Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part CIV: Hoping to Make Consequences Stick

Copyright © 2016 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.

Oh actions and consequences. Alice has a number of challenges, not the least is that she has very little executive function and a high amount of perseveration. The result is that she goes through things that she knows are not hers. Our mantra with her has been “not yours, no touch”, but honestly it’s hard to tell if that has made a positive change in her behavior.

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For example, refer to the day recently where she ate her lunch and mine.

Tonight, Alice went into her brother’s room and saw an interesting project that he and I had built from a Tinker Crate project. She couldn’t resist and started messing with it and pretty much ruined it. We found out about when Stuart came down in tears that his space had been violated and his work ruined.

And what are you supposed to do?

The first thing we did was send her to her room to keep the space between them. This isn’t so much consequences for her as it is safety measures to keep them apart.

After things cooled down, I went in and spoke with her.

In questioning her, Alice knew full well what she had done and tried half-heartedly to lie to me. As if. I applied the +3 stern look of bullshit detection over the top of my glasses which made her break eye contact and tell the truth. Nice try, Alice.

I applied an appropriate consequence: two days without any media. But with Alice, this has to be different. We had to go through it 4 times until I was sure that she understood that she was losing her privileges because of her actions. 4 repetitions and she could tell me what was happening and why.

Will she remember it? Likely no, but the first time she goes for media, we’ll repeat it again. And again. And again, because perseveration works in both directions.

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