Sunday, January 24, 2010

AS and Wii

My son tends to get frustrated with computer games. He has gotten angry and frustrated with Webkinz games, but now it's gotten even worse with the Wii. Sometimes he makes Miis using instructions from the Internet, and this can take a while and it's very calm. But when he's playing several kinds of games (the Wii Carnival games are his bete noire now), he gets increasingly frustrated. It's even worse when he's playing with his (older) sister and loses. So, for the second time in about 2 weeks, I just unplugged the Wii and took it away. He's in his room getting some control over himself.

He's been having a lot of trouble all week. In school, he's had trouble with two auxiliary teachers (phys ed and library). He normally thrives in library, but this week he crawled under a table and was making the other kids laugh and couldn't stop what he was doing when rebuked. I'm not sure what's going on in phys ed, but he has had negative comments on his report card before (doesn't listen, doesn't take turns). The thing I hate about AS is that I don't have a frickin' clue what to do. I sense that there is some sort of sensory overload issue happening both in phys ed and with the Wii. At the library, I am clueless. His teacher said he seemed to be getting something positive out of making the other kids laugh, and he couldn't extricate himself from that loop.

On Wednesday evening, my husband and I went to a panel discussion sponsored by AANE. The panel featured a neuro/behavioral pediatrician, an educational lawyer/special ed advocate, a social worker with the Groden Center, and a school psychologist. It was all very interesting, but I find myself just needing to know What To Do. I don't have enough of a toolbox. I feel the way I did when E was diagnoses with asthma. It took over a year for us to be able to manage his asthma effectively.

I think this week's problems may be related to one or more of these factors:
1. He's not getting enough sleep. We are having a lot of trouble getting these kids to bed early. This is partially due to our own hours. We don't eat dinner till 6 or 7, and then the kids want some play time after dinner.
2. He's eating poorly at school and at home. He has been eating hot lunch at school, but on days he doesn't have hot lunch, he insists on eating Lunchables. He won't eat anything else, and I'm about 70% sure he doesn't eat the actual meat and cheese in the Lunchable, only the jello and cookie. We have always had a lot of trouble with managing the kids' food intake. Furthermore, it is nearly impossible to get E to ask for some specific food. He says "I'm hungry" and will never ask for a specific food. It drives us insane, but it seems to be part of some sort of communication issue. He is indirect about just about everything.
3. The Wii. Sensory overload can lead to all sorts of emotional imbalances.

We've been seeing Dr. Lovecky, but I think I need to be more forthcoming or direct about what I feel like we need. I need him to be able to ask for what he wants, directly. I need for him to be able to eat yogurt at school (he refuses; he will eat yogurt at home, but not at school). I need for him to be able to control his frustration when he's playing Wii. I need for him to be able to do his evening bedtime routine without too much prompting. I need him to not let his sister provoke him into getting mad.

And I'd like to be able to walk into the school, run into his teacher, and not have to hear about the latest problems. :(


Amy P said...

C is pretty good on the Wii either by herself or playing the Star Wars Lego game with her dad, but she is very critical of her younger brother when he plays the Star Wars game with her. I'm not sure they can play that game together, although they alternate the Wii fit games pretty amicably.

I mentally refer to D as Mr. Sensitive and I don't like seeing his feelings trampled over. C is equally effusive about saying "I love you!" and we are trying to get her to grasp that if you say something unkind to someone, they keep on remembering it, even after you have moved on. One heartfelt "I love you!" doesn't cancel out an "I hate you!"

"And I'd like to be able to walk into the school, run into his teacher, and not have to hear about the latest problems. :("

Oooo. Mommies need positive reinforcement, too.

Anonymous said...

"He says "I'm hungry" and will never ask for a specific food. It drives us insane . . . ."

I have a neurotypical kid who does the exact same thing about food. It drives us insane, too, and we haven't figured out what to do about it either. I used to think that he did it so that we would offer him cookies and ice cream, but I now think it's a real issue with his internal query of his own desires. He really doesn't know what he wants.

Letting him look in the fridge/pantry by himself is helping. Listing options didn't help that much.

(and, I know that YMMV, but that would be true anyway, no? Which kid is "typical", after all)


Lilian said...

In a previous comment I gave you a link to Aliki's blog. I just thought I'd share with you that her son won't eat anything but plain white bread at school. And this when he has a "good day." The worst part is that L doesn't eat much better at home either. It's a constant struggle for Aliki. Oh, and several people who read her blog and comment also have children with Asperger's. I think she has links in he sidebar too.