Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘motivators

The Motivator

with 8 comments

I suppose it started a few months ago.  Pudding, being the sharing soul that she is, decided that anything she didn’t want was to be given to Cubby.  It happened whenever I served some food she didn’t like.  Cubby wants to eat it. If we tried to get her to do something she didn’t want: Cubby’s turn. Conversely, of course, we would hear Pudding wants to try that and Pudding’s turn if she wanted to do something.  It kind of evolved into the shorthand of just saying his name to push attention away from her.  He was the scapegoat.

Cubby, though, is no sacrificial victim.  He is coming into his own person.  An interesting blend of sensory issues and precocious language.  He stands up for himself, defiant to his big sister’s wishes- no mean feat given that she is about twice his size.  He tells us he doesn’t like it, doesn’t want to, afraid that I’ll make him eat a second portion of carrots, or whatever drama the women in his life have concocted.

Sometimes, though, he wants whatever is on offer.  The thing so heinous to his sister is just what he desires.  His motor delays are much milder than Pudding’s so many of the tasks we work on are pleasant for him.  We treat them the same though, so if I reward a challenge for Pudding with a candy reinforcer, he gets one too.  At these times he is a very willing accomplice.  I call him The Motivator.

Yesterday the OT assigned Pudding some yoga poses as homework.  They are just basic animal poses for children, but it is really difficult for her.  She lacks the strength, coordination and endurance to make yoga enjoyable.  Of course, these are the very benefits that yoga brings, so we have to keep trying.  She couldn’t be persuaded.  Spectrummy Daddy and I tried to manipulate her body for her, but she would deliberately move as soon as we let go.  Even the promise of a pink Starburst made no impact.  The more we persisted, the more frustrated she became, until she whined Cubby’s turn, Cubby’s turn, Cubby’s turn, over and over.

Cubby dutifully wandered over and announced it was his turn.  I demonstrated the pose, then we helped him to do it.  Immediately we rewarded him with the candy.  Pudding was apoplectic with rage.  We gave away her candy!  I asked if it was her turn, but she continued to sulk, but Cubby piped up to do it again.  He did another pose, and was awarded another treat.  This time it registered with Pudding that there was only one way to get the treats before her brother took them all.

She complied, and actually did a lot better than I thought she would.  Although we still had to help her put some limbs in the correct places, she maintained her body position for the full 20 seconds, even counting herself.  As soon as she was finished, The Motivator was ready and waiting for his turn again.  Inspiring his sister to strengthen her body, and take turns: The Motivator might just be the most useful instrument in our ensemble.

Advertisements

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 24, 2011 at 7:16 am

Give and Take

with 10 comments

Pudding got Christmas this year.  That in itself is pretty huge.  She got that Santa brought presents in the night; some were for her, some for her brother.  She got that, she just didn’t always accept it.  She liked that Santa bought her various pink and princessy items.  She was cool with Father Christmas bringing Cubby trains and boy things.  But Santa had made a mistake with one present, and she has done her best to rectify that ever since.

A couple of months ago, we’d seen a Sesame Street book with a toddler’s “CD” player and discs.  It was perfect for Cubby, who likes Elmo, and music, and touching (scratching) any grown-up CDs and DVDs he can get his hands on.  We did not anticipate that within the few weeks between then and Christmas, Pudding would develop a new special interest with Ernie.

Special Interests are, well…special in our house. Even before the diagnosis, we’ve always enabled and cultivated these passions.   Of all the aspects of spectrummy life, special interests are the easiest for us to understand.  This is because both Spectrummy Daddy and I both have special interests now, and we did as kids too.  In fact, not having special interests would be unusual for our progeny.  You try telling Spectrummy Daddy that Batman is not the greatest super hero of all time, and see where that gets you.  Just like if you even suggest to me that there might be a greater novel than Jane Eyre.  As a young child I was crazy about horses.  I’d even got a small collection of tack, but…erm, no pony.  Then anyone who knew me as a teenager remembers my obsession for Take That far exceeding the typical teenage infatuation.  I even went to the same concert five times in a row.  My parents were enablers too!

So, at the time of purchase, there was no Sesame Street or Ernie for Pudding, she was enthralled with Upsy-Daisy again.  My parents bought another doll to replace the one she carried everywhere with her, and she was ecstatic with new and old Upsy-Daisy.  But she made more requests for Ernie, we found and bought a stuffed Ernie for her birthday, and that was it:  Ernie, Ernie, Ernie.  I must admit to feeling a little sad for Upsy-Daisy, at being so quickly usurped, but like Sleeping Beauty and other special interests, they still remain close to her heart.  Their importance to her just waxes and wanes.

So all this left us with a dilemma over the CD player.  In the end I decided to give it to Cubby.  It is Elmo, rather than Ernie, after all.  But the instant Cubby opened it, Pudding snatched it away.  One of the songs it plays is The Rubber Ducky Song, after all.  For the most part, he doesn’t mind.  He has plenty of other toys to occupy him.  When he decides he does want to play with it, a possessive Pudding isn’t willing to share.  It is usually around this time that Ernie decides he wants to ride on the back of Pudding’s bicycle, and Pudding graciously runs to assist him in this endeavour.

That is the other good thing about special interests, they make for great motivators.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

December 30, 2010 at 7:17 am