In the comments of the last post, Miz Kizzle asked "Is it difficult keeping Dustin away from your other kids? How does he react to being separated from them? Do the other kids mind or do they prefer not to be around him? I'm curious because it's hard for me to imagine keeping my three apart from each other and we live in a pretty large house"
I love Miz Kizzle because she always asks questions when she is trying to envision something and can always make me think!
Dustin is not only on in-line supervision, but he is on a 3 foot "leash". Put down your phones! Do not call CPS! He is not actually on a leash! He is only allowed near an adult and cannot be more than 3 feet from us at any time.
Why? Dustin is a danger to himself, our possessions and others. His lack of any impulse control is difficult to manage. He is in need of an external brain to control his impulses because he is totally unable to do so on his own. That is the reason he has a 1:1 paraprofessional at school. He also struggles with very poor cause and effect correlation. He cannot fathom that his actions can cause negative consequences and is unable to predict what will happen. Because he struggles with object permanence, he is also very likely to "steal" food and gorge himself, and because he has lessened pain receptors, he has no concept of feeling full. Ever. He also tends to pick at the plaster walls and make HUGE holes (like ones I can drive a truck through) and pull carpet strings that end up unraveling whole sections of carpet. The last reason is that due to his schizophrenia, he tends to do better if he is constantly around people so that his "friends" (his hallucinations) aren't needed to keep him company. He is simply not safe unsupervised.
Our home is a 100+ years old. The downstairs is three rooms separated by large arches so they are pretty open and then a regular doorway leading into the kitchen. The first room is the living room which includes "my chair" and my laptop. The second is what we call "the kid area" that has a couch, a loveseat, a tv, and the game system. It is where the littles spend most of their time. The third is the dining room which also has Robert's computer and music equipment. Dustin is either in a chair next to mine or at the dining room table next to Robert. At my chair, he can either watch TV with me, or can see the kid's tv. When he is with Robert he can play his DS game, color, draw etc. If I am in the kitchen he is always with me. He is very helpful in the kitchen and we also have a tv in there. (We are a tv family, don't judge!)
The other kids are getting more used to playing upstairs in their own rooms. This is a new occurrence. Since we have needed to be able to see the kids at all times, they really didn't play alone in their rooms much. Because of this, they actually had a pretty healthy fear of being alone and of the upstairs of the house. This was totally our fault for trying to keep constant tabs on them. I have worked hard to improve their playing habits. This has really improved over the last few months and I am loving the distance between them and Dustin as they can play happily in each other's rooms and even alone in their own! When they are upstairs I have ventured out to letting Dustin watch tv on the "kid couch" about 25 feet from me. Progress!
The other things I have ventured to doing is sending him on "errands". He can take the laundry to the laundry room, take clean laundry upstairs, or take the trash out . . . alone. I know this sounds crazy! My life is not normal!! He is only able to do this when the littles are NOT in the path of the errand. If they are it inevitably ends up in screaming, tattling, hitting and/or tears. (sometimes mine) I am SO not joking! Life is never boring around here.
This is so much a part of our normal routine that I am not even sure what real normal looks like anymore. We make it work for us.
4 hours ago