Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pavlov's Parents Subtitle:Can She Really Grow Up?

I started writing this a week or two ago and a news article caught my ear this morning about fish and inspired me to finish. It seems that they have taught sea bass to respond to a bell that was used whenever they were fed that is used to get them to 'net' themselves later in life when they are ready to be 'harvested'. Personally it sounds like a Twilight Zone episode to me (Nemo, wait! 'To Serve Bass', it's a COOKBOOK). Anyway, Pavlov has also been figuring in our household.

Susan Senator got me inadvertently thinking about a topic that is beginning to bubble to the surface at our house of late. She commented about being uncomfortable about being an authority figure. I subconsciously misread it and brought myself to realization that we (me and Linda) are uncomfortable about being athoriTATive towards the girls, particularly Livie. We have worked so hard for her to begin to put demands on us that we have almost forgotten what it is to put demands on her.

It probably started when we began the potty journey in November, sorry to disappoint, we're only training Liv for now; we realized if we did both at once we wouldn't have time to 'go' ourselves. We're really not putting the demand that SHE initiate it, we just set a timer and take her when the bell goes off, hoping that we don't initiate some kind of cruel comic Pavlovian irony. She will play the 'cripple' with us though, having us guide her to the bathroom and wait around, helping her with her clothes. We found out a month ago, she had been going into the bathroom at school on her own, when the bell would sound, and get herself reasonably together afterwards and come back out. "GREAT! I mean, WHAT?" was my wife's reaction. She's been playing us! Why work hard when the butler and maid are there? Same think at speech therapy, lots of word sounds, she's a hard worker when you push her a little. We just still have that 'china doll' mentality when it comes to our breakable little girl; ANY indication to what she wants and we give in.

I also thing she's got on some kind of Pavlov-ian leash as well. She will open and close the fridge, not necessarily to get juice or cupcakes; but to have a parent come a runnin'. Opening and closing a closet door or turning on and off a light switch are certainly a stim, but the added benefit is someone pays attention. She and we just have to train each other what the other really wants and how top properly get and give attention.

I think we're turning a corner now though. She's now putting on her own clothes, especially if she's taking them off. Again, she's doing it at school; but when she's home, she sticks her foot out for us to put on the sock. Now picking up toys she drops will be the norm. Kicking anything (or anyone), now dealt with: before---ignored; after---time out. Practically speaking, we don't have time to baby her anymore. Emotionally, it's at once melancholy to have her grow up and YEEE HAW... she's progressing.


jen said...

I have several friends who are parents of children with autism and know how hard it is to get insurance coverage for ABA therapy. I am also an attorney and believe that private insurance companies should cover ABA therapy. Have you submitted claims for coverage for ABA therapy? If so, what was the result and if denied, did you appeal?


Here's a good read from the Autism Speaks Board about ABA coverage in NJ (JoeNLiz are my HEROES;))