Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The "Too Much" Problem

Last Friday, X-man had a hard OT appointment. He couldn't be motivated to do anything. He got up and left the table. He whined. He bitched. He was an all over hot mess. I know that our OT has worked with many, many kids with different learning disabilities and developmental disabilities, so she's worked with all kinds of kids. But my kid was stubborn and rude and really, it was all I could do not to blow up at him. She was calm and encouraging but firm. But it was frustrating for everyone.

After she left, I was ready to take everything in the world away from him for being so awful. I sent him to his room so that I could sit down and think about how to get through to him that we all understand that fine motor skills are hard for him. But being an obstinate jackass just makes things worse.

MacTroll and I called him down and we talked to him about his behavior. Of course, there were lots of promises not to be disrespectful and about how sorry he was and about how he just got so angry about having to constantly be reminded to start his letters from the top and to bump lines and that he hates that  he never seems to naturally do it right.

And then instead of hearing that we were taking electronics away, he heard me say, "Well, now you get to do more fine motor skills every day."

This was not what he had thought was going to happen. If it's too hard to sit in a chair after school and do one more hour of pretty fun stuff (she has games and sensory items and made-for-X-man writing sheets) to work on something he needs help with, then apparently, we need to do more, so that it comes easier to him when he's doing it with her on Fridays.

We're on day 3 of that plan, and so far it's going okay. MacTroll and I made a list of two weeks of fine motor activities for him. And then, depending what kind of homework he's doing, we grab something off the list that is different.

For example, yesterday he came home and had to cut triangles for homework and do some math facts with them. Then he had to write his spelling words. So it would have been too much to give him more writing or cutting to do. So instead, I pulled out a 211 piece Star Wars puzzle and sat with him and talked Star Wars with him. This was more like playing with Mom than doing fine motor skills (Ms. K has her own Star Wars puzzle that she brought for him to play with once).

Today, we'll do his spelling words using Bananagram letter pieces, he'll write his math homework and then we're going to cut out pictures in magazines for a collage project. I bought 7 10x10" canvases for us to use. He's got stacks of children's magazines, so I thought we'd collage a bit to take art to the new house whenever we move. And then we could recycle the rest of the magazines.

There's a fine line that we're walking here about how to get him the services he needs without overwhelming him and making him happy. At the same time, I'm hoping that he's understanding that we're not doing all of this to torture him, but how important being able to do things like twist open a cap on a water bottle (without using your teeth) and tie your shoes and those kinds of things are. I think he's afraid he'll never be able to do them. And sometimes, in our rush to get from place to place, he hands me the bottle and uses "Please" and I instantly do it for him. It's easier. It doesn't start any fights or whining. But then on the other hand, it helps continue a problem.

Sometimes you just have to pick your battles.

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