The Good News And The Bad News

Emma has been spitting on people – that’s the bad news.  A few days ago she spit on people while waiting in line for the chair lift.  This has been an ongoing problem.  One we have tried, with little success to eliminate by – taking away privileges, taking away favorite activities, talking to her – so far, little seems to sink in.  The act is random and seemingly without malice.  It appears she just likes the sensation and doesn’t understand the implications or how disrespectful it is to those who come under her spray.

We are hoping if we continue to diligently keep on her about it, immediately removing her from the situation, not allowing her to do the things she loves when she spits as well as wildly praising her when she does not spit, one day she’ll figure out it’s more fun when she doesn’t do it.   Yesterday there was no spitting, but there never is when we are with her.  She spits when she isn’t with us.  And perhaps that’s what she is telling us – you guys are working too much, spend more time with me.  Or maybe she just likes to spit.  I have no idea.

Yesterday I skied with Nic and Em and I will again today.  I will go into the store later in the afternoon.  To any working parent, who must manage their time – trying to maintain that tricky balance of work with time with ones children, particularly when ones child is acting out – this must sound familiar.  I know it’s certainly not unique.  With an autistic child who doesn’t seem aware of the implications of their actions, it all feels pretty daunting.

The good news is Emma is more often than not sleeping through the night and when she has woken up in the middle of the night, as she did last night, she is returning to her own room and bed without complaint after being told to do so.  Yesterday she picked up one of Nic’s toys, it’s called “Bop It!”  A gift from Joe, Emma’s therapist of almost seven years, it was a huge hit when Nic received it, though Emma has never showed any interest in it.  Yesterday Emma picked it up and started playing it.  You have to do what the voice commands.  “Bop it!” “Twist it!”  “Pull it!” and if one isn’t quick enough it says, “Oh so close!”

Emma was able to follow ten of the commands before losing.  She became distracted by the music and began bopping her head up and down to the beat of the music, forgetting to “pull it!”  When she lost, she laughed and then played again.  At the moment I am clinging to the “good news”, while doing my best to manage my concerns about her random spitting.  We will continue to monitor her behavior and immediately intervene when she spits.

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