Yes, yes, if I remember correctly, Sherlock Holmes was NOT married. But I felt like a sleuth yesterday afternoon when confronting Ricki’s behavior, and finally figuring it out. (And of course, once I saw it, the facts where “elementary, my dear Watson!”) I feel that this is a very important post, as we often assume we understand why our children are doing things, and often we are totally wrong. [This is true of “normal” children as well, but it is even more pronounced and more important in the special-needs population, whether child or adult. They may be acting out terribly, and until you find the “trigger”, the behavior is likely to continue. Which is why the start of any good behavior plan is to take a good hard look at what is going on, and the dynamics involved.]
Ricki, after a slightly rough start to the day, had been well behaved. In the afternoon we had a check up to make at her eye surgeon, and afterwards would go to her Monday clubs if we had time. Knowing it would be a long afternoon, I not only gave Ricki a bottle of drink to take along, but also a few crackers. I knew she would be hungry before our return, and I didn’t want to end up buying something more expensive and more calorie-packed on “the way”.
The eye doctor took some time, and as we left, we realized that we had missed the time for her clubs, but I was pleased that on the whole Ricki had been well behaved. Then as we exited the building complex that the office is in, Ricki started acting really bad. She was moaning that she was HUNGRY, and asking what was for supper. She was pushing me, and talking almost in a scream.
I was committed not to raise my voice, soI sat down on the nearest bench and informed Ricki that we were not budging from there until she started talking civilly. I gave her most of the crackers I had packed for myself, and she grudgingly ate them, but still was sulking and trying her best to pick a fight. She was almost screaming “WHAT is for supper?”, and my answer was not being listened to, never mind any dream of it being accepted. Finally she quieted down a bit, and we started walking in the direction of the bus stop, about a ten minute’s distance away. As we walked, she kept mumbling about how heavy her bag was. I finally said, “Look Ricki, I’ve told you not to take trinkets to club; your bus card and a bottle of drink are enough!”
“Drink!” Ricki exclaimed with an “eureka” tone, and she dug into her bag to extract the bottle of ice water we had packed. She had been thirsty, and as people are wont to do, she had misread the body’s cry for fluids as hunger. After that she was fine, and she even shared the music on my MP3 player with me (one earphone for each of us...) as she sat next to me most of the bus ride home.
Unfortunately what can not be undone was the terrible impression she made on passersby for her 15 minute tantrum. (I noticed a LOT of scowls....). She wasn’t a very good advertisement for “Down syndrome”, to say the least.......