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Monday, January 24, 2011

Destructo Boy.

The time is approaching, as Harri becomes larger and more nimble, that our gardern variety cupboard locks are not going to cut it. Neither is the latch on the front gate, or the pool gate latch, or anything that up til now we have comfortably relied upon to keep Harri from harm. His uncanny knack of learning through observation has begun to show itself via his recent escapades. Yesterday I found him half way up a ladder in the rear yard despite the fact we have strapped a board to the bottom to prevent climbing, or so we thought. And while in the front yard he was observed standing on a low limestone wall reaching for the latch on our front gate. The lock will now be put to use on that despite the hassle for guests having to yell from the street to gain entrance. The pool gate is another matter. We will soon require an additional lock added too low down for him to reach. Which means lower then the current one designed for NT kids. The boy is into everything. And if he isn't in it or on it, or hanging off it, he is banging it, smashing it, throwing it. This sensory seeking thing just seems to escalate and any ideas about order and neatness are quickly being replaced with sighs of resignation.

Sometimes parents have children who personality wise are not always a good fit for them. That might sound weird but sometimes people can find it hard to gel with their kids, which is obviously a potentially awful circumstance for all concerned. I have been fortunate enough to have three children whose characters I adore and am continually charmed by, and amazed that I had a hand in their creation. But this destructive and hyper messy streak that Harri has does not sit well with my need for order and neatness. Somethings going to have to give, and I suspect it's going to be my preferences.

Ive seen pictures of homes with other ASD kids, and there seems to be some common themes. For a start minimalism does not seem to be a good style preference. Locks on everything possible comes up regularly. Dents in walls and doors seem to be common too. In fact it seems that having a young kid on the spectrum almost always necessitates some extreme child proofing and a good deal of  putty and paint. So it looks as if I shall have to embrace some chaos as we try to teach Harri to chill out a bit. Which is going to take a while as he has no concern or interest in the word no.


  1. A cordless 9 volt drill is your friend. Liam was exactly like this and we were renting all over Brisbane (and leaving behind big putty lumps where I had tried to attach book case, chests of drawers and all movable items to the wall.
    Get rid of it for now but work on replacing it with appropriate sensory time and easy communication. A lot of the time they would rather climb and help themselves, than work out how to ask you for it in a typical way.
    My local Kinder in Wynnum would let us use their playground (unofficially) when they were closed. Because there are still so few fully fenced playgrounds in Aus - I bet that is an issue for you?

    But we reap what we sow! I remember my Dad yelling at me that I was giving him grey hairs when I was at the top of my swing set frame or in a large very climbable Cypress tree. I just enjoyed the sensation. (of course I would then climb down and very literally go through my Dad's Scalp to count how many grey hairs he now had)


  2. Yep sure is an issue. He is a runner, but is slowly improving. When our playgroup relocated to a park at our local beach we had to stop attending as I knew I would spend the whole time chasing him up and down the dunes.

  3. A friend of mine uses a bike lock threaded through her pool fence and gate. She keeps the key hidden in the house. I thought it was a pretty cool idea - not something I'd have thought of.

  4. Oh, I remember those days! It's very frustrating.

    It took me awhile to cope, but once I got used to the relative messiness, it became much less stressful for me. On the other hand, the "escape artist" behavior is always stressful.

    At this point, those events are rather rare, but not completely eliminated. For us, it got to the point where neat and pretty solutions were not possible. All locks were circumvented, so we resorted to nailing windows shut and dismantling the garage door mechansim (now it takes strength, coordination and height to open our garage door, which can only be done from the inside). It's messy, but they're safe. And when it's a choice between neat and safe, I'll choose safe every time. Though, there are times I still long for neat and safe.

  5. Yep Stephanie, there is no doubt which one must prevail. But it is requiring quite the mental adjustment for me. I also love gardening and he is destroying my Frangipanis, one by beautiful one.
    Shanwags that's a good idea, but we have a glass pool fence, so no choice than to do it the costly way.

  6. It does require a mental adjustment. I have no doubt about that. But it gets easier with time. Eventually "the new normal" sets in, and the frustration decreases. You'll get there!