Thursday, February 23, 2012

Privacy Please!

We have a problem in our house. Alex, age 4, has asperger's and does not want anyone to be away from him. Ever. He will shove his hands under the door while you pee, storm into the bedrooms while you are dressing, and he even was shoving a block under the door from the waiting room while Bella tried to talk to her doctor about how she needed more privacy!!! (Ironic much?)

Alex in his sensory swing not harassing anyone...for the moment.

When talking about things that bothered her this week, one very legitimate concern Bella brought up is her lack of alone time. Her brother is always begging her to play with him, asking if they can take turns should she try to use the lap top for her screen time, and following her around crying should she want to read a book or do some other activity that does not include him. The more we try to discourage these actions, the louder the fits got. I plan on bringing this up with his behavioral therapist, so we can work on strategies to put an end to some of these behaviors, but we don't have an appointment for a couple of weeks due to scheduling issues, and I felt we needed a fix to this problem now.

So, I started thinking. I had a book about 1001 great ideas for Autism and it suggested implementing a sibling knock so that the child has to use the special knock and knock before entering the sibling's room. This makes it fun and special as well so that he wouldn't get so upset. Also, Bella had been asking to be allowed to stay up 30 minutes later and we decided to go ahead and allow that so she can have 30 minutes of reading time uninterrupted every evening before bed. The third strategy I came up with was to discuss "quiet areas." I talked to Alex about how there is a quiet area at his school where you cannot bother whoever is in it. He said that he likes that area and goes in it for a little while every day. We gave each kid a door hanger and made a new rule that when one of them has the door hanger on their door their room is now a quiet area and they are wanting to be alone. NO ONE, not even mom or dad, is allowed to bother them for 30 minutes unless it is time to eat or leave for an appointment. We made the 30 minute rule so Bella will still spend time with the family and not be tempted to hide in her room all day every day. Not that she would do that. It has been two days now and so far everyone is happy. Which, when dealing with siblings, is quite the blessing.