Through the years, a lot of the posts I have done in regards to behavior have been mostly about Colin because his behaviors had more of an impact outside of our home. I talked a lot about it last year because they were the "elephant in the room" so to speak when it came to school. I think that something we are always going to talk about with Colin will be behavior because for him, they are always a sign of communication and it's often a result of some of his "life challenges" (for example - transitions) or difficulties with certain aspects of life. However, Chris and I are facing some challenges in general with all 3 of the kids in terms of their behavior.
During late fall this year, Colin was observed by a BCBA certified behaviorist in school several times. During this time, she collected data on behaviors he was most commonly exhibiting as well as data that would help her to determine the functions of the behaviors. From these observations, she determined that a BIP (behavior intervention plan) was warranted so she developed one specific to him and his behaviors and trained the staff on a system that was to be utilized in school. In addition, the staff is collecting daily data which is being reviewed by the behaviorist regularly. The system they are using is a positive reward system where he earns tokens for good behavior towards a reward of his choosing. What is motivating to Colin often changes, so we are all working to find ideas that will formulate a good choice board for him.
The majority of the behaviors that are seen at school are task avoidance behaviors but as mentioned, there are now strategies in place to tackle these behaviors. At home, the behaviors we see more often are noncompliance over anything else. However, we also use different strategies that make this better like racing to the bathroom for baths, bedtime, etc., giving him a warning about what's coming next, talking out our schedules, and various other "games" to get him to comply to different things. For the most part, we've got things in a pretty good routine, but that's not to say that it's not frustrating at different times (like the morning) when he's slow to comply or doesn't want to at all. This year, we've got a really good routine with homework and he's always compliant to get it done.
I feel that at this point, I can anticipate a lot of Colin's next moves and know what we need to do to keep things flowing at home. It is essential that our routines and schedules are consistent and for the most part, Colin knows what to expect. Our other difficulty is the bickering among siblings, but that's equal among ALL of them.
Our challenges with Kailey feel like we shouldn't be dealing with them for another 8 years or so because they mostly have to do with her attitude and compliance. At school, this is not something they deal with at all but at home, there is a lot of whining, complaining, and "whimpering" (this drives me the craziest).
I find that my patience level for Kailey and her behaviors is a lot less than it is for Colin. I think this is because in some ways, hers are actually more challenging because there is so much more verbal behaviors involved. She has also started ignoring us in ways that's more like selective hearing. We have to repeat ourselves many times just to get her to complete a task.
I also think that some of her behaviors at the end of the day are because she's tired and her whininess is how she communicates this tiredness. With her, there's a lot of stomping and arms crossed when she's unhappy and at her extremes, there's a lot of crying.
However, we do depend on her a lot because she is so extremely helpful, especially with Cody, and I think sometimes we forget that she IS only 4 years old.
Finally, with Cody, our biggest difficulties lie in the fact that he is 16 months old and desperately wants to be as independent as Colin and Kailey and wants to be doing exactly what they are doing. He is our most advanced child at this age simply because he is always trying to copy Colin and Kailey and what they are doing. This can be very challenging for us because he CAN'T always be as independent as he THINKS he is.
This most challenging behavior we deal with is the crying because we aren't letting him do something he wants to do or thinks he can do. He's the child of ours that makes the dramatic scenes of crying or throwing himself down on the floor (gently) when something doesn't go his way. He insists on carrying his own lunch box and backpack (just like the other 2) at daycare even when it's too heavy for him.
He also doesn't like to be carried anywhere because he wants to walk by himself even when it's not safe for him to do so. He wants to feed himself and if you try to help him? Oh no, the world is ending.
I think they all have their challenges, but right now, Cody is the variable that makes things the most difficult. He's just at a point where he wants to be like Colin and Kailey, but can't be, and then that frustrates him immensely.
Even with all of their challenges, there are also the things we love about each of them the most...the things we try to remember when they are making things so difficult!