Friday, August 12, 2011

Strange Behaviors

For a while now, we've been watching a strange behavior come over Rachel. She always seems to get upset when Simon is upset. If he's crying, she feels the need to cry as well. Or, when he's angry, again, she will get upset. She will put up with him doing things to her that no one else could do (including hitting, punching, kicking, pulling hair, etc) and she will only rarely complain about it. But until now, it's only been between the two of them.

Now it's spreading out. Simon gets upset. It could be about anything -- a television program comes on that he doesn't feel like watching......his turn at the computer has come to an end.....or we have put our foot down about some behavior that has been driving us crazy. Like I said, it could be anything. And, as expected, Rachel gets upset about it. But now instead of coming to us crying about it, she seeks out Daniel. Most of the time, Daniel is off in a different part of the room and has nothing to do with what has made Simon cry out. But Rachel doesn't care. She will jump on him. She will start pummeling him with her fists. She will kick him and knee him in the chest. She has become like a child possessed. And she won't stop!!!! We have to get up and intervene on Daniel's behalf (because he won't do anything that could possibly hurt her -- this is Rachel, not Simon, after all).

This behavior started prior to starting the Focalin, so the new medication isn't the cause. I'm sure of this part because I actually brought it up to the doctor before the medication was prescribed. She suggested, instead of the modified time-outs that we were doing, to give her something else to hit that wouldn't cause harm to anyone (or anything), such as a pillow or a stuffed animal. And we have initiated that intervention. Every time we start seeing her running towards Daniel, we remind her to hit the pillow. And we have a pillow almost everywhere we go. But it's definitely not her first choice. She WANTS to attack Daniel.

But, if by chance Daniel is not around, she still won't seek out the pillow to hit. It turns more inward. She will start hurting herself. Her preferred means is to bang her head into the floor, the wall, the table, etc. If she's sitting strapped in her booster seat, she will knock the chair to the floor and then start banging her head on the hardwood floor. And the behavior is getting worse.

So, I'm watching this very VERY closely. I am still giving her the Focalin because, as I said, I really don't think that is the cause since the behavior started before the introduction of the medication. But I am holding the dose at it's current level for a while, even though our goals have not yet been met. I just want to see if the medicine is making this worse and contributing in that way. Even if I don't see anything to support that theory, I am definitely bringing this up with the doctor when we talk later this month.

But there are days......

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