When I say obsessive compulsive behaviours, I don’t mean OCD. There is definitely none of that in this house, I’m talking about the compulsive behaviours Hayden has. Behaviours that he does again and again and again no matter how much hair I’ve pulled out or whether the people living three streets down can hear me shouting the same thing once again.
No! Get Down! Stop! Hayden! No! Get Down! Stop! Hayden!
I said no!
Just a few of the phrases that leave my lips every ten seconds from the moment we get up, to the moment he eventually drops off to sleep at night.
I spoke about Hayden’s eating obsession a couple of weeks ago, and that still doesn’t seem to be disappearing. But there are also other things that drive me absolutely crazy on a daily basis. I try not to get angry as they seem more like compulsions than him acting out or being a little monkey on purpose. When Ellis is doing something he knows he shouldn’t be. It is generally because he is being a very typical child, pushing boundaries, after attention or simply being inquisitive. With Hayden it is different. More like he just cannot help but do these things. No matter how many times you tell him to stop. Autism is a funny thing.
Obsessive Compulsive Behaviours
Hayden goes through stages of what he is compelled to do, but they do come back around at some point. For example he used to line up his toys all the time, they needed to be perfectly straight, and in the specific order he has created. You couldn’t get involved in his line making as it would just distress him. Then he stopped and something new took his interest. After a few months of no lined up toys, they returned and that was our life for a few weeks until some new ‘game’ was his favourite.
The lines were never really an issue. The only problem we had was Ellis trying to get involved, which in turn would lead to Hayden lashing out.
Some of his other ‘games’ or ‘behaviours’ however are a lot more frustrating, and can leave me mentally exhausted within an hour of him being home from school.
We have a barked area at the back of our garden which is home to a water table, a trampoline, some ride on toys and other outdoor items. Hayden is currently compelled to throw the bark in the air and watch it fall. Sometimes it goes flying on the grass, sometimes behind the fence, sometimes into the next door neighbours garden. He loves it. It drives us mad!
Picking flowers, leaves & grass
Just like the bark Hayden loves to throw grass, leaves, and flowers around the garden, this now and again includes pebbles. We are unable to have any flowers in the garden, and even the herbs we planted instead have seen better days. If it can be picked and thrown, it will be.
Playing with the washing up bowl
If there is even a trace of bubbles left after I have done the washing up, Hayden will hunt it out. Which will lead to their being bubbles all over the kitchen.
Throwing his cars around his room
I have mentioned before Hayden has 60+ die cast cars from the film Cars & Cars 2. Flinging them around his room is a favourite past time. Whether it is the sound they make or the feeling of flinging them around. He can spend hours ‘playing’ this way.
Climbing on his keyboard
He has a little toy keyboard in his bedroom which he has now started to put in the hallway and climb onto it to look closely at our wedding pictures which are on the wall. I have no idea how long he has been doing this for but I only realised after I found the pictures had moved in the gallery type frame they are in. Then finding the keyboard in that exact spot the next day confirmed it was him that had been messing with the frame.
Playing with the toilet
This one has to be one of the most frustrating of his current behaviours. He is obsessed with shutting himself away in the toilet, ripping toilet roll, wetting it in the toilet and then throwing it around the toilet. I have found him recently with toilet roll stuck to the toilet, the walls, even the ceiling. He now takes himself independently to the toilet, so it is a case of knowing when he is genuinely going and when he is just going in to play.
Climbing to bang his cars against the TV
This is a new one. We have a plastic box of teddies in the playroom, that Hayden has started putting it on its side to climb up to hit his cars against the TV which is on the wall. We moved the box yesterday to try and deter him, but he soon found another toy he could climb on instead.
Saving our sanity
Many of these things lead to sensory needs I know, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating to deal with. I was going crazy by 4pm the other day as Hayden was literally flitting between every single one of the behaviours from the moment he got home. I pulled one of the water tables off the bark and filled it with soapy water. Hoping he would focus on that for a while, whilst I got dinner ready. It was a success but did lead to a huge water fight between Ellis and next doors grandkids.
I’m going to be writing about Hayden’s compulsive behaviours tonight, but in the hope of saving my sanity for a bit I’ve gone with water table filled with soapy water! All three monkeys are soaked but I haven’t mentioned bark, stones or the word no for ten minutes. That’s got to be success. My other sanity saviour is cold, in a glass and rhymes with mine! 😜 #autism #asd #sensoryplay #sensory #autismmom #savemysanity #bubbles #wine #wineoclock #sauvignonblanc
Finding more sensory toys for Hayden is a priority for us at the moment. We want his sensory needs fulfilled but without it leading to stress and shouting. That is no good for any of us. Hayden doesn’t like being shouted at, and I certainly don’t like shouting. Hayden has recently been observed by a specialist teacher, who has suggested we get referred to an OT to look more into satisfying Hayden’s sensory needs. Something we knew was an option but never really considered just how much he seeks sensory items.
If anyone has any suggestions on great sensory toys that don’t end up creating a huge mess, I’d be very grateful.