Wednesday, June 23, 2010

W Is for Whack-A-Mole!

This is my 100th post! Wow! I'm also nearing 100 followers! This is so exciting to me. Yes, I excite very easily!

I'm participating again in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The gist of this meme is that Jenny features a different letter of the alphabet each week, and people who are involved write their post around that letter and link back to her post. Then, everyone who is participating reads as many blogs as possible, the idea being to increase your readership. The letter this week is W! I knew my "W" topic since last week: Whack-A-Mole!

One thing I learned about autism is that treating it is like a big whack-a-mole game. You focus therapies on eliminating some behaviors. For example, one of the first behaviors we tackled with our daughter was her rigidity. If things didn't go her way, she would meltdown faster than Chernobyl. She dropped her grape on the ground? Huge tantrum! Time to leave preschool? Huge tantrum! I'd make a left turn driving when she wanted me to turn right? Huge tantrum! The behavior therapy to increase her flexibility started off pretty successfully. She learned how to say, "Oh, well!" if something didn't go the way she wanted. But then something weird happened: a new behavior cropped up!

My daughter started to get really ritualistic. If we didn't go through our routines in the exact way each day, then she would have meltdowns. Our behaviorist told us that this is totally normal. Oftentimes, when treating autistic children, eliminating one behavior just creates a new one to crop up. For some kids with autism, there's always going to be some behavior, you just try to find the behavior that you can live with the most.

Of course, even after a behavior is "eliminated," it's still bound to come popping up again at a different time!

Ironically, my daughter did really well playing a Whack-a-Mole game the last time she was at Chuck E. Cheese. Coincidence? I think not!

28 comments:

  1. I guess it's like (okay, not really, but this is what it made me think of) the time I took Sawyer to the pediatrician b/c of hand-foot-and-mouth. And I said, "he can't get this again, right?" And the doctor said, "There are TWELVE versions, so the good news is, he only can get 11 more kinds!"

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  2. Thanks for the interesing post on autism and it does sound like a whack-a-mole type thing that always keeps you hopping. Joni

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  3. Great post! I was recently with a friend who has a daughter with severe autism. I think many of us have no idea of the challenges parents and children face day to day. Thanks for the insight. ~ Sarah

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  4. This is such an interesting comparison. It tells you so much about the problem.

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  5. What a great analogy to Whack-A-Mole...it sounds like you have a great perspective and attitude.

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  6. Yes, we use that same analogy all of the time! It seems like it's a cycle too where sometimes you circle back to an obsession or behavior that you thought was long ago stamped out. Sometimes Audrey's phases are like childbirth...I forget them after they're done until they rear their ugly heads again. Starting my blog will assure that I never forget!

    And yes, the Whack-a-Mole game itself was one of Audrey's obsessions for a while...

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  7. What an insightful and thoughtful stop on our little journey through Alphabe-Thursday's letter "W".

    My heart goes out to you as you find your way through this labrynth of confusion and struggle.

    I admire the way you are "taking" charge of the disease and learning new ways around the limitations it must create!

    I really liked this link. It made me think.

    A+

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  8. Thank you for sharing about your daughter. The whack a mole analogy really helped me to understand. What an incredible mom you are!

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  9. You are an excellent mother and a fine voice representing the amazing parents of people with Autism. I applaud you.

    Best wishes,
    Natasha.

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  10. You are a great mom! xxx

    Dropping by from SITS and following!

    xxx

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  11. Thank you for sharing, I know from experiences that having an Autistic Spectrum child can be challenging, frustrationg, embarrasing and at times wonderful experience.
    I am a teaching assistant with SEN children and worked alongside a family going through what you are .

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  12. I love how you compare the behaviors to Whack-A-Mole. My great-nephew has attachment disorder and I saw the same thing with him. It's a perfect description of what it's like to raise a child who's behaviorally challenged due to something over which they have no control.

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  13. Looks like I am lucky number 100 of followers!......congrats on 100 posts......and 100 followers!...

    I have some questions for you.......I am concerned about my nephew, who will be 2 years in Sept. I have had some experience working with children with autism in the past, and there is definitely something going on with him.......there are some things that lead me to being concerned about autism....
    If you don't mind sharing (and sorry if you've already posted somewhere on your blog, I haven't had a chance to look around much yet)....but how did you go about having your daughter evaluated?.....did you notice anything or did someone suggest anything to you?......
    Thanks so much........I look forward to following your blog!

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  14. When I saw your title I chuckled because we play this game with our little dog and she loves it. You sound like you are doing an exceptional job on educating yourself and family with learning how to handle things with your daughter....it sounds like a very difficult challenge at times. Best wishes to you, and thanks for popping over.

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  15. How wonderful that you can share all this with us. I have a dear friend whose oldest has Asbergers, and this post helped give me some insight into what she deals with. I'm going to send her over! Thanks.

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  16. it must be so frusterating for you!

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  17. Lol, pretty much just like whack a mole! What a great analogy!

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  18. that is a great analogy ... it must keep things interesting to say the least

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  19. you have the best attitude about it... I am sure that is a big help too!

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  20. What a great W post. So interesting.

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  21. It seems like it's a never ending battle. It must be exhausting but you seem to handle it very well. I'm learning a lot from your posts about autism. Thanks for sharing the info. Great W post.

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  22. My grandson is autistic and he's such a joy to be with for me, maybe because I'm one of the few people he really feels comfortable with. It's a challenge to care for these wonderful children and it would appear that you are really up to the challenge! Informative blog, especially for us who deal with autism on a daily basis...

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  23. I watched my sister-in-law experience these things you talk about with her son, Wil. We, the extended family learned from her how to cope with Wil's behavior, and Lisa taught us how to use the proven techniques that she had found. It's a long and frustrating journey for the families of autistic souls.

    When Wil was six, he found a passion for music, and I believe it saved him from himself. He is now playing oboe in several youth orchestras. My prayer for you today is that your daughter will find a positive outlet for her frustration with all in life.

    Hugs

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  24. I really like this analogy. It is a good one and seems to...well...it hits on the head! Great post.

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  25. 10th post! Congratulations! That is exciting...I am slowly working my way to that 100th...but it will be a little while longer, since I manage to get one post up a week :o)

    Thank you for sharing what you are going through. I am learning more about autism through your posts. And I know that you are a great source to others that may have to face similar challenges with their children.

    Blessings & Aloha!

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  26. thats exactly how it is with james too. eliminate one thing and something else new occurs to deal with. i had to explain this to his teachers this year who didn't quite get that. Its like phases of fixation. they kept wanting me to get rid of a few of his rigid/compulsive behaviors which we did, then it was another one in its place to deal with.

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  27. I love this W! Not so much the game Whack-A-Mole but I love the analogy. :)

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