Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons


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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Perseveration

Griffin has just come up to me and showed me the number 100 that he put together with his blocks. It is nice that he has progressed to the point of understanding that numbers can go into a different order other than just 1 - 10. The fact that he has put a 1 together with two zeros is a good sign that he is learning more numbers with time. Griffin is still perseverating and saying "Hi mommia" to me when he wants my attention and he wants me to say back to him "Hi Griffin". The only way to get him to stop perseverating is to say "Hi Griffin" then he will tell me what it is that he wanted my undivided attention for like he may just say "fish" and that's it. He kept saying "Hi mommia" just so that I would focus on him , stop everything I am doing just so that I can hear him say "fish". It aggravates me to no end when he does this and it causes me to lose my patience after awhile, a short while mind you. I felt like I was giving into him by saying what he wanted me to and that I was reinforcing it ( the behavior). So, I asked everyone what I should do and the only good answer that has seemed to be effective is the response that his speech teacher Lisa came up with. She told me that in order to not reinforce his behavior is to not answer him but once. Then say to him "Griffin I have already said hi " then I can give him the attention that he seems to need without reinforcing his perseveration. Eventually, he will realize that mommy isn't going to give into him and he will stop repeating over and over again. The key is to be consistent and to make sure that I don't say "Hi Griffin" so that he will get the message. I have to confess that I have slipped a few times just to get him to stop and I realize that it is counter productive so I must work harder to get the desired results.
If any of you have a child who perseverates I would like to know what it is that you do, other than just plain ol' distraction which doesn't seem to work with him. It would be nice for you to share some ides with me because I sure could use some helpful advice right about now.

6 comments:

Kristina Chew said...
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Kristina Chew said...

I think we autism parents all have children who perseverate! ABA is very helpful here and also a "branch" of it, VB. You can try to slip in other things for Griffin to say such as "Look at this" or "I want X" or "Help me"---try to make a list of why you think he is trying to get your attention and then teach (one by one) each phrase. You would not exactly be ignoring "hi mommia" but giving him another phrase that you will reinforce him for.

kyra said...

i like what griffin's speech teacher came up with; we do a similar thing, say, "you already said hi and i already said hi back", sometimes we even add, "it doesn't feel good to me when you say the same thing over and over", in other words, say the truth. and if it is said in a friendly way with a loving face it often works like a charm. another thing that works is a chant. sometimes when fluffy is asking the same thing over and over i chant, 'that's a great question, what a wonderful question, ask me another one please!" it seems to 'jog' his mind out of the rut. when i heard that suggestion i thought, no way, fluffy will not go for that. but i did it a few times in a row, again, trying to keep a calm and friendly tone and manner, and it worked. i've heard that visual timers are a way to help our kids 'see' how much time there will be until mommy or daddy can go back to playing, etc., and i've heard that some people, after saying clearly, 'i need to do this right now. i can play with you in x minutes' set the timer, and then put on GIANT ear muffs or headphones so that their child has a visual picture of mommy's ears covered so she can't hear right then, until the time is up. the last thing (sorry so long!) is that you can turn around each time and, instead of saying 'hi griffin', do a gesture or another kind of nonverbal with him. wave, salute, blow a kiss, make a raspberry sound, make a fish face, each time you turn around something different. when we do this, fluffy gets pulled into the game and now we are in an interaction, sharing an experience together, rather than being stuck in a static pattern of his preseveration and my resistance/annoyance (believe me, we've been there too!)

mommyguilt said...

Hey Sweetie -

I've been AWOL myself for a while. Wanted to stop by and check in on you, cuz I missed you & the G-man.

As far as the perseverations, I know it's hard and LORDY, is it trying sometimes. Listen to Lisa, though. She knows of what she speaks. Of course you're going to slip a few times, you're human...trying to be supermom (which, by the way, you already are). Kyra has a great point, too....that way Griffin knows that you're not simply ignoring him - that you know he is there and that he is talking to you, but you are still acknowledging him and his need while, at the same time, stressing that this isn't the behavior that you're seeking.

He'll get it. No worries!

Wendy said...

Lora - What I'd give to have your problem! I only wish that C would talk enough to drive me nuts! :) His twin sister (NT) will tell me something, for example "Mommy, it's raining!" and if I simply murmur back "Mmm Hmm" she'll keep saying it until I say "Yes T, it's raining!!!" usually in a very frustrated voice. So I think all children do that. Doesn't solve your problem though, does it? :)

Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

I'm sending you strength and lots of hugs.. I can understand how hard it is when they keep repeated unwanted behaviours.. I am dreaming of the day the kids stop climing on top of all the darn tables. You're doing the right thing... man sometimes I wish this whole parenting thing was WAYYYY easier!