Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: a dream-filled fixer-upper
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Satori, I'm glad you have made some progress!
I have a 7yo on the autistic spectrum--he is high-functioning but I have had to "babyproof" for a large, strong, fully-mobile, intelligent child who just so happens to damage and destroy things all around without hesitation or much regret. He enjoys poking holes in walls, scratching things with tacks or nails, putting his feet on things even if they are delicate, and generally testing all materials to the breaking point. He balances dishes on his head and then says it is an "accident" when they fall. He just can't resist hitting the ceiling fan, or jumping across the room onto other furniture, and spitting and sloshing the bathwater EVERYWHERE... He dumps toys and laundry and walks on it without noticing. He forgets things the moment they drop from his hands and never notices them again. He falls on his siblings or steps on their fingers...
You know, he has made so much progress. I put so much effort into helping him--we have had this surreal level of child-proofing for several years. I remember him getting onto the top of the refrigerator, things like that. I don't encourage him to be very careless, clumsy, shortsighted, experimental, and all the other things that make him harder to care for alone than my three other children are together. I still have to check on him constantly if he is at the other end of the house or in the next room. Because he is almost always getting into something he shouldn't. No matter what positive options I offer--he doesn't take suggestions very well.
I know he is not messy and destructive because I set that example (he barely learns from example in that way anyhow unfortunately) or because I don't bother to set limits. He just isn't that moldable. The level of attention to prevent it all is generally truly impossible. Just impossible.
So I am sorry people point fingers at you. Sure you are responsible for your house and messes. But there are children who just pull every sense of order to pieces, day after day.
The best I am able to do is setting up tasks that have to be completed before the next thing. Like we can't eat treats because each person needs to get their meal dishes off the table first. Or we can't watch a video until this play area is cleaned up. Or get out another new thing until... The tasks have to be small.
It sounds like your dd doesn't even have a sense of pleasure in seeing things in right places. Does she? All my kids do seem to enjoy being able to find things, having space to play, knowing exactly where to put shoes and dirty clothes, knowing that each drawer will have just what they are looking for in it. I don't know what they would be doing if they didn't even want that.
When it is crazy with stuff, I have always gone minimalist. I pack up toys, though I don't find it is best as a threat/punishment toward them. I would have trouble living with those boxes stacked, and those plastic drawers. That feels so crowded, and like a potential topple-over.
I also try to lead some positive activities, read out loud, play playdough together, go to library, going on walks where we talk about stuff we see or anything that gets some good connection going. This has meant not cooking dinner and just eating something ultra-quick or skipping kids' baths sometimes, but I get to feeling I have to break the negative cycle with some very deliberate relaxed and positive stuff. I don't like to spend all my time on the frustrating stuff.
Well, I just found out my ds broke a window earlier. Just accidentally crashed his feet into it while standing on his head. SIGH and it is not the first--actually I think this is the fourth or fifth time he has cracked/broken a window in this house.