Rule # 5: Life has order.
Most people plan ahead. They have a general picture in their mind about how their day is going to go and the things that they need to get done. At three years old, Crash has already figured this out. Unfortunately, for the rest of the family, Crash's "order" is THE only order. Or at least that is what Crash would like us to believe.
You see, Crash is a creature of habit. If Crash does something a couple times, it becomes ingrained in his mind that this is the ONLY way he is going to do it. These "habits" are very easy to establish and very difficult to change.
The worst part for Crash is when unexpected changes happen without any type of warning. for example, we were at church the other day and I left him and The Police Officer with some parents to go check on something. While I was gone, someone came to get all the kids for an activity in another room. Crash was operating under the rule that mom would be right back and he would wait with his brother until then. This unexpected change threw him into a state of chaos that he was unable to deal with. He ended up kicking, crying, and screaming on the floor completely throwing everyone in the room for a loop. No one could comfort him or calm him down. He was hysterical. Lucky for Crash his External Regular was quick to arrive and help him make sense of the world. He is very rigid in his thinking and finds it very difficult to adjust quickly to change.
So what are some rules has Crash created to maintain order in his life:
1. Breakfast must be eaten as soon as you wake up.
2. Baths only occur at night.
3. You must sing the good night song from the doorway.
4. Do not turn off the bedroom light until all covers are on.
5. The Police Officer MUST be tucked in first.
6. Crash's seat is on the right hand side of the table.
7. Crash's car seat MUST be behind the passenger side.
8. Milk must be served in a blue cup.
9. You eat yogurt with a serving spoon.
10. When driving home, you can not go down the hill.
11. You must get a movie first before finding books at the library.
12. You take the elevator up and the stairs down at the Y.
What's going on:
Crash needs predictability in his life. It helps him to organize and make sense of the world. When he feels organized he is better able to function. Because ordinary sensations to most individuals can be very unpleasant and disorganizing for Crash, he seeks out "rules" to help him cope. He uses these "rules" as his safety net to get through the day. Challenges with sensory processing are very difficult, because sensations do not always remain consistent. Sometimes a particular sensation may be acceptable and other times it may be over stimulating. Not only is Crash trying to make sense of this, but he also lacks the refined thinking skills to understand that just because dinner was a pleasant experience sitting in a particular chair or using a particular utensil doesn't mean that is the ONLY way it will be pleasant. He really is trying very hard to establish some sort of order to life, and although I do not always agree with it, or abide by it, I do acknowledge and respect it.