last night Mali had her own epic 90 minute tantrum during the wee hours. She woke up as we were just falling asleep, requesting, "Nurse? Please, Mommy?" and sounding like a three-year-old. So cute! No problem. But she wasn't satisfied with one session, or two, or six. Finally I couldn't stand the sensation of having my body pinched, squeezed, or twisted for another moment, and so rolled over. I figured she'd howl for a couple of minutes and then go to sleep. Nooooo. No amount of soothing talk or belly/back rubbing would do. Seymour finally leapt up and took her upstairs for some yogurt. When she came back down, I let her nurse again even though I'm sure she could sense how little I wanted to, and we all went to sleep.

In both Leelo's and Mali's cases, I am torn. I do not think it is helpful for any child to learn that if they scream long and hard enough, they will eventually get what they want. That is why I didn't give in to Mali until after her yogurt, and even so felt compromised. But is she old enough to be aware of the power struggle? And does this even apply to autistic kids? I need to talk with Supervisor M. Thankfully we have a team meeting this week.

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