My friend is a nanny and in all her 15 years of nannying, she has experienced all kinds of behaviour. However she has never experieneced a child with aspergers, until recently. A little girl no more than 3 presents the biggest challenge yet for my friend. She just doesn’t know how to reason with her.
The poor mother relies on my friend to give her one day a week respite and one Saturday a month. Grandmother pays for my friend to look after the little girl and her younger brother who does not have aspergers. The biggest challenge with this little girl is that she goes up to other children and hurts them in some way either pushing them, hitting them, tweaking their nose etc. My friend tries to explain to the girl why it is wrong to do that to other children but she doesn’t listen. I have watched her do it and she actually finds it funny as she knows she will get a reaction from my friend. My friend’s best option now is to punish her through exclusion – deliberately removing her from the situation and isolating her somwhere (ie a buggy) but the girl just screams to be released and then promptly goes to the nearest child to hurt them.
My poor friend is at her wits end and feels like the girl needs a flashing sign above her head to say ‘sorry I have aspergers’ but to what extent can you blame aspergers and to what extent is it just bad behaviour? I am currently reading the curious incident of the dog in the night-time and it gives an insight into aspergers and how people with aspergers approach daily life. In the book, the boy resorts to physical attacks when he feels trapped, threatened or confused – but I don’t think the little girl is feeling any of these emotions when she decides to hit another child.
I am fascinated by children’s behaviour and I am discovering that aspergers requires a whole different approach to parenting and caring – this little girl does have a lovely character – its just finding the key to unlock it.
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Thanks for reading.