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  1. #11
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    I hope the specialist is able to help!

    I recently saw the special Ed teacher at ds' former preschool/current after care program putting up STOP signs to help with a child who has elopement issues. I know a lot of special needs kids are very visual. You all may have already tried this, but I though I would pass it along, especially as it is simple and cheap.

    Also, does your son have a "safe" place in the classroom he is allowed to retreat to? Maybe giving that as an alternative would help?

    Catherine

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by crl View Post
    I hope the specialist is able to help!

    I recently saw the special Ed teacher at ds' former preschool/current after care program putting up STOP signs to help with a child who has elopement issues. I know a lot of special needs kids are very visual. You all may have already tried this, but I though I would pass it along, especially as it is simple and cheap.

    Also, does your son have a "safe" place in the classroom he is allowed to retreat to? Maybe giving that as an alternative would help?

    Catherine
    STOP signs were among the first thing we tried. They put STOP signs on every door and gate. DS knows he is supposed to stop, but is choosing not to.

    There is an area set up in the classroom that is supposed to be a safe/comfort place. I'm not sure the staff is using it appropriately. Hopefully this is something the behavioral consultant can help with. Thanks for reminding me to talk to her about this.
    Gena

    DS, age 11 and always amazing

    “Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg." - Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong

  3. #13
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    Gena - has anybody done a serious analysis of what your son is running FROM and what he's running TO?

    The way I've been trained, there is no meaningful way to change this behavior until you've figured out why it's working for him. There's something inspiring the behavior. That's especially true since you've proven that he understands the rules but chooses not to follow them.

    The caregivers could probably coerce a behavior change by either just rewarding his "compliant" behavior and consequating his "non-compliance" ... but what you clearly want much more is to teach him a new skill that will generalize to settings other than school. For that, they need to come up with a more creative solution. If he's got a need to escape something about that room, he needs a legit way to get what he needs.

    Sort of OT, but I have to add: I hate, hate, HATE the term "non-compliance!!!" I train scads of staff on how to implement behavior supports and I tell them up-front that if they ever use that term in front of me, I'll engage in "non-compliant, aggressive behavior" towards them. And yep, I've followed through on that threat a couple times. (I'd do a bitch post about this pet peeve but it probably would only make sense to parents in this forum.)

    I love your term "wonderlust." May I steal it? In all seriousness - do you think he's wandering out of curiousity and wonderlust?

    Often bumbling mother to baby girl "Sprog"
    Born November, 2009

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uno-Mom View Post
    Gena - has anybody done a serious analysis of what your son is running FROM and what he's running TO?

    The way I've been trained, there is no meaningful way to change this behavior until you've figured out why it's working for him. There's something inspiring the behavior. That's especially true since you've proven that he understands the rules but chooses not to follow them.

    The caregivers could probably coerce a behavior change by either just rewarding his "compliant" behavior and consequating his "non-compliance" ... but what you clearly want much more is to teach him a new skill that will generalize to settings other than school. For that, they need to come up with a more creative solution. If he's got a need to escape something about that room, he needs a legit way to get what he needs.
    This is exactly why we have hired a behavioral specialist to do a functional behavioral analysis, develop a behavior plan, and work with the staff. Believe me, we live and breathe functional behavior techniques in our household. But I cannot be at the daycare, so I have a professional stepping in to help figure out what is going on there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uno-Mom View Post
    Sort of OT, but I have to add: I hate, hate, HATE the term "non-compliance!!!" I train scads of staff on how to implement behavior supports and I tell them up-front that if they ever use that term in front of me, I'll engage in "non-compliant, aggressive behavior" towards them. And yep, I've followed through on that threat a couple times. (I'd do a bitch post about this pet peeve but it probably would only make sense to parents in this forum.)
    Why do you hate the word "non-compliance"? I often call it definance, because a lot of times that's what it looks like to me; but I think non-compliance is a more accurate term. Defiance has such strong negative emotional connotations and implies things that don't always fit DS. "Non-compliance" is a more emotion-nuetral term that encompasses both the choice to not comply and the inability to comply. I think it's a fine word for professions to use and a much better word than I sometimes hear in daily life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uno-Mom View Post
    In all seriousness - do you think he's wandering out of curiousity and wonderlust?
    I think he's eloping for a number of reasons. He has had a recent surge of independence that has caused him to test boundaries - both physical boundaries and the limits of authority. The less structured environment of the daycare setting, overstimulation, and hyperactivity also come into play. And right now he is enjoying negative attention. In many ways he is a child with a 7 year old body going through a "terrible twos" stage.
    Last edited by Gena; 05-11-2011 at 02:32 PM. Reason: spelling
    Gena

    DS, age 11 and always amazing

    “Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg." - Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong

  5. #15
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    Is the after care just open ended play or do they also offer structured activities?

    Older DD was having trouble with the open ended free play aspect of our old after care. The new one offers a variety of structured activities (swimming, piano lessons, yoga, etc.) and that has made it easier for her.
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by egoldber View Post
    Is the after care just open ended play or do they also offer structured activities?

    Older DD was having trouble with the open ended free play aspect of our old after care. The new one offers a variety of structured activities (swimming, piano lessons, yoga, etc.) and that has made it easier for her.
    The program is loosely strucutred during the school year. There is a lot of free choice time. One of the things we have discussed is creating more sctructre for DS by giving him a personal schedule of activites to follow.

    Their summer program will be more structured.

    As an aside, DS has had a string of relatively good days there since the middle of last week. I decided to take him off Singulair and I think that medication had been contributing to his negative behavior. (Obviously it is not the sole source of his difficulties.)
    Gena

    DS, age 11 and always amazing

    “Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg." - Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong

  7. #17
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    Interesting. DD reacts to meds for asthma as well. She had terrible side effects with Pulmicort and milder ones with Singulair.

    I am really anxious to take her off her allergy meds as soon as her season is over. Counting down the days to June 1!
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

  8. #18
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    It sounds like you're really on top of it. I hope the specialist has great ideas and works well with the daycare. It must be SO stressful to be worrying about this situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gena View Post

    Why do you hate the word "non-compliance"? I often call it definance, because a lot of times that's what it looks like to me; but I think non-compliance is a more accurate term. Defiance has such strong negative emotional connotations and implies things that don't always fit DS. "Non-compliance" is a more emotion-nuetral term that encompasses both the choice to not comply and the inability to comply. I think it's a fine word for professions to use and a much better word than I sometimes hear in daily life.
    I'm sorry - when I hastily read your post last night, I misread it and thought you were saying that you, too, disliked the term! Otherwise I wouldn't have gone off on my little soap box. But since I did ... I'll explain:

    It might be (1) a regional thing, and (2) because much of my experience is working with adults, not kids, who have disabilities. At least in my region and with the adults population, that term represents some pretty painful ideas. It was used heavily in the sorts of old-school behavior plans that micro-managed folks' lives, often forcing them to do things they disliked and not showing much respect for their preferences, dreams and talents. Kind of a: "you must do what I say b/cause I am your staff and you have a disability" approach. Besides leading to a pretty crummy life for folks - it's not an effective way to change behavior for the better.

    Now...it is OBVIOUS to me that that is NOT how your specialists are using that term. And it clearly isn't how anybody is approaching your son. Like I said, it may be a regional or generational thing. And, too, I think it's different when working with kids: kids, all kids, do need to learn obedience ... because they're children. So it's a different situation than with grown-ups.

    Your point about it being a "neutral term" is interesting. I hadn't ever thought of it like that. That's a really good point.

    Anyway, wow - I really really hope you all can get this resolved for your son. Your insight about the medication seems right - on. I hope you continue to see the improvement!

    Often bumbling mother to baby girl "Sprog"
    Born November, 2009

  9. #19
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    Update #2: The behavior specialist (let's call her Mrs L) observed DS at daycare one day last week. She provided a written summary of her observations that day and then she and I talked for a while the next day. Yesterday we had the meeting with myself, Mrs L, the daycare director, and the assistant director.

    Mrs L believes that DS elopes as a form of entertainment. He does not really engage in the group activities that are going on and during "free play" he has too many options to choose from. She had a lot of great suggestions to help get DS involved in classroom activities, provide him with more structure, manage his sensory issues, and limit his choices to a smaller variety that will not overwhelm him. None of her suggestions were radical, but involve some changes in classroom management techniques including scheduling, providing visual supports, better use of positive reinforcement, sensory diet, and token economy. Many of her suggestions are things that can benefit the other kids in the group as well.

    The director and the assistant were very open to trying new techniques and I think they got a much better understanding of how to work with DS. They are going to spend the next 2 weeks getting the new strategies in place. Then Mrs L will come back and see what they need help implementing and how things are going so far and help tweak things as needed.

    I feel very hopeful that the new strategies will not only prevent DS form eloping, but will make his time at the daycare more productive and enjoyable.

    Lesson learned: If you tell a child with autism, "Go find something to do", you should not be surprised if what he finds is going to see if there is something more interesting in the parking lot.
    Gena

    DS, age 11 and always amazing

    “Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg." - Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong

  10. #20
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    I hope that the new strategies work out!
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

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