"Moooommmyyyy! Can I have help please?"
Oh no... not again. Stevie (8 years old, super-powers: autism, anxiety, ADHD, possible Tourettes) has been playing on the computer and had some trouble with the programs he likes. He doesn't know how to use them and neither do I. I dread it when I am home alone with all 4 kids and he needs help with a program I know nothing about. Usually, it ends up with a meltdown and today was no exception.
"I'll be right there, Stevie." I say, hoping it is a simple problem. Or at least a problem that Sage (10 year old with super-powers: autism, ADHD, computers) can fix.
It turns out that he wanted to drag a movie he made in Photo Booth to the movie section of iTunes, but the programs won't let him drag and drop. I tell him it doesn't work that way, and I try exporting it but that fails. I try importing it and again it fails.
Then Stevie says, "No iMovie! Throw it away!"
I close it, but the icon is still there. I give him a tight hug, squeezing his shoulders as best I can.
His doctor thinks some of the aggression may be an inappropriate way to seek out one of the invisible senses: proprioception. (Proprioception is body awareness. It is knowing where your body is in space. For example, if you are standing, you know you are standing because of the pressure your feet feel against the floor. Deep pressure sends signals to the brain, telling it where it is, grounding it. If you are not receiving enough input from your feet, you may have a strong desire to start jumping (appropriate) or kicking (inappropriate), which increases the sense of pressure in your feet and signals the brain.) She recommended trying to calm him with appropriate methods of getting that stimulation, such as squeezes and big, tight hugs.
I remove it from the dock. He opens the applications folder and tries to delete it, then out of his rising frustration he throws the mouse.
"All done iMovie!" he yells, lunges over and pushes the computer off the table. If falls sideways but is stopped by the bench beneath, which is piled high with books and printer paper.
"No time-out!" He grabs at me, to ensure he is given a time out despite his pleas for acquittal.
"Yes, time out!" the frustration roared from my mouth, surprising me. "No more computers, Stevie. You lost it. No electronics at all today. You cannot throw things!"
He gets up and runs to his room. I am almost certain I hear a giggle coming from his bundled-self on the bed.
I of course, am much more upset at this point than he is. I make lunch for the other 3 kids and once they are eating, I fill out the A-B-C's form that the doctor wanted (Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence, date and time, etc.). I go to Stevie's room and tell him again, the consequences of his actions: No electronics today. No computer ever! (Well, at least for such a long time that it seems like forever!).
What happens next was a big surprise for me.
He said, "OK", and followed me out to the kitchen. Still covered with his quilt (something I'm having a hard time coping with since it's 85 humid degrees in the house!) he walks toward me, opens the quilt like a cape and gives me a big, sweet hug.
I hug his hot-self back and give him a kiss, and a squeeze for a tip.
"Milk please?" he asks.
And we are back to normal.
It sure seemed like Stevie was thanking me for taking the computer away. It's almost like he couldn't stop himself. Like he didn't want to be playing with Photo Booth, iMovie and iTunes, but couldn't break himself free from it. It's like he was stuck, taking it away altogether was the adhesive dissolver for his brain. It felt very much like he was saying, "Thank you!" to me with his quilt-caped hug.
After lunch I sit in the big brown chair with Joy (23 months old, super-power: toddler charm) and watch Blues Clues. Stevie comes and lays on the chair with us, calm. So sweet.
So hard to believe he was throwing computers just an hour ago!
Psalm 55:16-17 "As for me, I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice."
God knows Stevie inside and out. He knows how to reach him, He knows how to calm him. He understands him.
Who better to cry out to than God?
Excerpts from Psalm 139 (read it fresh, as if Stevie is writing it. It is so refreshing to remember God views Stevie the same way He did David, who wrote this psalm.)
"You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely." (What a comforting thought that must be, especially with the unusual behavior and communication difficulties associated with autism!)
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Knit together with autism in the thread is fully wonderful)
"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Even the bad ones! God knew the meltdowns and hardships would be plentiful, but He has a plan that encompasses all the days--not just the good ones!)
"How precious are your thoughts concerning me, God!" (God has innumerable precious thoughts toward Stevie, warts and all).
And the same was true for David.
And the same is true for us.