My last post was about my nephew Kyle and his aggressive behavior. I felt nudged to write it, as their situation was weighing heavily on me. There were a lot of supportive comments on my Facebook page and here on my blog. I appreciate it. I didn't like the feeling my post left me with, though. It felt rather depressing and frankly, a bit hopeless. And that is not how the situation really is. My friend Cindi Rogers posted something on Facebook that made me think. She said, "---I have never met any kid with FX that could not be helped with the right intervention." She is right. Our kids naturally rise to the challenge if we give them the right support.
I was thinking about the things that seem to set Kyle off. I mentioned showers in my original post about him. Another thing I said was that he doesn't like to be told no. But I thought further about that, and when he is told no most often, it is pertaining to someplace he thought up where he wanted to go. They had no plans to go to that particular place, so they said they weren't doing that.
I think aggression has a lot to do with anxiety in Kyle's case. Now my sister and her family are great, but they aren't particularly structured. And Kyle likes to do things. He's fifteen, after all. What fifteen year old doesn't like to do things? So, he is constantly asking what they are doing next. And they reply with "We're not doing anything. We might do something later." or something like that. Well, that's just a tad (or a lot) too vague for him.
I felt led to suggest they try using a schedule with Kyle. It has been so good for my boys! My sister said they were pretty desperate, and are willing to give it a try. She talked it over with Kyle and he said he'd like a schedule. So she came over and we printed off a bunch of picture symbols that would pertain to things in his life. We laminated them and attached Velcro to the backs. Then we made a board with Velcro strips on it. Now his schedule can be attached to it. They placed it on the fridge at home and showed it to Kyle. He was happy about it and seemed quite pleased with it, actually. For times when they are at home, we made up boxes labeled, Stay with Mom, watch TV, computer, iPod, etc. This way, he at least has some ideas for what to do instead of wandering around thinking of where he can go next.
The way we addressed the shower issue is this. Also something I learned from Cindi Rogers. Kelly took a picture of a reward. In this case, it was a trip to Outback Steakhouse. She divided it into three pieces and told him that every time he took a shower without fighting, he would earn a piece of the picture. When the picture was complete, they would go to Outback. Here's what it looks like:
She started this on Thursday, so presumably, today would be the day for Outback. Well, she called and told me that he asked if he could take a shower today. After his shower, they put on the last piece of the Outback puzzle and he asked, "Mom, are you proud of me?" She said she was very proud of him and suggested they put Outback on the schedule for today. He was quite excited to add it to the schedule for the day.
I am so proud of my sister and brother in law for making this effort for Kyle. It already has been a huge success. I am sure this won't cut out every meltdown, but I can see that it will help a lot. It already is!