Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Impulses

I have been dealing with impulsive behaviors lately. An impulse is like having an itch you have to scratch. It only gets relieved by giving into it. People think we can just stop but it is almost impossible when the impulse comes.

I have been having impulses to throw things, flip light switches, spit, or request tickles. It is awful. I know it is rude and inappropriate and yet I cannot stop myself. I feel horrible when I cause trouble for others and myself. I feel anxious when I am having impulsive feelings. I feel I might cause a scene. Sometimes I do. One time I flipped a switch many times causing my classroom to have a strobe light ambience. Another time I threw my socks and shoes in class and had to leave the class.

I know I am hindering my chances to be more included when I act like this. Part of getting out of an impulsive loop is reminding myself what the consequences are to my actions. I also should take responsibility for my actions. I should pick up the things I throw. I should apologize for spitting and disruptive behavior. I should take some time to think about how my actions affect others.


Peace comes when I don’t give into an impulse. Like scratching an itch, giving into impulses always makes things worse. Learning to quiet impulses by purposeful alternative actions is my goal. I have given myself a motor plan of rubbing my hands together when impulsive thoughts start. I have been practicing at school. I am doing a lot better since I  started this. I hope my learning to control impulses can help others like me.

Relaxing in my "Space Explorer"

Copyright 2016 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Advice for Teachers

A writes:

Hello Phillip and mom. It’s me the OT again in need of some advice. Hoping you all are doing well. So I am still working with my friend, who is non-verbal, but very much aware of EVERYTHING. He is almost 5 years old and is really starting to buck the system. I have taken your advice very seriously and have been working with him on purposeful motor activities, which he usually gets mad at me for, pinching me and pushing his head into my face. I always tell him that I understand that this is hard, but I know he can do it. Please advise....what is the most encouraging way that you have had someone working with you be?  I don't want him to not want to come to therapy, but I also don't want to be a disservice and not help him to be more than he knows he can be... Understand that most of our session is way fun...it's just those moments...

I would like to tell you about people who make good teachers. People who are nice, patient, and understanding make the best teachers. I mean to help the caring teachers be more effective at helping us. I owe a debt of gratitude to all my teachers. I love learning. I try to learn from everyone.  My teachers make my learning interesting by acting interested in what they teach.

I hope you are becoming more aware of the reasons behind your students’ behaviors. When I get overwhelmed with stress I am more likely to act impulsively. I stress when I am in new situations. I stress when I feel I am not in control of my body. The fear of acting badly is often a source of anxiety too. My body acts with a mind of its own. I never mean to hurt or annoy people. I should learn to better meet stressful situations. I can take deep breaths. I can pray.

I need patient and kind teachers who know I am not trying to be bad. The people who can wait for me to do things on my own time are the best. This does not mean I should not be pushed. I need to be pushed or else I could not progress. What I need is someone who can help me be successful at being my best at that time. Teachers cannot get me to do what I am incapable to do yet. But they should be patient to let me keep trying because some day I might get it. Please try not to get frustrated with me. I know I can be hard to understand.

I think the best way to deal with behaviors is not letting them make you hardened toward me. I do these things because I get anxious, scared, or feel out of control or overwhelmed. Try to understand. Try not to get mad at me. Try to keep me calm by being a calming person. Be encouraging and persistent. Learn from me too. Push me more but not in a mean way. Mean manners make me more upset. Be a good person to me and you will so win my trust and hard work, but know I still have my limits. I badly want to learn and progress. Meaningful relationships with my teachers are ones in which my teachers know I am smart and push me to do more in a gentle and understanding manner. I love when I learn something new. I need teachers.


Philip




Copyright 2016 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Meltdowns and Shutdowns at School

(Lisa's note:  Philip has come a looonng way since starting at public school 2 and half years ago.  At his school's open house, all his teachers had great things to say about how he is doing.  Philip's home base is the autism classroom.  The teacher is trying to help all his students come up with a calming ritual for when they do have trouble keeping it together in school.  He asked Philip if he had any insights into this matter.)

I would like to explain meltdowns in the classroom. Meltdowns can happen for various reasons. Peace to me feels like being able to control my body the way I want to. I have a hard time controlling my body. It does not obey my mind. It acts like it has a mind of its own. A lot of times it either won’t move when I want it to or it won’t stop doing what I don’t want it to do. Faring well at school requires me to keep my body in control for long periods of time.

I am addressing my senses all the time. Loud, echoing sounds and high-pitched cries particularly cause me distress. I mean to turn off the stimuli and focus on what I should. But it is hard. I want to not disturb people so much with my autistic actions. I am powerless to stop my various noises. I am geared to move all the time. I know I can be annoying.

Making myself quiet and still takes all the energy I have.  When I no longer can take trying to control myself, I crash. I have to shut down or melt down. A shutdown is when I cannot function. I mean to participate but I cannot get myself to do it. A meltdown is when my body discharges all its negative energy in the worst ways. My worst fear is having a meltdown and doing something embarrassing. Sometimes I cry and make a scene. Other times I get aggressive. I hate when I hurt or scare people in a meltdown. I want to be able to cope better so I can avoid shutdowns and meltdowns.

My teacher at school is helping me find a coping routine. I work hard and very long at school. I love it there. I learn meaningful things. I make friends. I can try to give thanks. I can pray. Learning to cope better will help me a lot in life. Do you have a coping routine that works for you?


Peace,
Philip

Copyright 2016 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Biking For Life


I love to ride my bike. Learning to ride a bike is one of the best things I ever did. I learned last summer at iCan Shine bike camp (click here to read more about it). I went for one week. I did my best. I learned to ride without training wheels. It was exhilarating. When camp was done, mom bought a bike for me. I loved my blue bike. I practiced everyday. I made good progress. I meaningfully tried to make biking my hobby. I wanted to make my body perform a useful skill. I found that practice riding helped me gear my body for other motor skills. Naturally I don’t feel my body well. I dearly need sensory input to feel my body’s weight. Bike riding provides lots of muscle stimulation and practicing good body awareness. Since I learned to bike, I have been able to control my body better and do things more independently. I can now pour my own milk, dress myself, keep myself from running into the street, and help out more around the house. I feel more practical now. I like that I have intelligent thoughts and now my body is starting to catch up with my mind. I mostly love bike riding because it is fun. Making bike riding a part of my life has been so wonderful.