We've been dealing with some "behaviors" of late. (That's polite autism-speak for "my kid has been an uncooperative asshole.") I told the school that I wanted a behavior plan. I was told that he didn't need one, presumably because he hadn't started any fires. The behaviorist was happy with the compliance trials. The behaviorist didn't have to live or work with my son on a daily basis.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, a compliance trial rewards tokens to kids for doing what they're told. When they get enough tokens, they get a special reward. The idea is to get them back on track, but my boy works around it. It goes like this:
Boy: I want a cookie!
Aide: You need to finish writing your letters first.
(Boy throws himself on floor in boneless, jellyfish fashion and refuses to do anything.)
Aide: Touch your nose! (Boy touches his nose.) Good touching your nose! (Puts token on board.) Touch your mouth! (Boy touches his mouth.) Good touching your mouth! (Puts another token on board.) Okay, sit up and you can have your cookie.
Boy: Thank you. (Eats cookie, then throws himself on floor in boneless, jellyfish fashion all over again.)
When I brought this up at the IEP meeting, that he's figured out how to manipulate the trials, the behaviorist said, "Well, I don't know if intellectually he understands what he is doing."
If I had been drinking my water, I would've done a spit-take right across the table.
My boy knows exactly what he's doing. He is a military genius. He is a criminal mastermind. He is an effin' Sith Lord.
When there is something he wants that is closely guarded--cookies, for instance--he creates a diversion. I'll be in the kitchen working on dinner, and he'll ask for a snack. I'll say, "No, it's almost dinner time." Then he will rage. Or he won't. It's when he doesn't rage that I should get my guard up, because he's about to eff with me big time. He quietly backs out of the kitchen, and I, relieved that there was no hysterical scene, foolishly go back to food preparation.
That's when I hear the shower.
He's turned it on full blast and aimed it out of the tub, onto the bathroom floor. I go running in.
"What are you doing?! STOP IT! YOU'LL FLOOD THE HOUSE!" And then, while I'm mopping and cursing, he slips into the kitchen and takes whatever he wants.
He's a master tactician. Some of his plans I haven't even figured out yet.
"How did you do that? How did you DO that?!" Then I just step back and take a deep breath and whistle through my teeth. You've got to admit, he's got a mind for strategy.
In the middle of the night, he's pretended to fall back to sleep so I would get back in bed and not thwart his plans to paint the kitchen floor with dish soap. Or he'll say, "Go to sleep, please, Mommy," and I'll know he's up to something, but I don't know what.
And now he's learned to pick locks.
I'm not even kidding. We hid the keys to the kitchen locks, so he used my car keys to open them. He helped himself to a huge serving of chocolate ice cream on the couch. So my husband locked ALL the keys in the closet and then hung the closet key around his neck.
So the boy punched out the accordion sides of the air conditioner, and while we were fussing with duct tape to fix it, he picked the freezer lock with a pair of scissors and helped himself to more ice cream.
"How did you DO that?!" Then I tried to unlock the freezer with a pair of scissors, but I couldn't figure it out.
He's doing all of this without any help. Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Stonewall Jackson all commanded huge armies. They had underlings. My kid is pulling this off all by himself. I thank God I didn't have twins.
So, Behaviorist Lady. Never underestimate my kid. He's not one of Skinner's rats pushing on a lever to get a pellet. He goes for the full-on mind-fuck, and he's going to tear your little plan apart.
If I didn't need it to work so badly, I'd almost find it entertaining.