Chores! Chef did chores!
And not just his one daily chore (presently dishes/cleaning up the kitchen), but last week's weekly chores (bathrooms/hallways) were also started and completed this evening. In addition, the total chore time was less than an hour AND Chef moved his lunch from the freezer to the refrigerator and made sure it was ready for tomorrow morning. He also boiled an egg for himself for breakfast. I asked Chef how he felt about having taken care of all of that tonight - "Good. And I know I'll have more time in the morning now." Excellent!
One of Chef's support team was working with Chef today on the 5-Point Scale (http://www.5pointscale.com/books_links.htm). Following are my recollection (obviously not verbatim) of some of our general conversation bits from this evening:
"Hey, how did your scale go today?"
"Good. I had a lot more 1's and 2's than last time."
"Excellent. So what sorts of things are 1's and 2's now?"
"Brushing my teeth, because it doesn't bother me as much anymore."
"Oh that's interesting. What do you think made a difference?"
"I don't know. I guess I just kept doing it lots of times and now it doesn't bother me."
"So what were some of the things that were 5's?"
"People talking to me."
"No, but I don't like people telling me what to do."
"Anyone. I don't like anyone telling me what to do."
"Who are the people that are telling you what to do though?"
"Kids at school."
"Older kids? Sometimes that happens at schools."
"Sometimes younger kids too."
"You have quite a few kids at school telling you what to do?"
"Well not lots but just random kids. Some are older, some are younger."
"Ah. Anyone other than kids at school?"
"M (our neighbour's daughter)"
"She tells you what to do?"
"Yeah. The other day she told me to wash my hands again when I had just washed them. And she tells me other stuff I'm supposed to do."
"That's interesting. You've never told me about that before. Who else tells you what to do?"
"Teachers and EA's"
"You have a bunch of teachers and EA's telling you what to do?"
"Do you mean when they're teaching you or trying to help you with something?"
"Well I don't like when they tell me the same thing 50 times."
"Oh. Why are they telling you the same thing 50 times?"
"I don't know."
"Are there times when they might be getting the message that they need to say the same thing 50 times?"
"Well I didn't mean 50 times. I was exaggerating. I just don't want them to talk so much."
"Even if they're talking because they're teaching and guiding you?"
"I don't know."
"So what else was on your 5's list?"
"I don't know. I didn't have very many there. Boredom I think was a 5."
"When do you feel boredom?"
"When I'm sent to my room or have to stay in there or when I do a video game too long or do anything for too long."
"Oh. So when do you get sent to your room?"
"When I break rules."
"Hmm, and what would work better so you wouldn't have to be bored in your room?"
"Yeah, that would be a good choice. When are other times that you're in your room and bored?"
"When I don't have clothes to wear or I'm not doing chores."
"Ohh, so what would work better then instead of being bored in your room?"
"Do my chores."
"Another good choice. So it sounds like a lot of the boredom in your room would be different if you'd make good choices."
"Y'know, a lot of times it feels to me as though you try to get sent to your room so you can just sleep."
"That's cuz I'm tired lots."
"I think I put exercise as a 5 too."
"Oh, why is that?"
"Because it hurts my muscles."
"Your doctor and I have talked to you about how it's not good to do so many jumping jacks but you keep doing them. And when I remind you how to do them with less stress on your muscles, the message I get from you is that you're angry with me for reminding you."
"I can't do any other exercises. I can go longer on jumping jacks without my muscles hurting."
"So they don't hurt when you do jumping jacks but they hurt when you do other exercises?"
"Well they hurt but it takes longer before they hurt."
"Ok. Why do you not want to be reminded of how to do them with less stress on your muscles?"
"I don't know. I don't want you telling me."
"Is it more that you don't want to do them, or you just don't like being reminded? When you were younger you didn't want to exercise or get dressed or wash, etc., and we kept working on all those things and we both eventually noticed a difference for you when you exercised."
"I can't exercise. It's too hard for me."
"Do you remember our conversations about what's good for the body? And that your body needs some training so it will work better for you? And how going overboard with jumping jacks is not a good idea?"
"Yeah, but I can't exercise. It's too hard."
"I'm thinking it would be good to go back to the idea of doing different exercises like some jumping, some balancing, some running, and other stuff in smaller bits instead of one big chunk of jumping jacks."
"I don't know. Exercise is too hard."
So tonight Chef did chores. No whining, no arguing, no tantrum, no grumping, no huffing, no delaying responsibilities. In addition, he also had a very full conversation about things he typically wouldn't want to discuss. What a wonderful evening!
This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom (http://richesofsimplicity.blogspot.com/) of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.