Mr. G, no peeling! Mr. G is one of our little autistic fellas that likes to peel anything and everything from labels, name tags, tape, if it has a sticky back to it, Mr. G will find it and peel away. This behavior of his is was really an obsession for him when he first entered our classroom last year. He could find even the smallest of labels on things the rest of us would never even notice. Like a heat seeking missile homing in on the target, Mr. G would head directly to a sticky back label, scrape his fingers under the tape and start peeling. Nothing else would matter to him, trying to engage him in an activity would last but a minute and off he goes searching for something to peel. It took us about a half of a year to stop the behavior and for him to be able to focus on something other than sticky labels. Great progress! He has since moved up to the older preschool class that meets on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, but to give him more days, we have him with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He really has made tremendous progress and is starting to say a few words as well as use the P.E.C. system to communicate. But like any addict, it's hard to completely give up what you love the most, in Mr. G's case, it's peeling.
Let me give you an example of what I'm trying to explain here. Today we took the preschoolers outside to ride bikes and run around. We keep the bikes in a shed by the basketball court, where they ride. While all the children were playing, riding and running around, the little missile tuned in his homing devise, went inside the shed found the hand sanitiser bottle and proceeded to peel the label. I caught a glimpse of him from the corner of my eye and called his name. He actually looked in my direction, then I asked him to "Come here" which he amazingly did, but not without the sticky label in his hot little hand. I took the label from him and threw it in the trash can, and that little stinker saw where I threw it and looked in the the garbage. I said, "No Mr. G, that's icky." He looked at me with his sparkling eyes and smiled, let go of the trash can and skipped off. A year ago, he would have pitched a fit, cried and lashed out at us, but this time, he knew, he knew he was being sneaky and gave me that little smile as if to say, "I was this close!"