Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Pushing Buttons: Dealing with Compulsion

This weekend we saw a resurgence in an old nemesis: button pushing.  Not in a being specifically irritating kind of way but in a literally pushing actual buttons kind of way.  Alex would run from the other room to push the buttons on the microwave, tried to push buttons on the cash register when we were out and tried to jump into a random car in the parking lot to push the hazards.

When this was an issue before, we used a two-pronged approach.  Certain buttons (cars, cash registers, fire alarms) were declared off-limits.  Others (microwave, elevators, etc) could be pushed but only after asking permission.  That let us be the guardians of "is this socially appropriate" and stopped the frenetic dashing to be the first to push.

If Alex failed to ask and pushed anyway, then he failed to earn a privilege such as going outside or getting a treat or having screentime.

It took about six months to extinguish the behaviour and we hadn't seen it for a couple of years.  We're going to try the same approach this time and hopefully it won't take as long.

I'm hoping this is a sort of behavioural aftershock from all the difficulties we've had this fall and not the start of a puberty-driven behavioural collapse. 

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