Monday, February 17, 2014

And there it is ...

The moment, the exact moment, when it is blindingly obvious that you are not dealing with a neurotypical kid, no matter what people say about blah blah blah ADHD is fake etc. The moment was at the snack table.

Our church has a snack table for post-service munching and chatting. Generally the offerings are cakes and crackers and cheese and fruit. I try to discourage the kids from attacking the snack table, because there isn't a ton of food there, and because generally we go out for lunch afterward anyway, so I can get some sort of protein into them and so I can get the Sunday paper and more or less read it in peace while they split the comics. Such is my strategy.

Kiddo, however, will not be denied the snack table. He'll swoop back onto it again and again, like a carb-craving vulture, even though his RE class just had a separate snack, even though he knows we're about to go out for lunch, even though I have told him not to. I do occasionally worry how this looks to the other folks there, some of whom might not know what he has, and might just think he's a greedy little brat. Invisible disabilities are fun, right?

So I told him flat out: You may take one snack, and then you're done, because we're going to go to the restaurant. He agreed and took one snack. And two minutes later was begging for another one. I said no, and two minutes after that I saw him dart to the other side of the room and I went and dragged his protesting little body away from the snack table. Reminded him again that he was done, and that we would be leaving shortly. He said OK.

Kiddette was finishing up the craft she had made in class, and while we waited for her, I saw him dart across the room again and grab something. Not like he'd forgotten. Not like he was deliberately disobeying (though yeah, he was). Like he wanted the snack so badly it was all he could think about and his entire body vibrated with the need and he had to grab it even though he'd get in trouble because it was not physically possible for him to stop himself. As though he had absolutely no choice in the matter and it just had to be done. Boom.

Classic ADHD moment. Impulse! Action! Consequences? Oh shoot, there are consequences?

The consequence was that we did not go out for lunch after all, but instead went straight home. That's generally the consequence if they act up at church. Unfair to kiddette? Sure. Unfair to me, missing out on my paper? Um, yes. But we can't let him get in the habit of ignoring us. We have to remind him, constantly, of the natural order of things: Action-consequence. Over and over again. We have to be the structure for him, until and unless he's capable of building that structure for himself. He needs to get to the point where he can, maybe, pause and think about an action beforehand, and then, maybe, make a different choice.

It's so unbelievably frustrating sometimes. I hope the work pays off in the end.

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