Monday, January 31, 2011

The Lights Went Out

The whole family gets nervous when the lights go out.  Without electricity, Michael can't spend his time watching DVD's or YouTube.  The family has to endure Michael's anger and Michael has to endure being without his primary way of keeping himself "happy".  Because Michael's anger has been extreme in the past, the family bought a portable generator for the garage, and they send electrical cords from it through the house to Michael's room. 

Since he can speak to us through typing, my approach has been to help him understand how to handle his feelings more effectively.  What if we let him experience the difficulty and then teach him the sequence of steps involved to deal with the situation?  After all, he wants to be employed.  He has said, "I want to have a job and be normal."  He's thinking about shelving books with the help of a one-one-aide.  Realistically, he can only have a few meltdowns in the middle of a library if he plans to keep his job.

S: when it snowed the lights went out you were afraid because
M: I could not watch you tube

S: did you worry they would not come on again
M: yes

S: was it easy to fall asleep knowing the lights were out
M: no

S: how did you manage the worried feeling
M: I think you me

S: what
M: happy thoughts

S: happy thoughts like
M: think I them

S: them what
M: friends

S: friends such as
M: thomas the tank engine

S: so when you are worried and sad you can think of Thomas right
M: yes

S: what is Thomas doing in your thoughts
M: he says nice things to me

S: we are happy that you have a way of feeling good. what kinds of things does Thomas say to you ... describe a nice thing he says
M: he says that I am very useful

S: we totally agree! does he say other nice things
M: he says that everything the really really really ok

S: we are very glad you have a friend like that. he helped you get through being afraid when the lights went out. what would you have done if the lights were still out when you got up in the morning?
M: ok

S: I don’t think you would just be ok
M: I would angry

S: and how would you handle your angry
M: I want the lights on

S: I understand but if the lights could not come when you wanted them to and you were angry what could you have done?
M: easy set I have waited just waited until the lights came back on alright.

S: so mom and grand mom will help you remember that you know you will wait until the lights come back on.  so is it ok if they say... Michael, you know you have to sit and wait until the lights come.  is this okay?
M: easy they need to be kind

S: I understand

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Using Michael's Interest in Thomas the Tank Engine

I've been writing stories using Thomas the Tank Engine as the main character to help Michael talk about what he is thinking and feeling...

Thomas the Tank Engine moves on his track and the track takes him to different adventures.  When Thomas travels on the track, he meets other trains along the way.  He is always curious about what is happening.  During every adventure, Thomas has a certain feeling.  Most of adventures Thomas has make him feel happy, and some adventures make him feel sad.  Some adventures make him feel really really really angry.   No matter what happens, Thomas always knows the other engines are his friends. 

S: tell us the things that make you scared
M: really really really fear when the storm comes thunder and lightening that fear happens

S: tell us the afraid fear part of thunder and lightening
M: fear the thunder and lightening the storm and the thunder and lightening and the rain the rain gets me wet and the thunder and lightening put the lights out and the computer out and the tv out and I can not watch what I want to I get afraid because I can not easy feel happy without the Thomas and friends treat me to be happy I easy they the friends that in

S: that makes sense to me. tell us your back up plan if the lights and the tv and the computer go out. what do you do to pass the time until they come on again?
M: say to mom to get lights on again

S: this is one of those adventures just like Thomas has on his track. your track is I need the lights back on.
M: the lights back on the track I do not like to be on.

S: I understand. you are on a track that makes you feel afraid and angry because the lights won't come back on when you want them to. in that case, your backup has to be to get on a different track. any ideas?
M: easy not to be on a different track

S: I understand. one idea I have is that I remember that the lights will come on again sooner or later. the light track will always be there. in the meantime since I want to feel happy at least a little I need to get on a different track... unless I want to keep feeling afraid and angry.
M: the really really really angry the feeling not easy to have and go to different track

S: you are absolutely correct. just because it's not easy, it still is possible. it means that you have to be okay with being afraid and angry for awhile until the lights come back on. in the meantime you can go on a different track. like mom just said. you might can go on the nap track or sit on your recycler on some other hobby.
M: I feel the anger too much to the different

S: ok. like we talked about before... sometimes you can switch tracks easy and sometimes there are days when it's a lot harder for you And ME to switch. we just have to remember it's possible so it will always be an option for us in our brains.
M: that sounds better get really really really angry lot of the time

S: do you think you can notice when you can easy switch tracks? that's all that any of us can do.
M: typing the words is easy yes

S: I totally agree. all we can do is do our best as best as we can. ok
M: really really really thank you that was help and easy to think about the day comes when thunder and lightening here I will try to remember this