Thank you for sending this great post with such great detail. I am so excited that you are experiencing your sweet boy in his playroom and that you have volunteers who are on this amazing journey with you.
How we set up the environment is such a key factor in allowing our playroom to be more of a yes room
vs. OH NO! Don’t do that room
. So you want to consider what you can do to set up the environment so that it is the most successful for David. For example, with the thermostat in our playroom here at the Son Rise Program Intensive we have placed covers over them. They are just too tempting for kids to resist. They have buttons and dials and not only that when you mess with them air comes out of vents. Wow! My first suggestion is to get a cover for the thermostat. The other thing is that you can set boundaries in the playroom. We consider our thermostat to be property and it is not meant to be played with. We do set boundaries in the playroom when a child’s safety and well being is in question and when they are attempting to destroy property, or property is at risk of breaking. I would encourage that you review with your team how to set boundaries in a clear and loving way. I have mentioned some tips below.
I love your idea about getting a piece of rubber to absorb the sound when the radiator is flipped up and down. I was thinking duck tap around the edge as a temporary solution. My thought is that if there is any possibility of the radiator being too hot or breaking from David flipping the top then I would set a boundary on it. If not then feel free to let him ism on it.
Since you have the sensitivity to sound then do your best to be comfortable when it happens. If David senses a discomfort or a reaction in a flinch or pull back, he may then do it with you to seek out a reaction. So do your best to not react internally and externally. If you are joining him and really in the rhythm of it try to cover your ears before it hits the metal. Have fun with joining it just modify this one aspect. Only cover your ears for when it hits and open them up again so you can hear David’s sounds and words.
Overall , it sounds like your team gets an opportunity to set a boundary in a loving and clear way. Assure your team that it is okay to lose the connection after setting a boundary. This is a way David gets to learn that he can not always get what he wants and that is something he can handle in a calm way. Here are some things to consider when setting boundaries with David;
Be calm (ATTITUDE IS KEY) to the best of you ability
Once you set the boundary follow through with it.
Clearly explain what boundary you are setting and why you are setting it. This is such a wonderful gift to give your child. For example, you can say “This thermostat is actually not toy. It keeps our room a comfortable temperature so we can play in here. I am not going to let you play with it because I don’t want it to break.”
Offer an alternative. You can draw a thermostat; you can make one with toys off the shelf, etc.
Remember to celebrate David when he easily responds to a boundary you have set.
Thank you for posting your questions and let us know how it goes.