aspergers · autism · kids · PRTF · residential placement · RTC · video games

My Son’s Kryptonite

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One of the major diagnostic criteria for an Autism Spectrum Disorder is a significant preoccupation with things/parts of things. This preoccupation is such that the child perseverates on it. They spend hours thinking about it, talking about it, doing something in relation to it. It encompasses nearly every part of their lives. It is, as I have often (semi-jokingly) described it, an unhealthy obsession. It becomes their weakness, the one thing that can break them even on the best of days. 
For D, he cycles through a few obsessions. I have posted about his High School Musical obsession, but he is also obsessed with marching bands, and video games. Each of these can cause him to slip from developmentally appropriate play into a stage of obsession that is abnormal in both focus and intensity. However, the one thing that will, without a doubt, become his breaking point every single time is video games. 
D loves video games. He has amazing skills when it comes to completing levels, learning the ins and outs to get the extra points, and when all else fails, his research skills are such that he can search the internet and find the answer to exactly what is causing him problems. 
However, his world will come to a crashing halt every single time a video game enters.
He cannot handle the stress that comes with them. While he has the skills to play them, while he can do all that is required to beat each level, he gets so sucked in that he simply cannot meet adversity with assertive game play. Losing a life/dying in a level will send him into screaming tantrums. In his mind, that indicates failure, lack of perfection, on his part. In his mind, he must immediately reach the level of perfection in everything he does. 
At his current placement, if they have met certain goals for the day, they are allowed to play the Nintendo DS for 30 minutes after shower time in the evenings. D is at a point where he meets those 2 goals almost daily. There are around 20 games to choose from for their game time, but there is only one game that D likes to play. Many, many times someone has chosen that game before him. Not getting the game he wants, for whatever reason, has generally sent him into hysterics. (Hysterics, in this case, is a tantrum of epic proportions. Raging, screaming, crying, aggression towards staff, the person who got the game, and any inanimate object in his way.)
Video games are his kryptonite. They are his Achilles heel.  

After a major tantrum a few days ago, he made the conscious decision to say, “Ok, if he gets the game, I’ll just not play a game that night.”
Yesterday…Yesterday, he did just that! When I called to see how he was doing, he said, “Fine. But Mommy, I have to tell you something! I’m not playing the DS tonight. I’m not playing because someone else got my game I wanted to play. Since he got the game, I’m just going to eat popcorn and watch the movie tonight. I’m not going to have a tantrum!” 
OH-EM-GEE!!! He was proud! He made the choice to do the right thing! He DID IT! (Hey Dora…HE DID IT! HE DID IT!)

And, not only was HE proud, but this was one proud Mama last night! I am still one proud Mama! 

That’s MY boy!!! Thank you, God, for giving him that strength yesterday!!

Yeah, I know that it was one time. I know that he has to learn to do it again, and again, and again. I also know that HE DID IT ONE TIME!!!!!!!!!! 

6 thoughts on “My Son’s Kryptonite

  1. SO. FREAKING. AWESOME! Wow, our son's sound so much alike. I'm having to follow him (hub and I trade off) and going into each room with him to monitor EVERYTHING. ANYTHING electronic he's obsessed with. He thinks anything inappropriate is hysterical. He began making his own videos of this inappropriate things such as, putting an ipod touch in the microwave, punching a laptop to its death, destroying his sisters first computer.. all video'ed and edited into microsoft video. *sigh* This hospital stay is going to literally DETOX him of electronics (none can be brought). Things are going to change.. significantly I believe. Its either going to be REALLY good.. or really really bad.

  2. That's great, that he made the decision, stuck to it, and did it! Here's hoping he continues in success.

    My son's life is ruled by yugi-cards, need I say more.


  3. So happy for D and for you!! This is a huge step! No, it's not just one time, it's the first time, and I will pray for unlimited times more! I can just imagine how good this make you feel and so it makes me feel good too!

    (Well written piece to describe it too!)

  4. Thanks so much, ladies! I'm so proud that he is starting to use his coping skills. Of course, he still has a LONG way to go, but he can identify them and he has started to use them some. WOOHOO!!!!

    Rhonda, I thought he'd get a detox from some of his obsessions, but instead he has found a way to incorporate them at the center. He has taught the other kids the dance moves from HSM, plays Club Penguin at playtime outside (instead of on the computer), etc. They are healthier ways to focus the obsessions, though. 🙂

  5. I opened this post forEVER ago but just got around to reading it, this is great! I hope he was able to repeat this coping skill 🙂

    1. Why would you take something that was SO successful and change it so dramatically, without even asking us? WHERE IS MY YT PAGE? WHERE did it go? Where are Allllllllllllll my videos? Please let me know, asap. Thank you and I don't like this new design, at all. Happy April Fools–I pray this is all this is. ToryMagoo44

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