Monday, January 21, 2013


Disciplining a child with special needs is a challenge.  Okay, disciplining any child is a challenge!  It is hard, sometimes, to know where the lines are between what is within AJ's control and what is not.  I don't want to discipline her for things that are truly not within her control, however, I do want to be SURE to discipline those things she can control.

Next comes the communication issue.  I know that Ayden Jane has great verbal skills in a lot of ways.  Her articulation is good.  Her vocabulary is excellent.  So, why would communication be an issue?  There are a couple odd things in her communication.  First, she processes things slowly to start with, then once she is upset she basically stops processing all together and can just flip...  Secondly, she has an odd little way of telling you only things surrounding what she wants to say and expects you make the leap.  A simple example might be that she wants to wear her crocs but I start to put on her 'jump highers'.  She suddenly panics and and tells you all the reasons her jump highers aren't a good idea.  My socks will itch, miss Jen says I don't have to, the sky is falling....  At no point does she say, may I wear my Crocs?  Uggh.   I translate these things pretty well, but if you don't know where she is really going with the situation and try to say things like, I'll get your soft socks, Jen says these are the best ones ... You have now inadvertently convinced AJ that you will never allow her in the same room as her crocs and she is in a total panic.  Whew.  We are getting there.  She now settles much quicker and can repeat a good sentence with good manners asking for what she wants.  She still needs prompting, but I am hoping she can learn to use this skill on her own.  "Don't cry and tell me what you don't want.  Ask politely what you do want Mommy to do."

Now that is not exactly a behavior problem for disciplining, but you can imagine how this line of 'reasoning' works when I am actually disciplining her.

Add to that, her response to discipline can be very different.  Okay, not entirely different, however, things can escalate fast.  Hmmm.  That makes no sense.  Try this one.  I tell Ayden Jane that she needs to wear something warm because it is a cold day.  She dresses in a tank top and shorts.  With any of my other children I would simply tell them to go change.  Ayden Jane just gets it in her head that this is what she must wear today or she will in fact die.  So, to put it in perspective, I am trying to kill her because she knows that she will die if she changes clothes.  Sure, sounds funny when it is someone else's kid!

Same applies when she is doing something she shouldn't, like climbing so high that it is dangerous.  Telling her it is not a good idea or dangerous just does not compute.  She knows she is in control and invincible.  If I raise my voice or firmly say, "get down."  She will likely climb higher to prove to me that she is fine.  If I tell her we will have to go home if she does not listen and play safely she will now have a melt down at 10,000 feet.

So, how have I kept her alive this long?  You know, not let her die from changing clothes or something? I am not sure, but I know it has been exhausting.

1 comment:

  1. Dean doesn't talk as much as AJ, but I'm pretty sure I understand where he's coming from, and this is SOOOOOO very much like Dean! It's really tricky. I wonder sometimes about how it looks to my other boys or to strangers... must seem like an odd situation when I'm trying to respond to any of the situations like what you're describing.