Sunday, August 05, 2007

Possible Insight

The other day, Coram was being particularly nasty to me about my voice. He was playing his gameboy, and every time I spoke, he would shout at me to shut up. He said I was making him lose. No matter how quiet I was, even a whisper, he would shout.

The odd thing was, Steve's voice did not cause the same reaction. For some reason, Steve could talk without distracting Coram.

I began to think about why Steve's voice and my voice would cause such a different reaction from Coram. I decided it was not likely anything to do with the actual tone of my voice, but something else. Something cause Coram to be distracted when I spoke. Something made him need to attend to me when I spoke, but not Steve.

I decided to try an experiment. I thought maybe Coram was compelled to attend to my voice because of some need for me. That maybe, even though he was playing gameboy and effectively ignoring me, he actually really needed to connect with me on some deep level, which is why he was driven to attend my voice even if he really didn't want to.

I went to him, took his game from him, and hugged him. At first he screamed at me. He said he hated me, and wanted his game back. I just held him. He kept repeating that he hated me, again and again. I kept holding on. Eventually, he relaxed into the hug. He started playing with my hair, and stopped screaming. We sat like that for a while, quietly, him melted into my hug. Then, he looked at me and calmly asked if he could play gameboy again.

I didn't get shouted at again for my voice all night.

Yesterday I read some more of Nobody Nowhere, which is a truly amazing book of discovery written by a woman who is, herself, Autistic. She speaks a lot about her terror of being close to people, of needing people. She would behave in all sorts of bizarre ways when faced with her need of others.

It made me think that maybe the other day I was on the right track. Coram needs me, desperately, and is hates how much he needs me. Thus, the sound of my voice can send him into a range.

This is all conjecture, of course. But I know now that next time he is screaming that he hates me and needs me to shut up, I'll go and give him a hug.


BB Supp said...

That's interesting, I'm not sure I would have ever thought of just giving the kid a hug like that. But yes, it does seem obvious that he needs you, but may be getting to the age where he also wants his independence which is creating a conflict for him and unfortunately you are bearing the brunt of it. I'm sure that in a short while he will get through the phase and all will be well again.

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