Michael got angry yesterday when a DVD wouldn’t work and his mom couldn’t fix it. Michael’s mom told me that Michael accepted her suggestion to watch a different DVD. That was good news. People with autism, in particular Michael, aren’t easily redirected away from what they demand. We call this “having trouble with transitions”.
Michael got angry today, though, for a different reason. The “Marty Stouffer’s Wild America” DVD set hadn’t arrived in the mail yet. It wasn’t that a DVD couldn’t be fixed. This time, the DVD wasn’t in the house for him, and it wouldn’t be until next week. Now we had to explain that he could use a back up plan in this situation, too, not only when a DVD couldn’t be fixed. We had to help his brain make the leap... or at least consider it.
S: You heard your grandmom and mom talking about you getting so angry today?
M: I think I was that way because I can not have that DVD that the funny think that the DVD has not get that time I need so I get angry
S: Grandmom and mom told you it will come either tomorrow or Monday or Tuesday.
S: So why stay angry?
M: That is that truth byes that is the truth but I can not stop being that way fit yes I have I have fit that I get that way I get very very very angry
S: I understand you have a fit of anger. The problem is that you make everyone else angry too and get them upset.
M: I think I am help them to understand me that I am angry
S: Yes I understand that you want to help them know that you are angry but you can let them know in just a short few minutes. instead you let your anger out for a very long time.
M: I think I really really really think that no body care in the first first place
S: They do care. It may not seem that way at the time. Mom ordered the Marty Stouffer Wild America DVD seasons one through twelve. You have to wait. If mom didn't care she wouldn't have ordered it.
M: I think that you think that the DVD is coming good to hear that but I want it really really really a lot you understand how I think right
S: Why not watch the Marty Stouffer VHS tapes you have until the DVD comes?
Can you go get the Marty Stouffer and his Wild America VHS tapes? Mom doesn’t know where they are in your big collection of tapes and DVD’s.
He went into his room, looked around for a minute or two, and then walked back to the iPad with two Marty Stouffer VHS tapes. He put them on the table and sat down to type again.
S: Thank you Michael. Here you had the ability to watch the Marty VHS tapes and instead you let yourself feel really really really angry and let your mom and grandmom be upset for all that time.
M: I think that you are you that know then I feeling get the DVD
S: And in the meantime while you wait for the DVD to come what will you do.
M: I watch the VHS tapes
S: That's what's called a back up plan. You are doing something else so you won't have to stay angry and you won't upset mom and grand mom.
M: That is a back up plan
S: But what happens if grand mom or mom says what's your back up plan while you are angry? you can just get more angry at them.
M: I think that happens the I that you get that the way to handle that is to tell me to the room so I can get calm.
S: So do you think this idea will help you?
M: think it will