Sunday, November 21, 2010

Look Into My Eyes

One of the first things we worked on was getting Ryan to make eye contact. I had honestly never noticed that Ryan avoided looking into my eyes. Before it became a goal, Ryan would generally roam around our little apartment and then when he wanted something he would run over to it and point. This was usually followed by some whining. If you could not figure out what he wanted, in about 2 seconds, then the screaming started.

The therapist told me to wait until Ryan would give me eye contact and then give him what he wanted. To not say anything and just look at him until he looked at my face. Once Ryan looked at my face then I was suppose to jump into helpful mode. As a psychology major I quickly recognized the positive reinforcement technique and it was one we would repeat over and over again for several behaviors we were trying to help Ryan with.

So the first time Ryan ran over to the fridge, pointed at the fridge and whined (which was his way of asking for juice), I followed him into the kichen but ignored him. The two seconds went by and Ryan started screaming. Instead of looking at me though, Ryan throw himself on the floor and started banging his head againist our tile. I continued to ignore him (trust me this is very hard to do when your child is hurting himself). Eventually Ryan looked up at me, I think he was wondering why I was not rushing over there like I usually did. The second he looked at me I said, "Oh you want some juice," and I ran over to the fridge and gave it to him.

Luckly for me, Ryan caught on really quick and by the end of the week he was looking at me as he whined and pointed to the fridge. I felt very happy though. It was the first of many hurdles we crossed, and one of the easiest, but I knew we were on our way in the right direction. I felt confident that night that Ryan was going to be all right.


  1. Wow! I never knew everything you went through. I think it is wonderfil that you are doing this for other parents who are just starting down this path. You are an amazing person

  2. Hi Tiffani,
    You are very sweet and a great mother too :) I do enjoy writing this for other mothers out there. It is very therapetic in a way.